As mentioned earlier, the ESL Literacy Benchmarks are described in four phases, Foundation, and Phases I - III.
The Foundation Phase describes pre-reading and writing concepts and skills that students must develop prior to Phase I. Students who have never attended school before and have no experience with written text usually need to develop some basics before they can begin to read and write. For example, they may never have held a pen or pencil before and becoming comfortable with this skill can take some time, as any of us who have learned to knit or do brush calligraphy as adults will recognize. Foundation Phase students may need to learn to hold a pencil, make pencil strokes and copy shapes, letters or numbers. They may also be unfamiliar with the concept that the printed page carries meaning, that pictures represent concrete objects, or that we move from left to right and from top to bottom on the written English page.
The Foundation Phase begins with an overview that provides a global description, sociocultural and linguistic considerations, learning strategies, and pre-reading and writing strategies for learners in this phase of their ESL Literacy development.
The Foundation Phase of reading has been further divided into two progress points, Initial and Developing to reflect the development of concepts related to the printed page. The information for each of the progress points is presented in a two-page table.
Phases I - III
Each Phase includes the skill areas of reading, writing and numeracy. Each Phase begins with an overview that provides a global description, sociocultural and linguistic
considerations, learning strategies, and reading, writing and numeracy strategies for learners in this phase of their ESL Literacy development.
To enable students and teachers to mark student progress, the reading and writing skill areas have been further divided into three progress points: Initial, Developing and Adequate. These terms, also used in the ESL for Adults Benchmarks, provide some coherence between the two sets of benchmarks and help facilitate student transition between programs. The numeracy benchmarks have not been further divided as it is generally recognized that these skills are linked to overall language and literacy development.
Format of the Tables
The ESL Literacy Benchmarks tables are presented in a two-page spread. The following information is described under each heading:
Reading and Writing
Language Competencies - describes a sample of the communicative functions of reading and writing in which the ESL Literacy skills are contextualized. These functions generally incorporate the functions described in the ESL for Adults Benchmarks and provide the context for the literacy competencies;.
Literacy Competencies - describes the specific literacy concepts or skills related to the language competencies.
Conditions - describes the characteristics of the context and supports the students need to carry out the tasks, such as the size of the type font or sentence length;
Sample Tasks - provides suggestions of possible communicative tasks in which to contextualize the literacy competencies;
Examples - provides a variety of samples of texts - size of font, layout, etc. in reduced form - that would be appropriate at this point in the ESL Literacy student's progress. N.B. These are examples only and not to be considered the only texts that could be used.
Numeracy Competencies - describes a sample of basic numeracy functions and concepts;
Language Competencies - describes aspects of English and literacy related to the numeracy competencies;
Conditions - describes the characteristics of the context and supports that the students need to carry out the tasks, such as the use of concrete objects and manipulatives;
Sample Tasks and Applications - provides suggestions of possible tasks and activities students can do to apply the numeracy skills and concepts; N.B. These are examples only and not to be considered the only tasks that could be used.
Canadian Language Benchmarks www.language.ca
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