Pre-Beginning ESL

Pre-Beginning ESL Curriculum

This Pre-Beginning ESL (levels 0-1) curriculum was created with a grant from the Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium to implement Bridge Prep components into curricula. To prepare learners to transition to jobs and lay a foundation for post-secondary, this curriculum incorporates level-appropriate Transitions skills developed by the Hamline ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS) Acacemic, Career and Employability (ACES) framework
such as critical thinking (e.g., categorizing and sequencing) and self-management (e.g., maintaining a binder of class handouts) into every life skill unit. This curriculum builds literacy skills through regular practice with print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency and comprehension. In building literacy skills, it also prepares learners for success on CASAS assessments. We encourage you to use or adapt these units for your classroom! 

To find additional support with integrating phonics and phonemic awareness activities into your lessons, see the Pre-Beginning Unit Chart for the phonics focus for each weekly unit. Other supplementary phonics ideas and activity instructions can be found in the Phonics and Phonemic Awareness Kit.

For learners who would benefit from extended phonics and vocabulary practice, use the Literacy Work Stations. The Literacy Work Stations pull content from the stories found in the weekly curriculum units, and provide learners with scaffolded support so that they can successfully interact with the unit lesson plans. Materials, instructions, and the teacher handbook for the Literacy Workstations are available to download below following the Weekly Curriculum Units.

If you are interested in purchasing the ESL Volunteer Tutor Manual that is referenced in the curriculum, follow this link


  • Pre-Beginning ESL Stories (also incorporated into the units below)
  • Longman ESL Literacy, 3rd Ed
  • Minnesota Literacy Council Volunteer Tutor Training Manual 2013 or later
  • A large set of alphabet flashcards and several sets of small alphabet tiles
  • A calendar pocket chart with changeable dates or an erasable monthly calendar

Downloadable PDF Units:

Pre-Beginning ESL Community Unit: Week 1 of 3

Pre-Beginning ESL Community Unit: Week 2 of 3

Pre-Beginning ESL Community Unit: Week 3 of 3

Pre-Beginning ESL Daily Activities Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Family Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Food Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Food Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Health Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Health Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Housing Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Housing Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Looking for Work Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Looking for Work Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Money Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Money Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL On the Job UnitWeek 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Talking on the Phone Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Poetry/Feelings Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Registering for School Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL School Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Shopping Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Shopping Unit: Week 2 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Signs Unit: Week 1 of 1

Pre-Beginning ESL Transportation Unit: Week 1 of 2

Pre-Beginning ESL Transportation Unit: Week 2 of 2

Literacy Work Stations: Downloadable PDF Materials

Teacher Handbook Directions for Work Stations

Downloadable MP3s of Stories for Work Stations

A New Bed  

A Problem at the Store

An Apartment for Two

Car Problems

Did You Clock In?

Fresh Fish

Hurt at School

I Can't Sleep

Lora's Family

Lora's Pictures

Max Has a Job

Max's Many Jobs

Mr. White Goes to the Clinic

Mr. White is Sick

My Daughter is Sick

Places in the City

Rachel is Busy

Seeing Signs

The Kitchen is Busy

The Perfect Dress

The Right Bus

Where is my Shirt?