This paper deliberately does not embrace or assume a particular definition of ESL literacy. Rather, one goal of the project was to find out what definitions were in use across the country. The research shows a range of different definitions in use.
The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB)5 refers to ESL literacy as a program for people who are not functionally literate in their own language for variety of reasons. This includes those individuals:
Jangles Productions embraces the CLB definition in its study of instructional and assessment best practices in LINC programs in Ontario that focus on ESL literacy.7 Recent research by the Ontario Literacy Coalition (OLC) looks at ESL literacy through the lens of adult immigrant Canadians in Ontario who are newcomers or settled, and have limited or no literacy in their first language (other than English or French). The OLC’s research attempted to provide a picture of ESL literacy in Ontario through an ESL lens rather than a mainstream literacy lens.8
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5 CLB refers to “a descriptive scale of communicative proficiency in English as a Second Language (ESL) expressed as 12 benchmarks or reference points.” CLB includes ESL Literacy Benchmarks that lay out the progression of reading, writing and numeracy skills for ESL adults who have little or no literacy skills in their first language. See http://www.language.ca/pdfs/clb_adults.pdf
8 Ontario Literacy Coalition. (2007). Creating a bridge: A snapshot of ESL literacy in Ontario. Executive summary. Retrieved from http://www.nald.ca/library/research/bridge/bridge.pdf August 2007.