Beginning literacy

ESL teacher watching adult learner review vocabulary

Encouraging very beginning level learners to speak English and participate in classes can be a challenge, but setting speaking routines and planning activities that allow for lots of interaction can give even the lowest level learners opportunities to build their speaking skills. The new video Adult ESL Literacy Level Instruction: Building Speaking Skills features a pre-beginning level adult ESL class moving through a high-energy level speaking lesson.

hand holding a marker up to a whiteboard

Purpose:  A structured and supported way for beginning writers to develop their spelling skills while practicing vocabulary and writing full sentences.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  handouts with a photo printed on the top part of the paper and lines for writing on the bottom half (see attached example below)

Procedure:

finger tracing the capital letter A

Wondering how to get started with phonics instruction? The Orton-Gillingham Approach to phonics instruction is a multisensory method that incorporates listening, speaking, images, writing and movement into basic phonics instruction. This approach was originally developed to support dyslexic students improve their reading ability, but it has also proved to be successful with adult ESL learners who are learning to read and write for the first time as adults.

woman's hand with henna typing on a laptop

The College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) were created by the U.S. Department of Education to align adult basic education and ESL instruction across the states. They also provide learners attending ABE and ESL classes with the academic and critical thinking skills to be able to be successful in careers or higher education once they leave those programs.

New resource for teachers and tutors! Now you can watch a video of this activity and print a PDF of the instructions at http://mnliteracy.org/classroomvideos

Purpose: To review and reinforce new vocabulary

Preparation Time:  5-10 minutes

Materials:  index cards, 8 for each pair of students in class

Hands holding up letters to spell the word tips in capital letters

Purpose:  To help beginning level learners develop phonemic awareness and increase spelling skills with a fun and interactive activity designed to get them out of their seats!

Preparation Time:  10 minutes to create a word list and letter cards

Materials Needed:  A word list with 6-10 words and letter cards (each card will have one of each letters from the word list).

Procedure:

four multi-colored stick figures with arms upraised

Purpose: Many students with limited literacy skills or learning challenges benefit from kinesthetic activities. Hands-on activities are minds-on activities.

Ideas:

lower case letter b followed by a yellow sticky note

Thanks to Patricia Cunningham’s book Month-By-Month Phonics, for supplying this great activity!

Purpose:  To help students use the word decoding strategies of initial consonants, word length, and context clues when they encounter new words while reading.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

calendar pages

Activity Name:  Categorizing Months, Days and Years

Purpose:  to practice vocabulary for months, days and years, while using critical thinking skills

Preparation time:  enough time to cut up attached word cards (1 set per pair of students) and place them in envelopes, 20 minutes

vegetable vocabulary cards

Picture cards are a valuable, fun and flexible teaching tool. The tutor tip a couple weeks ago explained how to make them. This week we’ll look at ideas for using them.  Many of the suggestions work with words cards as well as picture cards. Here are twenty ideas to get you started:

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