Activities to Promote Reading Development

Resource URL:
S. Leishoff
N. Aguilar
S. McShane
M. Burt
J. Peyton
L. Terrill
C. VanDuzer
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation: 
National Center for Family Literacy
National Center for ESL Literacy Education (at CAL)
English language learners, reading activities, reading skills, beginners
Number of Pages: 
Product Type: 
Lesson Plan
Target Audience: 
Local Program Administrators, Teachers
Skill Level: 
NRS EFL 1--ABE Beginning Literacy
NRS EFL 2--ABE Beginning Basic Education
NRS EFL 4--ABE Intermediate High
Required Training: 



This portion of the larger Practioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners focuses on activities to develop reading development. It defines types of native language literacy (e.g. preliterate, non-alphabet literate) and addresses four components of developing reading skills (phonological processing, vocabulary knowledge, syntactic processing, background knowledge). Sample reading activities are provided which address these skill areas. The activities are developed for beginning and multilevel classrooms.

What the Experts Say: 

The first three pages of this resource include a nice description of what adult English language learners need to know to read English. Particularly useful is the discussion of six types of first language literacy. This section could be used as a handout for training teachers new to teaching reading to adult English language learners. However, the classroom activities would not be appropriate for that audience. They assume fairly substantial background knowledge on the part of the reader. The rationale behind certain assertions is not explained, how to introduce activities and link them to others is missing. This may be because they are excerpted from a much longer publication, and assume that the reader has read the rest of the publication. Experienced ESL reading teachers could use this resource to get some new ideas, but novice teachers will find that these techniques may well raise more questions than answer them.

This product is especially useful to the field of adult ESL because of the identification of specific strategies, as well as the teaching steps and/or sample materials for using those strategies in the following areas: 1) the development of reading readiness for preliterates; 2) the use of dialogues and Language Experience stories to develop reading skills of beginning ESL learners; 3) the development of vocabulary with the intermediate and advanced ESL learners. Sometimes the case for a strategy would be stronger if a rationale were provided (e.g., why start with capitals in teaching the writing of letters). I also believe the document would be more useful if it were expanded to address other elements of reading as identified by Kruideneir (e.g., fluency, comprehension).

NOTE: Both reviewers highly recommend this resource, more so in the context of the whole document. Please keep in mind that the entire document has not been reviewed by LINCS expert reviewers. You can access the Practitioner Toolkit at

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