Low Level Stories You Can “Bank” On!

The Minnesota Literacy Council ESL Story Bank is a group of stories written specifically for adult ESL learners at the lowest levels. They are part of the Minnesota Literacy Council’s Adult ESL Curriculum with Transition Skills, available here for free. In the ESL Story Bank, there are both pre-beginning and beginning stories in the story bank.  The stories are all relevant and appropriate for adult English Language Learners. The activities are well-scaffolded, and designed to help low level students each step of the way.  The materials can be used as a full curriculum in which you introduce a new story with a theme that builds over the course of a week. Alternatively, teachers can pick and choose stories that support the adult learner themes they are working on.

Here is an example of a Unit/Theme from “Max Has a Job”:

With each Story of the Week – in the case above “Max Has a Job” – students take on a set of themes, and stay with those themes and the story created to address those themes for an entire week. Students first work on activating background knowledge, and reading words, then phrases from the story. Little by little, students build their skills and confidence in retelling the story, reviewing and remembering vocabulary associated with the story, answering comprehension questions, and transfer and writing skills. The lesson plans also include ideas for incorporating digital literacy skills each day.

The story “Max Has a Job” is the first Unit/Theme in the pre-beginning Story Bank. The unit addresses these themes: Looking for Work; Work History; On-the-job instructions; and Work safety.

Here are the preliminary materials for the first day with this story:

Both the pre-beginning and beginning stories and lessons are designed to equip low-level students with English, and “transitions skills to build foundations for work and academic pathways” in a level-appropriate way.

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About Moira Taylor

Moira Taylor loves her reading time on the C train as she travels from Washington Heights to Brooklyn. Her ESL career started at the Riverside Language Program more than 20 years ago. She's also taught in Thailand, the New York Public libraries, and The New School. She's been at CUNY as an ESL professional developer for 10 years.

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