English as a Second Language Sites
Adult Education Interest Section (AEIS) and Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
targets adults learning English, as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors and administrators. Brings together adult education and ESL knowledge, principles, and skills. Has five major purposes: increase awareness of the needs and roles of adult education; address priority areas through workshops, demonstrations, open forums, and discussion sessions; advocate on behalf of the organization's members; cooperate with members to address the needs of ESL students and their families; and expand visibility of ESL and adult education through research and communication.
The Adult Reading Toolkit (The ART)
M. Frank, V. Weinberg, Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) Minnesota, 2004, revised 2005
Presents current research on teaching reading to adults and approaches to assessment and instruction. Offers guidance on selecting curricula, using authentic materials, and locating appropriate software. Covers phonemic awareness, beginning phonics instruction, intermediate decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)
Provides learning tools that address U.S. history and government, including citizenship, for K-12 students. Website is designed for children, but resources also can be used in adult ESL classrooms. Includes links to curriculum on other U.S. government websites, such as the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Mint, NASA, and the National Park Service.
Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly, Chicago, IL
ESL-Civics curriculum aimed at senior immigrants and refugees with limited English who had limited education in their home countries, but is appropriate for all immigrants. Fifteen units available online, containing instructional materials and activities. Unit 15, Civics and Community, focuses specifically on U.S. government, services for elderly, and the neighborhood. Includes low level ESL and adult literacy materials.
Citizen/Community Member Role Map and Indicators
Equipped for the Future (EFF) Center for Training and Technical Assistance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN
Rubric illustrating the various roles and activities of involved citizens. Includes suggested activities and role indicators.
Civic Education, English Teaching Forum Electronic Journals - Language and Civil Society
F. L. Stoller, U.S. Department of State, English Language Programs
One of several academically oriented volumes designed to engage English language students in learning both content and language. The Civic Education volume covers individual rights, freedoms, responsibilities, and citizenship; laws, rules, and the responsibilities of government; balancing individual and societal needs; cultural diversity; and other civics issues. Each chapter includes background information, lesson plans, Internet resources, a bibliography, a glossary, activities, and assessments. Presents advanced lesson ideas that can be adapted for lower level learners.
Civic Participation and Citizenship Collection
New England Literacy Resource Center
One of several online collections offered by the New England Literacy Resource Center. Provides annotated list of websites and original resources that address civics for ESL and adult basic education learners, citizenship preparation, professional development, research, and legislation. Includes citizenship teachers’ reflections on classroom activities, resources for students, and materials for teachers.
Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook
A. Nash, Editor, New England Literacy Resource Center, 2001
Focuses on various aspects of civics participation and community action. Contains articles by adult education teachers describing civics projects, lesson plans, and activity ideas. Sections include: Finding Connections to Communities and Issues; Holding Decision-Makers Accountable; Building Community by Helping Others; Expressing Ourselves and Educating Others; and Organizing for Change. Also provides a list of websites and resource materials available online for teachers interested in integrating civics into their lessons.
Civics Education for Adult English Language Learners
Center for Adult Education Language Acquisition (CAELA), Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Comprehensive compilation of curricular and instructional resources for citizenship, English Literacy (EL)/Civics, and ESL instructors and tutors. Includes articles, reports, teacher reference books, learner textbooks, newsletters, links to national and regional organizations, policy information, listservs, and other resources.
Civics Flash Cards
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Citizenship
Designed as a study tool for immigrants applying for naturalization and for teachers and volunteers to use in the classroom. These flash cards reinforce learners’ understanding of U.S. history and government. Flash cards can be easily downloaded from this website.
Classroom Activity: Helping Your Students Talk to Policymakers
Adult Literacy Resource Institute, University of Massachusetts, Boston
A step-by-step guide to preparing students to discuss an issue of interest to them with a policymaker. Includes planning and practice activities, and list of educational benefits expected from the activity.
Constitutional Rights Foundation, Online Lessons Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF)
Part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation website, offers free, online civics and citizenship lessons covering a range of topics, such as Foundations of Our Constitution. Each subject has several lesson plans, as well as links to other resources. Also includes access to current and archived editions of Bill of Rights in Action newsletter, with an option to sign up for a free subscription.
DiscoverySchool.com Designed by the Discovery Channel for K-12 teachers and students, this website can be adapted for use with adult ESL learners. Provides resources and lesson plans in a variety of content areas, including U.S. history. Examples of lesson plans include: Understanding Government; We the People: A History; The American Revolution; the Civil Rights Movement; Immigration to the United States; and World War II: Causes and Consequences. Offers accompanying videos for purchase and free lesson planning and puzzle-making tools.
EDSITEment "We the People" Lessons The “We the People” initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities aims to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. As part of this initiative, EDSITEment offers a full range of lesson plans for K-12 teachers on the important ideas, events and figures of American history, civics and government.
EL Civics "How-To" Manual J. A. Napper and E. Rosenbaum, Bronx Community College and the City University of New York, 2003
Developed as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Civics Education Demonstration Project, this manual includes information on establishing and managing an EL/Civics program. It addresses goals and objectives, staffing, recruitment, student assessment and placement, staff development, student accountability, evaluation, curriculum development, and instructional strategies. Provides sample flyers, intake forms, self-assessments, lesson plans, and other helpful resources.
EL/Civics Activities Packet
Colorado Department of Education, Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, 2002
Developed for the Colorado Department of Education’s Center for At-Risk Education, Adult Education, and Family Literacy, this comprehensive packet of activities includes EL/Civics competencies and teaching and assessment activities. Topics cover community services; consumer economics; employment and housing; health; and transportation/directions. Includes resources for each life skill area. Activities grouped by listening, speaking, reading/vocabulary, and writing skills.
City College of San Francisco, 2006
Offers two EL/Civics modules: (1) Using Emergency Services and (2) Job Search Skills. Each provides a lesson plan, learning objectives, assessment strategies, suggested texts and units corresponding to the learning objectives, activity sheets that can be printed out for classroom use, and a list of the language competencies to be acquired via the module.
English Literacy and Civics Education
Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA), Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), 2006
Describes the U.S. Department of Education’s EL/Civics Education program and offers guidance to instructors and tutors on tailoring instruction to beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Includes links to organizations, articles, books, and literature. Download/view PDF (181KB):
English Literacy Civics Education Resource Center Texas Center for the Advancement of Literacy and Learning
Provides curriculum, lesson plans, professional development materials, web collections, activities for adult learners, parents, and children, and other resources under the following topics: civic participation and community action, immigration and naturalization, voting and government, parent and school involvement, and workplace education.
English Literacy/Civics Lesson Plan Index
Literacy Volunteers of America, Roanoke Valley
Provides ready-to-use lesson plans on the following topics: Civics and Consumer Skills, Health, Employment, Technology, and Everyday English (which includes such topics as taxes, housing, utilities, family life, directions, verb tenses, and others). Lesson plans are introduced by a brief description and contain specific behavioral objectives, a timeframe, materials, classroom activities, and assessment tools.Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
Citizenship section of this website contains information about the naturalization process, including RAPID Answers, a quarterly publication providing information updates for practitioners who work with immigrants.
High Intermediate and Advanced EL Civics Curriculum of Fairfax County, Virginia, Adult and Community Education
Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, 2003
Provides active, hands-on, problem-based curriculum modules for learners in adult ESL and adult high school classes. Composed of three learning modules, Government, Health, and Consumer Awareness. This flexible curriculum can be easily adapted to meet individual learner needs. Includes ideas on how to vary lessons and other resources for instructors. Features information on using the Internet and learner assessment.
Immigration, Stories of Yesterday and Today
Scholastic, Inc., 2005
Although designed for students in grades K-12, can be adapted for use with adult English language learners. Includes immigrants’ stories, interactive tour of Ellis Island, research projects, online teacher’s guide, activities, lesson plans, and links to useful resources.
Integrating Civic Participation and Adult ESOL
A. Nash, New England Literacy Resource Center, 2005
This article proposes a process for building ESL students’ capacity for engaged and active citizenship through an examination of policies and systems affecting their lives. Based on content drawn from experience working with providers, the Equipped for the Future (EFF) citizen/community member role map, and a theoretical framework describing three kinds of citizens: personally responsible, participatory, and justice-oriented citizens. Presents a series of steps with specific suggestions for classroom activities and examples from teachers.
Issues in Teaching Speaking Skills to Adult ESOL Learners
National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy (NCSALL), Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, Volume 6, 2006
Provides an overview of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) instructional methods and reviews various ways of assessing speaking skills. Offers a list of research questions focused on effective classroom activities, the role of technology in teaching speaking, and the ability of assessments to predict learners’ success in using English at work and in other contexts.
Download/view PDF (263KB):
The Key Newspaper
Milwaukee Area Technical College Office of Grants and Development, 2005
Published monthly, The Key is a newspaper designed for adults with limited reading skills. Current events articles cover world news, U.S. news, family, jobs and money, and sports. Provides lesson plans and activities for each featured article.
The Learning Page
The Library of Congress
Designed to help high school educators use the American Memory Collections to teach history and culture, the Learning Page offers tips, definitions, rationale for using primary sources, hands-on activities discussion topics, lesson plans, suggestions for using the collections in curriculum, and professional development resources. Archive provides online access to 100 collections of rare materials including photographs, audio recordings, and film clips. Adaptable for use with higher level adult ESL learners.
CNN San Francisco, CBS 5-KPIX (CBS Broadcasting) and Western/Pacific LINCS, National Institute for Literacy
Interactive web-based instruction for adult learners using recent and past CNN San Francisco bureau and CBS 5 - KPIX (CBS Broadcasting) news stories. Provides full texts of each story, video clips or other multimedia materials, and activities to assess comprehension and support learning activities. Stories address various topics, such as business and the economy, culture and society, education, health, the environment, politics, and science and technology. Includes instructor guidance.
Literacy Assistance Center
Founded in 1983, the Literacy Assistance Center (LAC) provides referrals, training, information, and technical assistance to literacy programs in New York. Offers professional development materials, lesson plans, and curricula designed for youth and adult literacy instructors. Contains links to civics education and citizenship preparation instructional tools and resources on government and voting.
New Citizens Vote! An Educational Curriculum About Voting and Civic Engagement
Northern California Citizenship Project, Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action, 1998
Highly interactive exercises feature mock election and provide new and prospective citizens with tools and information about voting and other civic activities. Includes a detailed overview of each exercise and instructor tips for preparing and conducting each lesson. Flexible modular format can be integrated into a variety of ESL and citizenship education courses. Presents basic problem solving techniques and opportunities for learners to tackle authentic community problems. Complete package includes guidance on how to use the curriculum, participant handouts, and other helpful resources. http://www.pilaweb.org/and
New Readers Press
Offers a weekly newspaper and teaching tools for readers at level four and above and a variety of resources for ESL and citizenship classes. For example, Citizenship: Passing the Test is a low literacy test preparation package that includes a student workbook and teacher’s guide. Other multimedia, print, and video resources address preparing for the citizenship interview, U.S. geography, history, culture, and basic facts about American life. Download of Becoming a Citizen: Get Prepared workshop presentation available at no cost. Other video and print resources available for purchase at:
On Common Ground
INTELECOM Intelligent Telecommunications, 2002
Multimedia curriculum for civics and citizenship education, focuses on key issues in citizenship, civics, and government. Includes video lessons, workbooks, teacher’s resource book, video transcripts, and vocabulary lists. Offers free online training modules, lesson plans, study guide template, and other resources. Provides correlations to the GED and CASAS examinations, Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards, and the National History and Civics Content Standards. Available for purchase.
Our Documents Initiative
National History Day, The National Archives and Records Administration, and USA Freedom Corps
Part of a national initiative on American history and civics designed to encourage discussion about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Website presents 100 milestone documents of American history from 1776 to 1965, including background information on each. Provides tools for educators such as a Teacher Sourcebook, suggestions for introducing students to the milestones, and lesson plan ideas. The Sourcebook provides guidance on how to use the website’s resources and highlights award-winning lessons. Lesson content geared to higher level learners.
Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN)
Offers citizenship and EL/Civics lesson plans, classroom activities, Internet sites for use with students, and articles on teaching and learning. Also provides a group of over 40 EL/Civics instructional materials that are available for a modest fee. Topics include: parent guidelines to navigating the school system; sample job interviews; financial literacy lessons; and mock citizenship interviews. Links to organizations and other resources on citizenship, EL/Civics, vocational ESL, adult basic education, and lesson plan building tools. Free registration for users required.
Practitioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners
National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and the National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE), Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), 2004
Designed to support adult education and family literacy instructors serving adult English language learners and their families in rural, urban, and faith- and community-based programs. Toolkit provides guidance on lesson planning and instructional strategies and offers sample lesson plans, activities, and learner needs assessments. Features materials designed to help learners prepare for permanent residency and citizenship.http://www.cal.org/caela/tools/instructional/prac_toolkit.html
City College of San Francisco
Offers curriculum and lesson plans that link ESL, adult basic education, and citizenship programs with civics education. Materials cover wide range of topics, such as, civic rights and responsibilities, civic engagement, government, U.S. history, social issues, health, and communication skills. Includes lesson plan template structured around Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards.
Q & A - Civics Education for Adult English Language Learners
L. Terrill, Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), 2000
Aimed at the new EL/Civics teacher, this digest outlines the events that shape EL/Civics education, defines civics education and citizenship education, and provides activities and approaches to integrating civics education with language learning at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Also provides links to additional resources.
REEP ESL Curriculum for Adults
Arlington County Public Schools, Arlington, VA, Arlington Education and Employment Program (REEP)
Online instructional system for educators working with adult English language learners that provides learner needs assessment tools, curriculum content, instructional strategies, and learner assessments for nine proficiency levels ranging from low/beginning to advanced. Unit Index section highlights topics and materials for all levels. Community Units focus on the life skills needed to participate in the community.
Taking Action: A Resource Guide for Instructors Serving ESL Adults with Learning Difficulties or Learning Disabilities
M. Frank, Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) Minnesota, 2003
Provides information on ESL and learning-disabled adults and language acquisition principles. Describes external and internal factors influencing learning and performance. Also offers promising practices and recommendations for ESL instruction, sample lesson plans, a preview of LDA's pre-referral, referral, and assessment tools, and models for determining significant learning difficulties or learning disabilities. Available for purchase from:
Talking with the Police - An English Language and Civics Workbook for English Language Learners - Student Workbook
C. Reta and M. A. Lane, Bruggemeyer Memorial Library LAMP (Literacy for All of Monterey Park) Program and the Monterey Park, California Police Department, 2002
Provides activities and lesson plans to teach adult English language learners the vocabulary, behaviors, and customs necessary for interacting with the police and handling other emergency situations. Student exercises and instructional plans include conversation practice, role-play, assessment, writing activities, and photos and graphics depicting scenarios, people, artifacts, and documents encountered in emergency and legal situations. Lessons target high beginning/low intermediate learners, but can be adapted to any level. Some material is specific to California, but can be modified for other regions. Features a “Critical Information Translations” section in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
Download/view PDF (90KB): http://www.otan.us/images/publicarchive/ArchivesDigitalFiles/ELCivics/003368/003368toc.pdf
Talking with the Police - An English Language and Civics Workbook for English Language Learners - Teacher's Guide
C. Reta and M. A. Lane, Bruggemeyer Memorial Library LAMP (Literacy for All of Monterey Park) Program and the Monterey Park, California Police Department, 2002
Accompanies the student guide, Talking with the Police - An English Language and Civics Workbook for English Language Learners.
Download/view PDF (913KB): http://www.otan.us/images/publicarchive/ArchivesDigitalFiles/ELCivics/003369.pdf
Tennessee Adult ESOL Curriculum Resource Book
P. Sawyer, Editor, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Office of Adult Education, and University of Tennessee, Center for Literacy Studies, 2001
Includes EL/Civics competencies organized by the National Reporting System levels of ESL achievement. Provides English language instruction emphasizing the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, naturalization procedures, civic participation, and U.S. history and government. Contains learning plans for various achievement levels that identify activities, assessment strategies, and relevant Equipped for the Future (EFF) Standards.
Download/view PDF (1.7MB): http://aeonline.coe.utk.edu/esolcrg.pdf
Thirteen Ed Online
Features useful tips, lesson plans, and other resources for ESL, EL/Civics, and GED instructors. Includes activities on migration and immigration, the lives of immigrants, U.S. history, using the Internet to explore history, as well as pre-GED and GED reading, writing, science, and mathematics. For example, in “Migration and Immigration in the United States: Three Case Studies,” learners compare and contrast the early migration and immigration experiences of three different cultural groups.
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Digital Classroom U.S. Archives
Provides reproducible copies of primary documents from the holdings of the National Archives of the United States, and lesson plans and other instructional activities correlated to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Provides lessons by era, e.g., Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s). Lessons are designed for students in grades 5-12, but can be adapted for adult ESL students. Includes downloadable analysis worksheets for written documents, photographs, cartoons, poster, maps, artifacts, motion pictures, and sound recordings. http://www.archives.gov/education/index.html
Using Alternative Assessment with English Language Learners: References and Resources K. Carl and M. Rosen, Evaluation Assistance Center East, George Washington University, 1994
Discusses the need for nontraditional assessments in adult ESL programs. Provides an annotated list of references on issues, policies, and organizations relevant to alternative assessments.
Using Portfolio Assessment in EL Civics Classes in California
California Department of Education, California Adult Education Research Digest, No. 1, 2003
Offers a definition of “portfolio” and discusses how portfolios can contribute to assessment, instruction, and learning. Describes purposes for using portfolios, types of portfolios, appropriate content, desired outcomes, and guidelines for instructors and learners. Outlines steps involved in developing and implementing a standardized portfolio assessment system and provides links to other portfolio literature. Principles of portfolio use also can be applied to content areas other than civics.
Download/view PDF (264KB): https://www.casas.org/home/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.showContent&MapID=1332
Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Citizenship, 2005
Contains practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, as well as basic civics information to introduce immigrants to the U.S. system of government. Also gives new immigrants tips on how to get involved in their new community, and how to meet their responsibilities and exercise their rights as permanent residents.
Verizon Literacy Campus
Offers an array of free online courses on ESL, adult education, family literacy, volunteering, and program management topics. Citizenship: What Volunteers Need to Know (ProLiteracy Worldwide and the National Center for Family Literacy, 2004) is a course offering a step-by-step introduction to the naturalization process. Other relevant courses include Citizenship: Preparing Students for the Interview, and Citizenship: Teaching US Civics for the Exam. Also includes a library of online and print resources on related topics, including adult literacy, English language instruction, and family literacy.
http://www.icivics.org This program is used in 50 states and anestimated 55,000 classrooms at this time (Oct. 2012). This program is designed to make civics fun.