New Video: Teaching Reading Standards with Beginning Level ESL Students

adult ESL teacher leaning over a table to help two ESL learners who are looking at a picture in a book

In the third and final video of the CCRS in the ABE Classroom series, Dan Bruski of Hopkins ABE skillfully integrates a variety of teaching standards into his beginning level ESL class. During the lesson, learners work on strengthening their vocabulary, developing grammar and critical thinking skills, and using language in a communicative context. You can find Dan’s video, along with a copy of his lesson plan and the Text Dependent Questions Stems and Frames for Beginners handout at on the Minnesota Literacy Council website.

A few of the top takeaways from this video include:

  • Reading texts can take on a variety of forms, including images, actions, charts, and graphs.
  • Learners at beginning levels are capable of finding evidence to respond to text-dependent questions, and of citing evidence to defend their position, including responding to questions that require making and supporting inferences.
  • Scaffolding, routines, and using volunteers enables lower level learners in multilevel classes to participate fully with their more proficient peers.
  • Working with standards is an opportunity to enhance (not replace) what instructors already know about effective adult language instruction

No matter what level of ABE you teach or area you teach in (ESL, GED, Diploma, etc.), this video is worth watching because the wonderful scaffolding techniques Dan incorporates throughout his lesson. He demonstrates supportive classroom routines that tie the class together; multiple reading texts that increase in difficulty; partner, small-group, and whole class work; learner-generated texts; and the use of all four language modalities. These scaffolds are valuable for every teacher to see and use!

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