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Resources for the Classroom

for EAL Literacy

This section includes resources (lesson plans, curriculum, readings, videos, podcasts, etc.) to use in class.

This is a collection of resources for teachers who work with teen and adult ESL literacy learners. It includes slide shows, easy English readers, spelling activities, grammar, alphabet/phonics activities, a screening tool, and more.

abc English. (n.d.).

This list of resources and publications from ALIS Alberta can be ordered or downloaded as PDF files. Search "Newcomers" and "Easy Reading" for a list of accessible work-related guides:

  • Easy job profiles
  • Easy reading dictionary
  • Low literacy resources for career advisors
  • Making job choices
  • Decide on a job
  • Find a job
  • Keep your job
  • Be safe at work

ALIS (2001–2021). Tools and resources for low literacy.

This site links to adult ESL literacy resources. It includes curriculum, classroom activities, articles, and videos that support instructors in ESL literacy settings.

Atlas ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System. (2021). ESL resources: Low literacy adult ESL. Hamline University.

This resource includes a collection of 40 theme-based readers designed to provide authentic and relevant stories reflecting learners' experiences. It also includes an instructor guide and video with ideas for planning pre-reading and extension activities based on the Readers. The Readers are available in a digital audiobook format which teachers can access in class for their learners.

Originally in 3 documents, this substantial resource for adult ESL literacy learners has been merged into one PDF. Each of the three Topics has lesson plans and reproducible classroom materials designed for 6 different ESL Literacy levels*.

  • Economic literacy activities (pdf p. 4).
  • Employment literacy activities (pdf p. 138)
  • Personal management literacy activities (pdf p. 207)

Note: This document was published prior to ESL for ALL (2016), and refers to “Phases” of ESL literacy (Phase 1 Initial, Developing, and Adequate; and Phase 2 Initial, Developing, and Adequate).

The Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) has developed curricula for ESL literacy learners. The following resources are described at the bottom of the Newsletters page and can be requested via email.

  • Workplace Essential Skills Toolkit: Numeracy and Working with Others for Low Skilled Learners
  • Workplace Essential Skills Toolkit: Digital Technology for Low Skilled Learners
  • Passport to Canada: English Language, Literacy and Life Skills Preparation for Refugees
  • Educational Curriculum Manual: Employment Training for Low Literacy Immigrant Women
  • Diversity Manuals: Sara Learns and Works in Calgary
  • Cross-Cultural Parenting Program (CCPP) Resource Manual

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2021). Resources.

Designed for ESL literacy refugee learners, these materials include lesson plans and classroom materials. Each section has 4 main areas of focus:

  • Front loading (background knowledge, language & vocabulary)
  • Related skills (filling out forms, dialogue practice)
  • Agencies (where and how to access services)
  • Connections with service providers (guest speakers & field trips).

Materials can be requested from CIWA.

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2019). Passport to Canada: English language, literacy and life skills preparation for refugees.

A resource manual with unit summary charts, lesson plans, and worksheets for develop the language and essential skills related to the following unit topics:

  • Cleaning guest rooms
  • Customer care
  • Safety and emergencies
  • Introduction to the hotel

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2010). Customer care for housekeepers: Training materials for hotel housekeeping staff.

This resource includes the following:

  • Health literacy tools (My health passport; My language card; Next steps notepad)
  • Six “What happens at the ___” videos in English, translated into 7 additional languages
  • A Teacher’s Guidebook with activities, supplemental handouts, and resources.

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA). (2021). Health literacy resources.

Available for purchase, these instructional resources are designed to appeal to adult ESL literacy learners.

Eye on Literacy (n.d.).

This 71-page document provides a system for ABE and ESL literacy teachers who would like to develop their students’ knowledge of Roman alphabet letters, English letter-sound patterns, high frequency sight words, as well as improve their learners’ fluency and comprehension. It includes tests, lesson plans, materials, and resources.

Frank, M., & Perry, K. (2015). Beginning alphabetics tests and tools. Adult Basic Education Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS).

This collection is for instructors working with adult EAL learners who have not had the opportunity to develop reading and writing skills.

It includes activities on ABCs, numbers, dates, personal information, money, time, weather, community, parts of the body, family, health, food, and home.

Each topic includes outcomes, pedagogical suggestions, activity instructions, and relevant handouts.

Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). (2019). Hands On! A collection of EAL literacy activities.

This is a vocabulary learning platform used by many ESL literacy instructors. It includes a “Beginning” category for activities related to the alphabet and phonics, along with a wide variety of other collections of vocabulary activities on themes such as body/health, clothing, actions, food, house, jobs, and much more. This platform has activities that help learners match spoken to written form. With each set, learners do a variety of activities to match audio to pictures, along with fill-in-the-blank and Dictation exercises.

Learning Chocolate. (n.d.).

This YouTube playlist includes basic reading instruction for ESL literacy learners. It includes reading instruction that helps beginning readers connect sounds with letters.

Purchase the What’s Next beginning readers (with a whole-part-whole phonics approach) and Novel Scenes low beginning novels (stories set in realistic work contexts) from New Reader’s Press.

New Reader’s press. (2012).

This online course helps learners develop the competence and knowledge to access online courses as well as to use technology effectively and critically. It includes learning activities, videos, and quizzes related to the following topics: Digital citizenship, Netiquette, Digital rights and responsibilities, Digital privacy and security, Time management, Online learning strategies, Digital collaboration and communication, Using online information, and Digital fluency. The online course can be accessed from this website. SCORM files can also be downloaded and embedded into your online course.

These resources would be suitable for beginning ESL and ESL Literacy learners. They include videos (911, Walk in Clinic, Active Living) and a variety of teaching resources with lesson plans and reproducible materials related to parenting.

Olivieri, J., Drew, R., & Rogan, C. (n.d.). ESL video resources. AMSSA.

Quizlet is a free website that provides flashcards, games, and learning tools. For literacy learners, instructors can create simple flashcards with words and pictures. Literacy learners can access a variety of activities using these flashcards, including a Spell tool where words are dictated.

Learners can download the Quizlet app on their phones. Instructors can create classes and track their learners’ progress. Go to and create a free account. An upgraded account allows you to add your own audio and images.

Quizlet. (n.d.).

This handbook provides an introduction to multi-level instruction, as well as 16 ready-to-use lesson plans for multi-level classes. There are 4 lessons plans in each of the following 4 modules:

  • Finding a job
  • Shopping online
  • Online safety
  • Going to the doctor.

Each lesson plan includes activities suitable for CLB 1, CLB 3, and CLB 5 learners who may be together in a multi-level class.

The link connects to stories that are written in simple language and supported by illustrations and audio. Many of the stories come from the Global Storybooks project, as well as African Storybooks and Indigenous Storybooks. Stories are categorized into 5 literacy levels, and readers have the option to read/listen to the stories in English and French, as well as in 20 other languages spoken by immigrants and refugees in Canada. The stories can also be downloaded as PDFs.

Storybooks Canada (n.d.).

This hub for English literacy resources includes useful websites, opportunities for training, curriculum materials, and a bank of resources developed by TIES.

The Resource Bank includes a variety of reading, writing, listening and speaking tasks for Foundations, CLB 1L–2L, CLB 3L–4L, and more. These can be accessed on their page or copied to your Google account.

The Immigrant Education Society (TIES). Literacy Centre of Expertise. (n.d.).

This website includes ESL literacy resources and collections. Create an account and sign in to Tutela.

Under the Resources tab search for SCORM or Teaching Resources by the relevant literacy levels: Foundations, 1L, 2L, 3L, or 4L.

Under the Collections tab, see the following collections:

  • Literacy – Lesson plans, module plans, assessment tools and templates
  • ESL for ALL Support Kit reference material
  • Digital literacy tools
  • Literacy reference material
  • ISANS literacy curriculum guidelines, modules, and materials

This curriculum resource is designed to be used with CLB 1 and CLB Phase 1*. It includes 5 modules:

  • Food basics
  • Eating well with Canada’s Food Guide
  • Meal planning and shopping
  • Introduction to food safety

Each module includes 8–22 lesson plans and supporting reproducible materials. The materials are attractive, colourful, and formatted to be accessible to ESL literacy learners.

*This document was published prior to ESL for ALL (2016), and refers to “Phases” of ESL literacy.

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. (2012). Healthy eating toolkit.