Reading Pay Stubs

In progress

Reading for Life Lessons
Minnesota ABE Supplemental Services, Linda Strand, 2004-2005
And the Minnesota Literacy Council



Reading Pay Stubs (Reading for Life, volume 1, unit 6: Jobs)


Learners will be able to read a pay stub to find gross and net pay and identify amounts and reasons for deductions

Key Vocabulary:

pay stub, gross pay, net pay, Social Security, federal income tax, state income tax, overtime, deductions, rate, pay period, FICA, earnings, year-to-date

Procedure - Real-life application:

Make an overhead transparency or photocopies of pay stub. Page 125 in Real Life English has a good example. T asks students: “What does this show? What is the name for the paper that comes attached to your paycheck? Sometimes it is called a statement of earnings and deductions. What does earnings mean? What are deductions?”

Go through the different parts of the pay stub, highlight and defining new vocabulary.

Ask students if they have other deductions listed on their pay stubs. List these on the board Ask students if they have other information on their pay stubs, such as sick leave, vacation time, etc.

Put columns on the board for gross pay, net pay and deductions. Have students create a pay stub as a whole class. Have them copy it from the board. Then students create another pay stub in their notebooks.

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

Applicable worksheets: RFL v.1, unit 6

Progress to multiple-choice format activities:


  • See Daily Living Activities on pages 83-86 in Reading for Life v.1.
  • Provide students with copies of 2 different pay stubs.  You can use the one on the worksheet in this section and create one more. LifePrints 2 also has a page on reading pay stubs. Have students ask questions and write sentences using the comparative and adverbs of frequency.  For example, A gets paid weekly and B gets paid monthly.  A gets paid more often than B.  B earns more money than A.
  • The NCFL (National Center for Family Literacy) has a financial literacy curriculum, including workbooks for learners, on its website.  In Unit 4, Understanding Your Income, there is a section called Learn to Read a Pay Stub: