Welcome to Hands On! A Collection of ESL Literacy Activities. This collection of activities was developed for instructors working with adult ESL learners who have had little or no opportunity to develop reading and writing skills.
The chapters focus on topics usually explored in any adult ESL class, although references are made to areas and names within Nova Scotia. Although the primary focus is to provide a thematic based approach to learning reading and writing, the activities will also serve as catalysts for speaking and listening activities. Hands On! is not a curriculum, but one of many resources that can be used to teach learners how to read and write.
Chapters 1–5 are in sequential order for learners at avery basic level. Each of these five chapters builds on the previous chapter. Chapters 6–14 are in no particular order and should be selected according to learners’ level, needs and interests.
The directions on each page are written for instructors. Each page has a variety of activities that can be presented for that page. It is not recommended that all the suggested activities are attempted at one time, but that some are used for review.
Learners’ confidence is an essential part of the learning process and as instructors, we should be aware of the possible lack of confidence and provide positive learning opportunities by focusing on learners’ skills and abilities and ensuring successes in every class. The activities in this book were developed to be learner centred and instructors are strongly encouraged to adapt and personalize the activities to reflect learners’own life experiences.
It is important to develop oral vocabulary at the same time as learning reading and writing. Introducing new vocabulary or reinforcing words previously learned is the first activity in each chapter. When learners do the activities, it is important to have the information in front of them. Each time a new word is introduced, ask learners to copy it five to seven times. Every week, review what has been previously learned by looking at flyers, money, flash cards, talking about the weather, etc. Incorporating activities such as copying names, addresses, telling time, and saying phone numbers in class every day. Words can be written in a separate notebook, or on separate recipe cards and kept in a recipe box. The words at the end of each chapter in Hands On!can be cut and glued on to business cards for a more permanent resource.
One of the first stages of ESL literacy is to become comfortable with the mechanical skills needed to write the alphabet. Tasks such as holding a pencil,drawing straight and curved lines, letter and number discrimination, and writing from left to right may be new challenges for learners. The first chapter in this book provides opportunities to develop and practice these skills.
Chapter 5 provides opportunities to develop basic numeracy skills. Even though numeracy is a survival skill, it is often overlooked in the ESL class. Developing numeracy skills is a long and continuous process. Although basic numeracy is introduced in this chapter, it is not meant to be a thorough presentation.