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Home > For Teachers of Low-Literate Adult ESL




Balanced Literacy

Learner-Generated Texts

Extensive Reading Resources

Published Materials for Low-Literacy Adult ESL

Teacher Resources

If you have questions about this site or its contents, please contact Patsy Vinogradov at


Bow Valley College has just launched a new network for ESL literacy practitioners.

This site has a wealth of information about these literacy benchmarks as well as a framework for curriculum and more. Here is the web address:


Study Circle Guide Available online!

Hamline University and ATLAS (Adult Basic Education Teaching and Learning Advancement System) contracted with Patsy Vinogradov to create a study circle guide for teachers, complete with a facilitator's guide, materials and resources.  The guide has now been developed, piloted and is ready to share with others.  Please visit the ATLAS website to access the Study Circle Guide For Teachers of Low-literacy Adult ESL


Literacy and language instruction coupled with helping learners acculturate to a new community is the task of teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL). Already a complex, challenging endeavor, some ESL teachers are tasked with teaching older learners, adults, who have never held a pencil and who have never seen their names in print. Such emergent readers, for a variety of reasons, have had limited formal schooling and have not had the opportunity to gain literacy in their first languages.

Low-literate adult ESL learners face a double challenge: they must learn a new language while learning to read for the first time. Gaining alphabetic print literacy as an adult is a complex undertaking. Few teacher preparation programs address this level of literacy in older learners, and relevant professional development for instructors is limited. The research base is small, but growing.
A small group of teachers and teacher educators worked together to create this part of the website in response to frequent requests for guidance from teachers of low-literate adults.
We have compiled our best resources here, and we hope you find them useful!

*Compiled by Patsy Vinogradov, Andrea Poulos, Jen Sell, and Astrid Liden.


LESLLA, Low-educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition website:

This is an international organization that is dedicated to the learners we are focusing on in this study circle.  This site has a number of conference PowerPoint presentations, workshop handouts, and other resources here.

To access presentations for the September 2011 symposium, please visit the conference slideshare site:

The 2012 LESLLA Symposium will be held in Jysaskyla, Finland, August 30 September 1, 2012.  For more information about the 2012 conference, watch this site: