Recognizing Telephone Numbers


MLC trainers have written a number of CASAS-style lesson plans for use by tutors and teachers. We encourage you to check out the others.

The lessons are based on Reading for Life, a two-volume collection of worksheets and activities published by the Minnesota Department of Education and designed to enhance the teaching of life and work skills to adult ESL and ABE learners. Both volumes can be accessed from the link above.

Our intention is to help teachers and tutors by building lessons around specific competencies addressed in Reading for Life by Linda Strand. Each lesson plan outlines three stages of addressing a competency:

  1. a real-life application
  2. a list and links to applicable worksheets in Reading for Life
  3. links to multiple-choice worksheets and answer sheets

Each lesson plan includes links to specific worksheets from the two volumes.

Recognizing Telephone Numbers

Purpose: Learners will be able to recognize phone numbers and distinguish their format from that of other personal information

Key Vocabulary: telephone/phone number, area code

Topics to Review: writing and saying numbers 1-10

Materials: phone book


Real-life application/creating context:

1) T shows the phone book. T asks “What information can we find in the phone book?” Use student responses to assess knowledge.

2) T writes his/her phone number with 1+ area code on the board.

T asks “What’s your phone number?” Students repeat the question.

T gives response, using own phone number. Students repeat the question until confident.

3) T asks: “What does the 1 mean? When do I need to dial 1? What are the next three numbers? What does area code mean? What is the area code where we live?”

4) Students practice asking for and writing down each others’ phone numbers.

5) Write different numbers on the board: phone numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Have students identify which numbers are phone numbers.

Progress to Reading for Life, v.1 competency worksheets:

Applicable worksheets: RFL v.1 page 59. Additional worksheets: Phone # Info Gap and Circle the Phone #.

Choose from worksheets listed according to your learners’ needs. Please see your copy of Reading for Life for additional worksheets and units.

Progress to multiple-choice format activities:

A stand alone multiple-choice worksheet to complement Reading for Life v.1 unit 4 is attached as well as a bubble answer sheet.


  • See Daily Living Activities on page 57-58 of Reading for Life v. 1 as well as additional activities on pages 64-67 related to alphabetizing and using a phone book.
  • Reading phone numbers can be an excellent pronunciation activity.  Model the intonation used when giving a phone number, then provide students with a list of numbers to read to each other as a dictation.  Or, give each person a different phone number and ask them to read it while everyone else writes it down.
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