Curriculum & Materials





ESL Literacy Readers
This collection of forty theme-based readers utilizes authentic photographs and stories to explore topics immediately relevant to adult newcomers. The site includes an instructor's guide to support lesson development. Some books (topics) are reproduced at multiple levels to allow for easy differentiation in multilevel classes. 

Eye on Literacy – Wordless Books
From the site: Our purpose is to provide quality visuals as instructional resources that capitalize on oral language skills of adult second language literacy learners with limited schooling. We believe second language classes benefit by having access to resources that help create learner-generated texts. Moving the learner from oral language to print through visuals creates an environment where, together, the teacher and learner can build meaningful contexts and decoding skills. The emphasis is on oral language which becomes the stepping stone to the reading and writing process.

Decodable readers

At the River and Other Stories for Adult Emergent Readers 
by Shelley Hale Lee. From the site: At the River and Other Stories gives students the opportunity to acquire basic literacy skills in English. Phonics exercises provide direct instruction in letter sounds, letter formation and blending. Each of the ten units offers one or more decodable stories so that students can put their decoding abilities to work right away in a meaningful context. The stories about Pam, Bob and their family relate directly to students' lives. Story themes include: family, the household, transportation, clothing, shopping, leisure activities, health, work, and daily routines. 

Sam and Pat 1 and 2 by Jo Anne Hartel, Betsy Lowry, and Whit Hendon, Thomson Heinle. These decodable readers are no longer in production, but you can get copies on Amazon. The story follows a couple, Sam and Pat through their daily lives -- work, family, daily challenges. Students love to laugh at Sam and how he can get himself in trouble so easily. They also like that Pat is a strong female (she has a job and the van!). 

What's Next? by Lia Conklin, New Readers Press. A unique multilevel phonics approach for ESL Students. What’s Next? is a two-level reading series designed for multilevel English classes. Easy-to-read stories follow Samsam, a Somali immigrant, through her daily life in the U.S. where she is faced with learning English, finding a job, visiting a doctor, and more.

Talk of the Block by Ann Haffner, New Readers Press. Provides low-level ABE and ESL learners with phonetic instruction, reading practice, and activities. Learners will follow a core group of characters who live and work within a city block and deal with typical everyday issues related to four key themes: family, home, shopping, and health. Each theme has two books; short vowels and long vowels. 


MN Literacy Council Pre-beginning ESL Story Bank and Curriculum
This Pre-Beginning ESL (levels 0-1) curriculum was created with a grant from the Saint Paul Community Literacy Consortium to implement Bridge Prep components into curricula. It was completed in March 2014, authored by Jessica Grace Jones. To prepare learners to transition to jobs and lay a foundation for post-secondary, this curriculum incorporates level-appropriate Transitions skills developed by the Hamline ABE Teaching and Learning Advancement System (ATLAS) Academic, Career and Employability (ACES) framework such as critical thinking (e.g., categorizing and sequencing) and self-management (e.g., maintaining a binder of class handouts) into every life skill unit. This curriculum builds literacy skills through regular practice with print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, fluency and comprehension. In building literacy skills, it also prepares learners for success on CASAS assessments.

abc English is a curriculum for adult English learners that teaches basic English communication and reading skills, starting from the abc sounds.  abc English was created especially for adult refugees and immigrants who are not literate in their native languages.  To preview or purchase books, click here

PONTIdiPAROLE is a cutting-edge didactic model for learning Italian aimed at a target of users with little schooling experience (young and adult migrants) and addressed to teachers, schools and welcome organizations. The training paths offered by PONTIdiPAROLE follow the "step-by-step" philosophy by accompanying teachers and students in the construction of the course and in the achievement of learning objectives. PONTIdiPAROLE consists of two components, the volumes and the digital support, both designed to interact with each other in a simple and modular.

*For Curricula specific to training teachers please visit our Professional Development page.




Grass Roots Press sells adult literacy learning and instructional materials.

New Readers Press offers several books for literacy level adults developing core reading skills, seeking supplemental stories, focusing on citizenship, and more! 

Saddleback Educational Publishing offers classroom sets of fiction and nonfiction readers with vocabulary card sets. They focus on children and adolescents, but have sets dedicated to Newcomer ELLs. 

Peppercorn Books and Press has a series of materials for teaching literacy to ELLs. Here is a list of their Level 1 Starter Readers.


Health Literacy Materials


Civic Literacy and Education






Health Literacy MaterialsOnline and paper resources for the ESL Literacy classroom, health information (reading a prescription, following medicine labels) in English and other languages.There are also phonics stories that students can read online, print, and do follow up activities on. The stories and information are also provided as listening activities.

Picture Stories for Adult ESL Health Literacy - Developed by Kate Singleton, these picture stories help teachers of adult ESOL students discuss topics related to health and well-being, including emergencies, doctor's appointments and stress. They also address more sensitive topics, such as domestic abuse. The site includes ideas for using these picture stories, including this important caveat: In using picture stories, teachers should carefully consider the images that they choose to use. Cartoons or similar drawings or illustrations that incorporate figures of isolated body parts may not be recognizable or comprehensible to all English language learners. This may be especially true for learners with limited literacy in their native languages. Drawings of people or body parts may even be offensive to some groups. Teachers need to be aware of these issues and be prepared to use alternative resources such as photographs, videos, or gestures. 

Health Literacy Curriculum - This curriculum was developed for beginner ESOL students by the Queens Library Adult Learner Program. This site includes lesson plans, student materials, and audio files. The lessons use color photographs and depict people of various backgrounds.  

Virginia Health Literacy Toolkit - This toolkit provides information about adult ESOL students need to learn about healthcare in the US, as well as ESOL teaching materials and lesson plans with additional learner-centered resources on significant and/or sensitive health topics. Background information and instructions for teachers are provided and can be adapted for contexts outside the US.


Literacy for Active Citizenship Readers - UK-based Learning Unlimited created this series of leveled readers for non-EU women developing their skills and confidence in English. The readers, written by students and volunteers, contain stories about funny, personal and less typical aspects of everyday life in the UK. You can see the available titles, sample pages and order through this site.


These sites offer world news and opinion pieces in modified English.

The Times in Plain English – News articles written based on readability as determined by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula.

News in Levels – Fresh news pieces offered in three proficiency levels. Includes accompanying video.

Breaking News English – Various interesting news pieces offered in up to six levels. Includes activities.


English Guff - This collection of videos on YouTube was designed for Nepali-Bhutanese newcomers learning English. The creators, based in Ottawa, Canada, used Nepali to set the context for the videos and offer translations of words and phrases. Topics of videos include health, gardening, weather, and more. These videos are ideal for  independent student learning.