ESL Literacy

This resource book contains curriculum for financial literacy with well-presented teaching guidelines.

Topics: economic literacy, employment literacy, personal management literacy

Free access:

Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS) has 249 occupational videos available. They could be used for listening activities or independent learning.

Free access:

The Best of the Reader site contains a series of e-books for low-level ESL and literacy learners. The books can be used in class or for independent study. Users have permission to download, print and distribute the material found on the website. Each e-reader has 8 to 10 stories with activities and an answer key. The list of e-readers includes a Teachers’ Guide, and calendar of special days and holidays for the year, and specific work-related titles such as People and Jobs.

Free access:

This site is located in Canada and is for all ESL teachers, K to Adult. There are word scrambles and search generators. There are thousands of worksheets available (there are filters). Many are connected to PowerPoint downloads or YouTube/Ted Talk videos or popular movies/songs. There are ESL articles for instructors that focus on professional development. The site is relatively easy to navigate. Search has a drop-down listing of choices aligned with your search words. No registration is required. You can sign up for a newsletter.

Search “employment” or use specific search words such as “job search” or “business English.” It may take time to explore available worksheets, activities or how-to examples.

Free access:

For reference use, this link at the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks provides an overview that relates the CLBs to immigration and citizenship. There are also links for details on language proof for citizenship and the CLB 4 competency framework for listening and speaking, in addition to various government information pages for settlement, education, training and employment.

Free access:

Lessons may be adaptable for literacy classrooms, this resource was developed by the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now IRCC) as a companion to Discover Canada, the federal government’s citizenship test study guide. It is intended for program planning and instructional use. The chapters are theme-based with a planning framework for CLB 1–8. It provides reproducible activities, recommended resources and teaching strategies. There are seven chapters covering:

  1. Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens
  2. Who We Are
  3. Canada’s History
  4. Canada’s Government
  5. Elections
  6. Canadian Symbols
  7. Canada’s Regions and Economy

There is an informative list of suggested resources including books and online materials, including a virtual Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with translations in 23 languages:

Free access:

A colourful, interactive website that helps participants prepare for the Canadian citizenship test. Participants are invited to earn badges as they complete each section on the benefits of citizenship. The site is linked to the online Discover Canada study guide. Participants also have the option of listening to the study guide on Sound Cloud.

Free access to the study guide:

The test preparation section contains flash cards for practice, in addition to online quizzes. There are two options for the quizzes: a 30-minute timed quiz with 20 questions, simulating the real citizenship test, plus a random quiz with no time limit.

Free access:

From the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks, the topic of  this sample CLB Literacy -2  module  is weather.  Scroll down to find and download  Digital Literacy Lesson Plan Sample. It provides lesson planning for using a website to check weather, also includes 4 pages of handouts and suggestions for 9 activities.

Free access:



The Easy Reading Career Planning Series includes Work and You Book 1 and Work and You Book 2, plus a book for tutors and advisors.

Additional topics: job profiles, dictionary, find a job, keep your job

Note: The two titles, Be Safe at Work and Employment Law Protects Workers, are focused on Alberta, but the core information is useful and could be adapted.

Free access:

This website is designed for beginning and intermediate learners (not CLB aligned), with a wide variety of activities for language practice, including podcasts, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. The podcasts  link to different sites, including Archie comics.

This website is for ESL Literacy learners, with  activities divided into three levels.  The reading activities are adapted newspaper articles and personal stories, which are illustrated and have an audio feature.  There are printable crossword puzzles as well.  The resource is from Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. Although last updated in 2010, the resource provides useful content for Literacy instructors and students.

Free access.

English for Financial Literacy is an instructor’s resource for CLB levels 1 to 8. Some materials may be adaptable for literacy learners. The objective is to help instructors incorporate financial literacy content into their program planning and teaching. There are three volumes with audio and additional online activities.

Free access:

ESL Library is a commercial website based in Winnipeg, offering high-quality lesson plans for Canadian, American and international educators. The lessons are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced learners, with a large variety of activities, including flashcards, discussion starters on political, social and environmental issues, mini-debates, holidays, grammar, writing, podcasts and a reading series (which includes detective serials). Themes include English at work, the environment, healthcare, everyday English and idioms. New lessons are added monthly. Sample lessons are available but are watermarked.

Subscription is required. Lessons are downloadable PDFs (copyrighted).

Available in 3-month, 6-month and 12-month memberships, from $25 to $55.

Groups of teachers can share memberships; for example 1–5 teachers can share the 1-year $55 membership.

Subscription required:


This Canadian website sells classroom materials for a variety of purposes. The texts are written for ESL learners from Literacy to CLB 6. The books range in cost from about $30 to $80, for teacher or school. CDs are provided. Texts are skill and theme based (health, food, family), also includes  Canadian holidays, vocabulary activities and games. New texts contain PBLA resources.

Subscription required:

Additional Resources:

Lessons are task-based for PBLA:

Outcomes: Assessment 4-book series for CLB 1–4, based on CLB 2000, can be adapted for PBLA tasks:

Storybooks and related activities in five languages: English, French, Arabic, Tagalog and Chinese. Designed for parents and children to read and develop literacy skills together.

Free access:

The Toolkit is a comprehensive guide for teaching financial literacy and numeracy to ESL Literacy and low-level learners. The guide contains assessment materials, instructional and planning content, thematic units with sample lesson plans and classroom resources, with instructions for three learner stages: Emerging, Building and Expanding, which have been developed for multi-level settings.

Thematic units cover: goal setting, money, grocery shopping, budgeting, banking, credit/debt/loans. Follow-up and homework activities are suggested, along with teaching tips. The Toolkit emphasizes that there is not necessarily a correlation between a learner’s literacy and numeracy skills.

Free access:

This is a 284-page resource for literacy learners. Instructors are welcome to pull from the activities, worksheets, learning strategies and ideas included in the collection. Clear and easy to use. Numeracy is included.

Free access:

These easy-to-read activity booklets, written by Joan Acosta and Bev Burke,  have been designed for adult English learners build their own literacy skills while building the habit of reading with with young children. The first book is for reading with babies, the second is for toddlers, and the third is for reading with preschoolers. The booklets can be read online or downloaded and printed.

Free access.

The Internet Picture Dictionary is an easy-to-use multilingual online dictionary and vocabulary-building program, useful for low-level ESL and literacy learners. It is also available in French, German, Spanish and Italian. The illustrated dictionary covers several topics, including animals, appliances, body parts, clothing, fruits and vegetables, school and transportation. The interactive activities include flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, word scramble and recall.

Free access:

This is a sharing website for instructor-made materials: a variety of resources including printable worksheets, PowerPoints and videos. Registration required.

Free access:

Suitable for Stage I & II learners.

The links on this site include a wide selection of activities for low-level learners in CLB 1–5. Activities are categorized into 11 themes: people, work, everyday activities, home, our community, our world, food, health, getting around, communication and the basics.

Free access:

Literacy, Stages 1 & 2. There are currently 13 workbooks. Each workbook covers two benchmarks, literacy, Stage 1, plus CLB 5.

Topics include:
Physical Activity
Dental Health
Mental Health
Canada’s Food Guide
Reading Food Labels
Diabetes Prevention

Free access:

This site is an online picture dictionary with images, audio and text and activities.

Topics: the body, food, the house, numbers, etc.

Free access:

LINC Literacy Employment Resource, 2000 – A Support Document for the LINC Literacy Component is intended for use with ESL Literacy learners who have little or no formal education in their first language or may be struggling with a different writing system.

Free access:,_2000_-_A_Support_Document_for_the_LINC_Literacy_Component

This bank of “real world” assessments was developed by the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s ESL program for use by ESL and LINC instructors.  A user friendly website houses  more  than 300 ready-to-use assessment tasks. Search by CLB level   (Literacy Foundation to CLB 7), skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading or Writing) and theme.  The site is password protected; passwords are available through program administrators.

Password required:  available through  ESL and LINC Administrators and   can be retrieved from tutela. For additional  information email

Free access (with password):

CLB ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL) addresses the needs and abilities of adult ESL Literacy learners. Most government-funded Adult ESL classes in Canada are referenced to the CLB and adult ESL learners are placed on the CLB scale using a CLB‐based assessment instrument. However, when adult ESL learners who lack literacy skills are placed on the scale, they require unique supports as they gain the ability to communicate in an additional language. The purpose of this document is to describe the needs and abilities of adult ESL Literacy learners and to support instructors in meeting their learning needs.” (

Free access:

“This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with two key documents:

  • the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adult Literacy Learners (ALL), which supports instructors working with adult ESL learners who have literacy needs; and
  • the Canadian Language Benchmarks: ESL for Adults, which is the national standard for English as a second language for adult immigrants (including those with literacy needs) living, working and studying in Canada.

The purpose of this Support Kit is to show instructors how the CLB and ALL documents are used for planning and assessing ESL learners with literacy needs in CLB-referenced classrooms.

The Kit includes:

  • Orientations to the CLB: ESL for ALL and the CLB: ESL for Adults documents;
  • Information and examples for planning literacy instruction, including needs;
  • Assessment and goal-setting, module/unit planning and lesson planning;
  • Information and examples on assessing ESL Literacy learners’ progress in a way that is compatible with Portfolio-Based Language Assessment (PBLA);
  • Suggestions for supporting ESL Literacy learners in multi-level literacy classes and mainstream ESL classes;
  • Ideas for using the Continuum of Literacy Skills found in the CLB: ESL for ALL document; and
  • Sample resources for literacy instruction and assessment.” (

To download you need to “Add to Cart” and register. The PDF will be emailed to you.

Free access:

The Complex English Language Learners (CELLS) tool was produced by the Calgary Board of Education for ELLs who may have special needs. While intended for use elementary and secondary students, the document will be helpful for teachers and administrators in adult settings as well.  The model helps educators to identify concerns and provide ELLs with effective supports.

The document provides descriptions of learning challenges in the following areas: behavioural, communication (listening and speaking), reading, writing, and mathematics. The authors offer linguistic, cultural and other considerations, and provide sample intervention strategies and additional resources.

There are few resources for adult ELLs with learning challenges; this is a helpful guide for all educators.

Free access:

The Network was developed by CEIIA, Bow Valley College’s Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. Designed for ESL Literacy practitioners, the Network provides information, resources and tools for instructors, a resource finder, PD workshops and webinars, network for professional learning, blog posts and social media links.

For administrators, there are tools for program development, including a comprehensive program development guide, and a series on innovations in programming.

Free access:

This is an excellent step-by-step manual for delivering literacy classes. Topics include:

  • Program considerations
  • Classroom strategies
  • ESL Literacy levels (4)
  • Materials
  • Teaching ideas
  • Literature review of ESL Literacy
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Webliography (30% links no longer available)

There is a strong need for program administrators and instructors to have professional development opportunities available to meet the needs of Literacy learners.

Free access:

This is a comprehensive resource developed by Bow Valley College, Alberta. It provides support to instructors teaching contained literacy classes and mixed level classes. There is an instructional framework, plus effective strategies, materials and resources for literacy instruction.

TESL Ontario’s webinars are available to everyone through TESL Ontario’s You Tube Channel.  Free access:

TESL members may also view webinars through Tutela (registration required). Current and archived webinars are available for viewing.  Webinars count as TESL professional development.

Webinars can be accessed at:

Select TESL Ontario in “Groups” to access webinars past and present.

There are currently 100 webinars (some repeats) available for access on this site. The topics are varied and cover many aspects, including literacy, classroom management and PBLA.

Online, free for members. And membership is free. When completed, many posts are kept in the archives. Some webinars are located within a membership group and one needs to be a member to join or view. Most webinars can be used for TESL Ontario professional development requirements.

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register then search Tutela Webinars.

Register at:

This website contains a range of resources to aid in delivering instruction to children and adults who have had their formal education interrupted. Includes teaching resources and essential learning indicators for language, literacy and numeracy.

Free access:

Resources for more intensive intervention:

An award-winning British Columbia resource, The Westcoast Reader is designed for beginning adult readers, both ESL and English literacy learners. National and local news stories are adapted from The Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers, in addition to articles on health, safety, law and daily life. The paper is printed on a monthly basis for 10 months of the year, and provides a good orientation to Canadian culture and everyday life.

There are links to videos, photos and maps in the online paper. Each front page article has an audio file, allowing learners to read and listen to the story simultaneously. Teacher notes contain instructional strategies and answer keys.

The articles are not referenced to the CLBs. They are written with three levels of difficulty, suitable for CLB Stage 1 learners and higher level ESL Literacy learners.

The following groups can receive The Westcoast Reader free:

  • Community Adult Literacy Programs (CALP)
  • ESL, EAL and ABE programs provided by public post-secondary institutions
  • Literacy Outreach Coordinators (LOC)
  • Public libraries

$$$ All other groups pay a small fee to receive this valuable learning resource.

Free access:

There is a large collection on Tutela relating to literacy. While the full collection has not been reviewed, it is an excellent starting point for developing literacy curriculum and assessment.


  • Literacy Tools and Templates
  • Listening Assessments
  • Speaking Assessments
  • Reading Assessments
  • Writing Assessments
  • Literacy Goal Setting
  • Module and Lesson Planning
  • Literacy Webinars

Free to join. Free access nationally. Must register before accessing information. Search Tutela Collections.

Register at:

YouTube is an online video sharing service. Content includes video clips, TV shows, music videos, movie scenes, documentaries and video blogs. Users may also upload their own videos.

Recommended ESL channels:

ISSofBC (Canadian):


English Club:

BBC Learning English:



Real English: