Illinois ESL
Content Standards
 
Jennifer K. Foster

Senior Director for Adult Education and Family Literacy
Illinois Community College Board
 
Patricia DeHesus

Director for ESL/EL-Civics
Illinois Community College Board
 
Geoffrey S. Obrzut

President/CEO
Illinois Community College Board
 

 
Revised September 2007

For the purpose of compliance with Public Law 101-166 (The Stevens Amendment)
approximately 100% federal funds were used to produce this document.
 
Table of Contents
 

AcknowledgementsBack to top


The Adult Education and Family Literacy Program of the Illinois Community College Board recognizes the ESL educators who contributed to the development of the Illinois ESL Content Standards. The dedication, commitment, and hard work of administrators, coordinators, and instructors led to this document which reflects the knowledge of practitioners in Illinois ESL programs. Three groups are responsible for developing and providing valuable input for this document: the ESL Task Force, the Illinois ESL Content Standards Work Group, and the Field Test Group.


ESL Task Force

The ESL Task Force provided the impetus and did the initial research on the document. Fifteen members were involved in this initial effort:

  • Stephen Alderson
    Instituto del Progreso Latino
  • Marta Caldero
    Wilbur Wright College
  • Linda Davis
    Oakton Community College
  • Joanna Escobar
    College of DuPage
  • Carol Garcia
    College of DuPage
  • Katharine Grimes
    Waubonsee Community College
  • Matt Huseby
    McHenry County College
  • Jeff Janulis
    Richard J. Daley College
  • Nancy Koll
    Richard J. Daley College
  • Ewa Kulas
    Albany Park Community Center
    • Suzanne Leibman
      College of Lake County
    • Paty Loyola
      William Rainey Harper College
    • Armando Mata
      Harry S. Truman College
    • Daisy Mitchell
      Wilbur Wright College
    • Mary Ann Wamhoff
      Southwestern Illinois College

Illinois ESL Content Standards Work Group

The Illinois ESL Content Standards Work Group developed the field-test draft of the standards through a process of research, discussion, and many revisions. Thirteen members made up the Work Group:

  • Linda Davis
    Oakton Community College
  • Carol Garcia
    College of DuPage
  • Ditra Henry
    College of Lake County
  • Matt Huseby
    McHenry County College
  • Halina Kopec
    Elgin Community College
  • Kathy Krokar
    Harry S. Truman College
  • Jennifer Miller
    McHenry County College
  • Josephine Nocula
    Wilbur Wright College
  • Karen Parrillo
    Albany Park Community Center
  •  
    • Maureen Ruddy
      Township High School District #214
    • Kathy Speers
      Asian Human Services
    • Miroslava Vankova
      Richard J. Daley College
    • Mary Ann Wamhoff
      Southwestern Illinois College
    •  

Field Test Group

These 22 instructors used the Illinois ESL Content Standards in their classes and provided recommendations and evaluation data:

  • Macarena Alarcon
    West Chicago Community
    High School District 94
  • Farah Apicella
    College of DuPage
  • Kelley Briles
    Waubonsee Community College
  • Dawn Brill
    YWCA of Elgin
  • Joanna Bryan
    World Relief-Chicago
  • Elaine Burnette
    McHenry County College
  • Marie Day
    McHenry County College
  • Carmine DeStefano
    Evanston Township High School
    District 202
  • Erika Dudley
    Literacy Chicago
  • Hoda Hamdy
    Township High School
    District 214
  • Stephanie Larson
    Waubonsee Community College
  • Marcia Luptak
    Elgin Community College
  • Catherine McCabe
    College of DuPage
  • Elizabeth McNulty
    World Relief-DuPage
  • Jeanne Mellett
    Albany Park Community Center 2
  • Elizabeth Minicz
    William Rainey Harper College
  • Jennifer Richardson
    Township High School
    District 214
  • Shepherd Roberts
    Oakton Community College
  • Barbara Shinabarger
    McHenry County College
  • Kathy Speers
    Asian Human Services
  • Juliana Stover
    Oakton Community College
  • Rebecca Walker
    College of DuPage

Illinois Adult ESL Programs

The Illinois Community College Board also wants to thank the ESL students and instructors from the following programs for participating in focus groups, completing surveys, and providing feedback on the draft Illinois ESL Content Standards:

  • Albany Park Community Center
  • Asian Human Services
  • College of Lake County
  • Elgin Community College
  • Harry S. Truman College
  • Oakton Community College
  • Pui Tak Center
  • Richard J. Daley College
  • Wilbur Wright College

Adult Learning Resource Center

The ICCB would like to express special thanks to the professional and support staff of the Adult Learning Resource Center who have supported this project from the beginning with meeting space, secretarial help, arrangements for printing, and most importantly the professionalism and expertise of Karen Hilgeman, Julie Howard, and Catherine Porter. Their dedication to the project helped to make it a success.

 
Introduction
What Are Content Standards?         Back to top
Content standards describe what learners should know and be able to do in a specific content area, which in this case is the English language. The Illinois ESL Content Standards define what adult English Language Learners (ELLs) should know and be able to do as a result of ESL instruction at a particular level.
The Illinois ESL Content Standards are not a curriculum. In addition, they are NOT:
The Illinois ESL Content Standards are much broader than the curricular components above. They should, however, form the basis for curriculum design, which may include these components. The standards may also be used to assist programs and teachers with selecting or designing appropriate instructional materials, instructional techniques, and ongoing assessment strategies.
Why Were the Illinois ESL Content Standards Developed?         Back to top
The ICCB Adult Education and Family Literacy Program developed the Illinois ESL Content Standards for several reasons. They were developed for four reasons:
Provide a Common Language Among ESL Levels and Programs
ESL classes are very different across Illinois programs. For example, a student in a Beginning ESL class in Chicago may be learning different skills from a student in a Beginning ESL class in Elgin. There may even be different content in Beginning ESL classes within the same program but in different classrooms. The Illinois ESL Content Standards provide a description of what students should learn at each NRS level so that adult education practitioners have a common language when discussing ESL levels. Having a common language among levels and programs will help ESL learners who move from level to level within the same program or who move from one ESL program to another.
Assist Programs with ESL Curriculum Development
The Illinois ESL Content Standards should serve as the basis for a program’s curriculum development process. For programs with an existing curriculum, that curriculum should be aligned to the standards. For programs without a curriculum, the standards provide an excellent framework and starting point for the curriculum development process.
Provide Guidance for New ESL Instructors
The Illinois ESL Content Standards provide guidance for new instructors who may have limited training in ESL methodology or materials. The standards serve as a basis for what they should teach and include in their lesson plans. Sample lesson plans based on the standards are included in Appendix F.
Ensure Quality Instruction Through Professional Development
In order to implement the Illinois ESL Content Standards, program staff (administrators and instructors) will participate in professional development on implementation of the standards. These professional development sessions will address curriculum design, instructional materials, instructional techniques, and ongoing assessment strategies related to the standards. They will also provide an excellent opportunity for new and experienced ESL instructors to develop and refine their teaching skills.
How Were the Illinois ESL Content Standards Developed?         Back to top
The Illinois ESL Content Standards are the result of several federal and state initiatives that addressed the need for content standards in adult education programs. This document contains the final version of the Illinois ESL Content Standards resulting from a three-year process that included development and review by the field--including Illinois ESL coordinators, instructors, and students.
A Blueprint for Preparing America’s Future
This federal document, published in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), indicated that all federally funded adult education programs would need to develop content standards for accountability purposes.
The Adult Education Content Standards Consortia and Online Warehouse Project
This federal project was funded in 2003 by OVAE to assist states in developing content standards for adult education. Fourteen states, including Illinois, participated in the Consortia, which provided information, technical assistance, and the opportunity to network with other states in the process of developing content standards.
The Consortia provided much of the background and research used to develop the Illinois ESL Content Standards. The online Content Standards Warehouse contains the adult education content standards from many states and can be accessed at www.adultedcontentstandards.org.
The Illinois ESL Task Force
In spring 2003, this ongoing task force of Illinois ESL professionals began to discuss the need for a common language in the state regarding ESL class levels and the content taught at each level. The ESL Task Force conducted an initial review of existing ESL content standards from other states and made recommendations about the format and the content of the document.
The Illinois ESL Content Standards Work Group
Thirteen experienced ESL instructors and coordinators from twelve Illinois ESL programs worked diligently from May 2004 through June 2005 to develop the initial draft of the Illinois ESL Content Standards. This draft was then reviewed by the field.
Illinois ESL Program Review
During the summer of 2005, instructors and ESL students at all NRS levels and from nine Illinois adult ESL programs reviewed the draft document. Feedback was gathered via focus groups and evaluation surveys. Revisions were then made from the data gathered in this review process.
Field Test
The final phase of the Illinois ESL Content Standards development process was the field test. Twenty-two instructors in 15 Illinois ESL programs agreed to use the draft standards as the primary focus for their ESL classes for four months (January through April, 2006). All NRS levels were represented in the field test classrooms, and both new and experienced instructors participated. After completion of the field test, the results were incorporated into the final document. Sample lesson plans developed by the field test instructors are included in Appendix F.
Design of the Illinois ESL Content Standards         Back to top
Assumptions About Adult ESL Learners and Effective ESL Instruction
The ESL educators who developed the Illinois ESL Content Standards based them in part on a set of assumptions about adult ESL learners and effective ESL instruction. These are summarized in Standards for Adult Education ESL Programs published by TESOL, Inc. Two sections--Standards for Curriculum and Instructional Materials and Standards for Instruction--are included in Appendix G. These are part of a standards-based approach to evaluating effective adult ESL programs and served as guiding principles in the design of the Illinois ESL Content Standards.
Levels and Skills
The Illinois ESL Content Standards contain five levels, as shown in the chart below. The NRS Functioning Levels (revised July 1, 2006) contain six levels.
Illinois ESL Content Standard Level NRS Functioning Level for ESL

Beginning ESL Literacy

Beginning ESL Literacy

Beginning ESL

Low Beginning ESL
High Beginning ESL

Low Intermediate ESL

Low Intermediate ESL

High Intermediate ESL

High Intermediate ESL

Advanced ESL

Advanced ESL


As illustrated in the chart, the Beginning ESL level in the Content Standards document corresponds to two NRS levels. There are two reasons for this. First, the NRS levels prior to July 1, 2006 contained one, not two, levels of Beginning ESL, and the Work Group developed the standards before this date. Secondly, most adult ESL programs do not offer two levels of beginning ESL in addition to a beginning ESL literacy level.
For each level, the Work Group identified standards for each of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Organization of the Standards
The standards are organized in two ways: first by level and then by skill. The following abbreviations are used:

Coding System
Each standard is coded according to the level and skill. For example, Standard “BE.S1” means “Beginning ESL, Speaking Standard #1.”
Scope of Standards & Use of Examples
Many of the standards are broad and can be considered “power standards”. A “power standard” is one that is absolutely essential and a prerequisite for the next level. Such a standard may be the focus of many individual classes or of an entire course and deserves priority. An example of a power standard is “HI.S1” (High Intermediate ESL, Speaking Standard #1): “Participate in face-to-face and phone conversations in familiar contexts.” Other standards are narrower in scope, such as HI.R6 (High Intermediate ESL, Reading Standard # 6): “Read work-related memos and e-mails.”
Many of the standards include examples in order to clarify the standards and to provide instructors with possible contexts for teaching those standards. However, instructors do not have to teach the examples given and should feel free to include other contexts based on the needs, skills, and interests of their students.
Using the Illinois ESL Content Standards         Back to top
Use by Programs
The Illinois ESL Content Standards should form the basis for a program’s ESL curriculum. Programs with an existing ESL curriculum should review it to determine if it is aligned to the standards, and if not, revise it to reflect such an alignment. Programs without an ESL curriculum should use the standards as the basis for curriculum development.
Once a program’s curriculum is aligned to the standards, appropriate texts and materials can be selected. Finally, programs need to train their instructors in the use of their curricula and the standards.
Use by Individual Instructors
Individual instructors can use the Illinois ESL Content Standards to plan lessons. Most of the standards can be taught in a variety of contexts, taking into account the students’ roles as family members, community members, and/or workers. For example, LI.L3 (Low Intermediate ESL, Listening Standard #3), “Follow simple oral directions and instructions,” can be used to develop lessons plans for three separate roles. As family members, students may need to follow a doctor or pharmacist’s oral instructions about how to administer their children’s medication. As employees, students might need to follow a supervisor’s instructions about how to operate a machine. As community members, students might need to follow the instructions of a police officer in an emergency situation. An instructor might develop a separate lesson plan for each situation, yet the standard is the same.
Although the standards list the four skills separately, when instructors plan and present lessons, the four skills are often integrated. For example, listening and speaking standards are the foundation for oral communication, while reading and writing standards often reinforce each other. Supporting grammar should also be part of instruction and is included in Appendix B.
Instructors may find it helpful to see what standards are included at the previous levels to verify what has already been taught and what may need to be reviewed before teaching a particular standard.
Ongoing Assessment
Ongoing assessment of the Illinois ESL Content Standards should be a part of every lesson. Learners can demonstrate their mastery of a particular standard through ongoing assessment strategies such as demonstrations, project-based learning, presentations, simulations, out-of-class activities, and other nontraditional assessment strategies. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of instruction in standards-based education.
Appendix F includes a variety of sample lesson plans developed by the field test instructors. These lesson plans are at different levels and include assessment strategies.
 
Standards by LevelBack to top


The following five pages list the Illinois ESL Content Standards by level. Five levels are included, with the following abbreviations:
 
Each level includes standards in four skill areas, with the following abbreviations:
 
Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
* Students may need to develop visual discrimination skills and fine motor skills (i.e., trace letters and numbers following guide arrows) at this level.
  See Appendix C.
 

BEGINNING ESL LITERACY (BL)

LISTENING
SPEAKING
READING
WRITING
BL.L1  Identify English alphabet letter names

BL.L2  Identify cardinal numbers 0-100)

BL.L3  Demonstrate understanding of basic greetings and polite expressions
(e.g., Good morning. How are you? Thank you.)

BL.L4  Demonstrate understanding of requests for basic personal information
(e.g., ., What’s your name? What’s your address?)

BL.L5  Follow simple oral instructions
(e.g., Open to page 3. Close the door. Take a break.)

BE.L6  Respond to simple requests for repetition and clarification
(e.g., Please repeat. What?)

BE.L7  Demonstrate understanding of high-frequency life skills vocabulary
(e.g., clothing, community, food, illnesses)

 
BL.S1  Name the letters of the English alphabet

BL.S2  Use cardinal numbers 0-100

BL.S3  Use basic greetings and polite expressions
(e.g., Good morning. How are you? Thank you.)

BL.S4  Respond to questions about basic personal information
(e.g., What’s your name? What’s your address?)

BL.S5  Say money amounts

BL.S6  Ask for and give the time
(e.g., What time is it? It’s 10:30.)

BL.S7  Express lack of understanding
(e.g., I don’t understand.)

BL.S8  Ask and respond to simple questions using basic life skills vocabulary
(e.g., family, days, months, time, money)

 
BL.R1  Identify the letters of the English alphabet* (both upper and lower case)
(e.g., ate of birth vs. birthdate, home phone vs. work phone)

BL.R2  Identify cardinal numbers 0-100 in a variety of contexts
(e.g., prices, dates, personal information)

BL.R3  Recognize the relationship between letters and their sounds when reading familiar words

BL.R4  Recognize simple personal information words
(e.g., first, last, address)

BL.R5  Recognize simple signs related to basic needs
(e.g., Men, Women, Exit)

BL.R6  Read simple classroom instructions
(e.g., Copy, Circle, Match)

BL.R7  Read short sentences of previously learned vocabulary

BL.R8  Interpret simple symbols

BL.R9  Read analog and digital clock times

 
BL.W1  Print upper and lower case letters*
(e.g., simplified school registration form)

BL.W2  Write cardinal numbers 0-100 in a variety of contexts
(e.g., dates, times, money amounts)

BL.W3  Write simple personal information
(e.g., first and last name, address, birthdate)

BL.W4  Copy simple familiar words, phrases, and sentences

 
Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
* Includes NRS Levels Low Beginning ESL and High Beginning ESL
 

*BEGINNING ESL (BE)

LISTENING
SPEAKING
READING
WRITING
BE.L1  Distinguish English sounds in clearly enunciated, highly relevant and common words.

BE.L2  Identify ordinal numbers 1st - 31st (e.g., use a calendar)

BE.L3  Demonstrate understanding of yes/no and wh- questions in familiar contexts
(e.g., Are you married? How many children do you have?)

BE.L4  Demonstrate understanding of simple commands and warnings
(e.g., Stop! Be Careful!)

BE.L5  Follow simple oral instructions
(e.g., Open to page 3. Close the door. Take a break.)

BE.L6  Respond to simple requests for repetition and clarification
(e.g., Please repeat. What?)

BE.L7  Demonstrate understanding of high-frequency life skills vocabulary
(e.g., clothing, community, food, illnesses)

BE.S1  Spell personal information orally
(e.g., My last name is Gomez: G-O-M-E-Z.)

BE.S2  Use cardinal and ordinal numbers in appropriate contexts
(e.g., time, money, address, birthdate)

BE.S3  Ask and respond to yes/no and wh-questions in familiar contexts
(e.g., Are you married? How many children do you have?)

BE.S4  Participate in familiar social interactions
(e.g., introductions, greetings, good-byes)

BE.S5  Ask for repetition and clarification using simple expressions
(e.g., Please repeat. What? )

BE.S6  Produce simple statements and requests related to basic needs using life skills vocabulary
(e.g., clothing, community, food, illnesses)

BE.S7  Describe routine activitiesy
(e.g., daily or weekend activities)

 
BE.R1  Read a variety of personal information words and phrases
(e.g., ate of birth vs. birthdate, home phone vs. work phone)

BE.R2  Read a variety of signs
(e.g., street signs, traffic signs, warning signs)

BE.R3  Apply sound/letter relationships when reading familiar words

BE.R4  Read simple written instructions with familiar vocabulary
(e.g., textbook instructions, food preparation, prescription labels)

BE.R5  Read simple sentences on familiar topics
(e.g., family, community, school)

BE.R6  Read a short, simplified paragraph on a single topic with familiar vocabulary

 
BE.W1  Complete short forms
(e.g., simplified school registration form)

BE.R2  Write simple familiar words, phrases, and sentences

BE.R3  Use basic capitalization and simple punctuation
(e.g., period, question mark)

BE.R4  Complete simple writing tasks related to everyday needs
(e.g., address an envelope, write a check, make a grocery list)


 

LOW INTERMEDIATE ESL (LI)

LISTENING
SPEAKING
READING
WRITING
LI.L1  Respond to statements, questions and commands in routine face-to-face conversations related to immediate needs.
(e.g.,shopping, transportation, health)

LI.L2  Respond to short phone conversations related to immediate needs (e.g., calling in sick, emergencies)

LI.L3  Follow simple oral directions and instructions
(e.g.,finding a room in a building, buying a train ticket)

LI.L4  Identify main idea and some details in a short conversation or listening activity

LI.L5  Respond to requests for repetition or clarification
(e.g., Would you say that again please? What do you mean?)

LI.L6  Distinguish between formal and informal language in everyday conversations
(e.g., Hello. How are you? vs. What’s up?)

 
LI.S1  Participate in routine face-to-face conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., shopping, transportation, health

LI.S2  Participate in routine social conversations
(e.g., talking about one’s weekend, talking to neighbors)

LI.S3  Participate in short phone conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., calling in sick, emergencies)

LI.S4  Give simple directions to a location
(e.g., to a school, post office, restroom)

LI.S5  Give simple instructions
(e.g., how to make a favorite recipe, how to do laundry)

LI.S6  Describe personal events
(e.g., one’s weekend activities, one’s work routines)

LI.S7  Express lack of understanding by asking for repetition or clarification
(e.g., Could you repeat that, please? What do you mean?)

LI.S8   Describe abilities and skills
(e.g., I know how to drive a forklift. I can speak English and Spanish.)

LI.R1  Read short passages on familiar topics
(e.g., family or neighborhood)

LI.R2  Use titles, headings, and visuals to predict the content of short passages

LI.R3  Identify the main idea in short passages on familiar topics

LI.R4  Read authentic materials related to immediate needs
(e.g., phone book, bus schedule, bill)

LI.R5  Use alphabetical or numerical order to locate information
(e.g., in a phone book, dictionary, index)

LI.R6  Read common abbreviations
(e.g., in want ads, prescription labels, or housing ads)

 
LI.W1  Write short paragraphs on familiar topics
(e.g., family or neighborhood)

LI.W2  Apply capitalization and punctuation rules
(e.g., comma in series, apostrophe)

LI.W3  Complete authentic forms
(e.g., change of address, job application, library card application)

LI.W4  Write simple directions to a familiar location
(e.g., to one’s house, to a local store)

LI.W5  Write short notes
(e.g., to a teacher or employer explaining an absence, to a landlord requesting a repair)

 
Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
 

HIGH INTERMEDIATE ESL (HI)

LISTENING
SPEAKING
READING
WRITING
HI.L1  Respond to face-to-face and phone conversations in familiar contexts
(e.g., employment, housing)

HI.L2  Follow multi-step oral directions and instructions
(e.g., driving directions, food preparation instructions)

HI.L3  Respond to requests for elaboration
(e.g.,Could you explain that a bit more? And what else?)

HI.L4  Distinguish between polite and impolite language use
(e.g.,Could you please give me that book? vs. Give me that book.)

HI.L5  Respond appropriately to small talk in everyday situations
(e.g.,How’s it going? Thank God it’s Friday.)


HI.S1  Participate in face-to-face and phone conversations in familiar contexts
(e.g., employment, housing)

HI.S2  Participate in social conversations
(e.g., discussing vacation plans, making small talk at work)

HI.S3  Give directions to a location using details
(e.g., Turn left at the light…you will see a Jewel store on the right and a gas station on the left…keep driving until…)

HI.S4  Describe a process (e.g., how to register for ESL class, how to have a garage sale) using detailed steps and sequence markers
(e.g., first, next, then)

HI.S5  Use examples and details to clarify meaning

HI.S6  Express opinions giving reasons and examples
(e.g., I like my job because…My favorite movie is _____ because…)

HI.R1  Read passages or articles on familiar and new topics
(e.g., work or current events)

HI.R2  Use authentic materials to get information
((e.g., want ads, advertisements, labels)

HI.R3  Predict meanings of unfamiliar vocabulary by using contextual clues in reading material on familiar and new topics

HI.R4  Identify main idea and supporting details in passages or articles on familiar and new topics

HI.R5  Identify chronological order and sequence markers
(e.g., first, next, last) in passages on familiar and new topics

HI.R6  Read work-related memos and e-mails

 
HI.W1  Combine simple sentences using connectors/conjunctions
(e.g., and, or, but)

HI.W2  Write paragraphs with main idea, supporting details, and conclusion
(e.g., writing an autobiography, writing an accident report)

HI.W3  Write simple step-by-step instructions
(e.g., a recipe, how to do something)

HI.W4  Write a simple letter
(e.g., a request, complaint, or cover letter)

HI.W5  Prepare a simple resume using a model

 
Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
 

ADVANCED ESL (AE)

LISTENING
SPEAKING
READING
WRITING
AE.L1  Respond to face-to-face and telephone conversations in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
(e.g., community, workplace)

AE.L2  Follow complex, multi-step oral instructions
((e.g., a doctor’s instructions, a supervisor’s instructions)

AE.L3  Identify the main idea and key details in a variety of sources
(e.g., from a conversation, radio or TV broadcast, or presentation)

AE.L4  Demonstrate understanding of conversational openers and closers(e.g.,I haven’t seen you in awhile. I have to get going.)

AE.L5  Demonstrate understanding of high-frequency idioms
(e.g.,learn something by heart, get fired, piece of cake)

AE.L5  Demonstrate understanding of high- frequency reductions
(e.g., “gonna”, “hafta”, “gotta”)


AE.S1  Participate in face-to-face and telephone conversations in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
(e.g., community, workplace)
AE.S2  Use paraphrasing and elaboration to clarify meaning

AE.S3  Participate in a wide range of social interactions using formal or informal language as appropriate

AE.S4  Use collaborative skills in a group
(e.g., agree, disagree, compromise)

AE.S5  Present short speeches or oral reports
(e.g., on customs or traditions in native country)

 
AE.R1  Read a variety of material
(e.g., newspapers, memos, stories) on familiar and unfamiliar topics

AE.R2  Predict the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary in reading materials by using contextual clues and/or word analysis

AE.R3  Interpret charts, tables, graphs, and other non-prose information

AE.R4  Identify a writer’s purpose
(e.g., to describe a person/place/event, to show cause/effect, to compare/contrast, to persuade)

AE.R5  Summarize the main ideas and supporting details in reading materials

AE.R6  Make inferences, draw conclusions, and predict outcomes in reading materials

AE.R7  Use reference materials
(e.g., dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus)
 
AE.W1  Add detail to simple sentences
(e.g., by adding words, clauses, and phrases)

AE.W2  Use transitions
(e.g., however, next, in addition) within and between paragraphs

AE.W3  Write multi-paragraph essays demonstrating clear use of paragraphs to introduce, support, and conclude

AE.W4  Write multi-paragraph comparison/contrast, cause/effect, description, and narration essays

AE.W5  Prepare a resume

AE.W6  Write work-related memos and e-mails

AE.W7  Write formal letters
(e.g., a cover letter, letter to a utility, letter to a congressperson)

AE.W8  Organize key details in a variety of contexts
(e.g., by note taking, listing, or outlining)

 
Standards by SkillBack to top


The following four pages list the Illinois ESL Content Standards by skill.
Four skill areas are included, with the following abbreviations:
Five levels are included, with the following abbreviations:
Each standard is coded according to the level and the skill. For example, Standard “BE.S1” means “Beginning ESL, Speaking Standard #1”.
Note About Examples: Many of the standards include examples in order to clarify the standards and to provide instructors with possible contexts for teaching those standards. However, instructors do not have to teach the examples given and should feel free to include other contexts based on the needs, skills, and interests of their students.
 

LISTENING

BEGINNING ESL LITERACY(BL)
BEGINNING ESL (BE)
LOW INTERMEDIATE ESL (LI)
HIGH INTERMEDIATE ESL (HI)
ADVANCED ESL (AE)
BL.L1  Identify English alphabet letter names

BL.L2  Identify cardinal numbers 0-100

BL.L3  Demonstrate understanding of basic greetings and polite expressions
(e.g., Good morning. How are you? Thank you.)

BL.L4  Demonstrate understanding of requests for basic personal information(e.g.,What’s your name? What’s your address?)

BL.L5  Follow simple oral classroom instructions
(e.g.,Repeat, Copy, Listen)

BL.L5  Demonstrate understanding of basic life skills vocabulary
(e.g., family, days, months, time, money)


BE.L1  Identify cardinal numbers 100 and above

BE.L2  Identify ordinal numbers 1st - 31st
(e.g., use a calendar)

BE.L3  Demonstrate understanding of basic greetings and polite expressions
(e.g., Are you married? How many children do you have?)

BE.L4  Demonstrate understanding of simple commands and warnings
(e.g., Stop! Be Careful!)

BE.L5  Follow simple oral instructions
(e.g., Open to page 3. Close the door. Take a break.)

BE.L6  Respond to simple requests for repetition and clarification
(e.g., Please repeat. What?)

BE.L7  FDemonstrate understanding of high-frequency life skills vocabulary
(e.g., clothing, community, food, illnesses)

 
LI.L1  Respond to statements, questions and commands in routine face-to-face conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., shopping, transportation, health)

LI.L2  Respond to short phone conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., calling in sick, emergencies)

LI.L3  Follow simple oral directions and instructions
(e.g., finding a room in a building, buying a train ticket)

LI.L4  Identify main idea and some details in a short conversation or listening activity

LI.L5  Respond to requests for repetition or clarification
(e.g., Would you say that again please? What do you mean?)

LI.L6  Distinguish between formal and informal language in everyday conversations
(e.g., Hello. How are you? vs. What’s up?)
 
HI.L1  Respond to face-to-face and phone conversations in familiar contexts
(e.g., employment, housing)

HI.L2  Follow multi-step oral directions and instructions
(e.g., driving directions, food preparation instructions)

HI.L3  Respond to requests for elaboration
(e.g., driving directions, food preparation instructions)

HI.L4  Distinguish between polite and impolite language use
(e.g., Could you please give me that book? vs. Give me that book.)

HI.L5  Respond appropriately to small talk in everyday situations
(e.g., How’s it going? Thank God it’s Friday.)

 
AE.L1  Respond to face-to-face and telephone conversations in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
(e.g., community, workplace)

AE.L2  Follow complex, multi-step oral instructions
(e.g., a doctor’s instructions, a supervisor’s instructions)

AE.L3  Identify the main idea and key details in a variety of sources
(e.g., from a conversation, radio or TV broadcast, or presentation)

AE.L4  Demonstrate understanding of conversational openers and closers
(e.g., I haven’t seen you in awhile. I have to get going.)

AE.L5  Demonstrate understanding of high-frequency idioms
(e.g., learn something by heart, get fired, piece of cake)

AE.L6  Demonstrate understanding of high-frequency reductions
(e.g., “gonna”, “hafta”, “gotta”)

 

SPEAKING

BEGINNING ESL LITERACY(BL)
BEGINNING ESL (BE)
LOW INTERMEDIATE ESL (LI)
HIGH INTERMEDIATE ESL (HI)
ADVANCED ESL (AE)
BL.S1  Name the letters of the English alphabet

BL.S2  Use cardinal numbers 0-100

BL.S3  Use basic greetings and polite expressions
(e.g., Good morning. How are you? Thank you.)

BL.S4  Respond to questions about basic personal information(e.g.,What’s your name? What’s your address?)

BL.S5  Say money amounts

BL.S6  Ask for and give the time
(e.g., What time is it? It’s 10:30.)

BL.S7  Express lack of understanding
(e.g., I don’t understand.)

BL.S8  Ask and respond to simple questions using basic life skills vocabulary
(e.g. family, days, months, time, money)

 
BE.S1  Spell personal information orally
(e.g., My last name is Gomez: G-O-M-E-Z.)

BE.S2  Use cardinal and ordinal numbers in appropriate contexts
(e.g., time, money, address, birthdate)

BE.S3  Ask and respond to yes/no and wh-questions in familiar contexts
(e.g., Are you married? How many children do you have?)

BE.S4  Participate in familiar social interactions
(e.g., introductions, greetings, good-byes)

BE.S5  Ask for repetition and clarification using simple expressions
(e.g., Please repeat. What?)

BE.S6  Produce simple statements and requests related to basic needs using life skills vocabulary
(e.g., clothing, community, food, illnesses)

BE.S7   Describe routine activities
(e.g., daily or weekend activities)

 
LI.S1  Participate in routine face-to-face conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., shopping, transportation, health)

LI.S2  Participate in routine social conversations
(e.g., talking about one’s weekend, talking to neighbors)

LI.S3  Participate in short phone conversations related to immediate needs
(e.g., calling in sick, emergencies)

LI.S4  Give simple directions to a location
(e.g., to a school, post office, restroom)

LI.S5  Give simple instructions
(e.g., how to make a favorite recipe, how to do laundry)

LI.S6  Describe personal events
(e.g., one’s weekend activities, one’s work routines)
LI.S7  Express lack of understanding by asking for repetition or clarification
(e.g., Could you repeat that, please? What do you mean?)
LI.S8  Describe abilities and skills
(e.g., I know how to drive a forklift. I can speak English and Spanish.)
HI.S1  Participate in face-to-face and phone conversations in familiar contexts
(e.g., employment, housing)

HI.S2  Participate in social conversations
(e.g., discussing vacation plans, making small talk at work)

HI.S3  Give directions to a location using details
(e.g., Turn left at the light…you will see a Jewel store on the right and a gas station on the left

HI.S4  Describe a process (e.g., how to register for ESL class, how to have a garage sale) using detailed steps and sequence markers
(e.g., first, next, then)

HI.S5  Use examples and details to clarify meaning

HI.S6  Express opinions giving reasons and examples
(e.g., I like my job because…My favorite movie is _____ because…)

 
AE.S1  Participate in face-to-face and telephone conversations in familiar and unfamiliar contexts
(e.g., community, workplace)

AE.S2  Use paraphrasing and elaboration to clarify meaning

AE.S3  Participate in a wide range of social interactions using formal or informal language as appropriate

AE.S4  Use collaborative skills in a group
(e.g., agree, disagree, compromise)

AE.S5  Present short speeches or oral reports
(e.g., on customs or traditions in native country)

 
 

READING

BEGINNING ESL LITERACY(BL)
BEGINNING ESL (BE)
LOW INTERMEDIATE ESL (LI)
HIGH INTERMEDIATE ESL (HI)
ADVANCED ESL (AE)
BL.R1  Identify the letters of the English alphabet* (both upper and lower case)

BL.R2  Identify cardinal numbers 0-100 in a variety of contexts
(e.g., prices, dates, personal information)

BL.R3  Recognize the relationship between letters and their sounds when reading familiar words

BL.R4  Recognize simple personal information words
(e.g.,first, last, address)

BL.R5  Recognize simple signs related to basic needs
(e.g.,Men, Women, Exit)

BL.R6  Read simple classroom instructions
(e.g., Copy, Circle, Match)

BL.R7  Read short sentences of previously learned vocabulary

BL.R8  Read analog and digital clock times

 
BE.R1  Read a variety of personal information words and phrases
(e.g., date of birth vs. birthdate, home phone vs. work phone)

BE.R2  Read a variety of signs
(e.g., street signs, traffic signs, warning signs)

BE.R3  Apply sound/letter relationships when reading familiar words

BE.R4  Read simple written instructions with familiar vocabularys
(e.g., textbook instructions, food preparation, prescription labels)

BE.R5  Read simple sentences on familiar topics
(e.g., family, community, school)

BE.R6  Read a short, simplified paragraph on a single topic with familiar vocabulary

 
LI.R1  Read short passages on familiar topics
(e.g., family or neighborhood)

LI.R2  Use titles, headings, and visuals to predict the content of short passages

LI.R3  Identify the main idea in short passages on familiar topics

LI.R4  Read authentic materials related to immediate needs
(e.g., phone book, bus schedule, bill)

LI.R5  Use alphabetical or numerical order to locate information
(e.g., in a phone book, dictionary, index)

LI.R6  Read common abbreviations
(e.g., in want ads, prescription labels, or housing ads)

 
HI.R1  Read passages or articles on familiar and new topics
(e.g., work or current events)

HI.R2  Use authentic materials to get information
(e.g., want ads, advertisements, labels)

HI.R3  Predict meanings of unfamiliar vocabulary by using contextual clues in reading material on familiar and new topics

HI.R4  Identify main idea and supporting details in passages or articles on familiar and new topics

HI.R5  Identify chronological order and sequence markers
(e.g., first, next, last) in passages on familiar and new topics

HI.R6  Read work-related memos and e-mails

 
AE.R1  Read a variety of material
(e.g., newspapers, memos, stories) on familiar and unfamiliar topics

AE.R2  Predict the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary in reading materials by using contextual clues and/or word analysis

AE.R3  Interpret charts, tables, graphs, and other non-prose information

AE.R4  Identify a writer’s purpose
(e.g., to describe a person/place/event, to show cause/effect, to compare/contrast, to persuade)

AE.R5  Summarize the main ideas and supporting details in reading materials

AE.R6  Make inferences, draw conclusions, and predict outcomes in reading materials

AE.R7  Use reference materials
(e.g., dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus)

 

Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
* Students may need to develop visual discrimination skills and fine motor skills (i.e., trace letters and numbers following guide arrows) at this level.
  See Appendix C.
 

WRITING

BEGINNING ESL LITERACY(BL)
BEGINNING ESL (BE)
LOW INTERMEDIATE ESL (LI)
HIGH INTERMEDIATE ESL (HI)
ADVANCED ESL (AE)
BL.W1  Print upper and lower case letters*

BL.W2  Write cardinal numbers 0-100 in a variety of contexts
(e.g., dates, times, money amounts)

BL.W3  Write simple personal information
(e.g., first and last name, address, birthdate)

BL.W4  Copy simple familiar words, phrases, and sentences

 
BE.W1  Complete short forms
(e.g., simplified school registration form)

BE.W2  Write simple familiar words, phrases, and sentences

BE.W3  Use basic capitalizationand simple punctuation
(e.g., period, question mark)

BE.W4  Complete simple writing tasks related to everyday needs
(e.g., address an envelope, write a check, make a grocery list)

 
LI.W1  Write short paragraphs on familiar topics
(e.g., family or neighborhood)

LI.W2  Apply capitalization and punctuation rules
(e.g., comma in series, apostrophe)

LI.W3  Complete authentic forms
(e.g., change of address, job application, library card application)

LI.W4  Write simple directions to a familiar location
(e.g., to one’s house, to a local store)

LI.W5  Write short notes
(e.g., to a teacher or employer explaining an absence, to a landlord requesting a repair)

 
HI.W1  Combine simple sentences using connectors/ conjunctions
(e.g., and, or, but)

HI.W2  Write paragraphs with main idea, supporting details, and conclusion
(e.g., writing an autobiography, writing an accident report)

HI.W3  Write simple step-by-step instructions
(e.g., a recipe, how to do something)

HI.W4  Write a simple letter
(e.g., a request, complaint, or cover letter)

HI.W5  Prepare a simple resume using a model

 
AE.W1  Add detail to simple sentences
(e.g., by adding words, clauses, and phrases)

AE.W2  Use transitions
(e.g., however, next, in addition) within and between paragraphs

AE.W3  Write multi-paragraph essays demonstrating clear use of paragraphs to introduce, support, and conclude

AE.W4  Write multi-paragraph comparison/contrast, cause/effect, description, and narration essays

AE.W5  Prepare a resume

AE.W6  Write work-related memos and e-mails

AE.W7  Write formal letters
(e.g., a cover letter, letter to a utility, letter to a congressperson)

AE.W8  Organize key details in a variety of contexts
(e.g., by note taking, listing, or outlining)

 

Examples may include, but are not limited to, those listed.
* Students may need to develop visual discrimination skills and fine motor skills (i.e., trace letters and numbers following guide arrows) at this level.
  See Appendix C.
 
Appendix ABack to top

Glossary of Terms

Used in the Illinois ESL Content Standards

 

Authentic materials– instructional materials taken from the real world. They may include newspapers, class schedules, maps, articles of clothing, tools, food items, and recordings of radio or television broadcasts. Authentic materials are in contrast with materials that are created specifically for the purpose of teaching. Authentic materials may also be referred to as realia.
Cardinal numbers– the numbers which are used in counting (1, 2, 3, etc.). They can answer the question “How many…?” Everyday uses of cardinal numbers include ages, prices, and phone numbers. Contrast with ordinal numbers (below).
Clause– a group of two or more words that includes a subject and a verb. A clause may be independent, i.e., a complete sentence, for example, I speak English; or dependent, i.e., not a complete sentence, for example, When I came to the U.S.
Contextual clues– clues to meaning which can be found in the environment (context) of an unfamiliar word. For example, in the sentence We were exhausted because we hadn’t slept for 36 hours, learners can guess that exhausted means “very tired” because of their life experience. Similarly, given the situation The Smiths don’t have much money. They can’t afford a car right now, learners may be able to guess that afford is related to buying something.
Idioms– phrases of two or more words whose meanings cannot be arrived at from the literal meaning of the individual words. For example, the idiom brush up on, which means “review,” has nothing to do with the use of a brush, and the idiom quite a few means “many,” which is the opposite of “few.” There are thousands of idioms in English and they are often problematic for ESL students.
Inference– a logical conclusion arrived at via information which is known. For example, if students have the information Joan visited the school to discuss her daughter’s grade in chemistry, they can infer that Joan’s daughter is in high school, not elementary school, because chemistry is normally not offered in grade school. Likewise, if they see a home address, 311 East Elm, #8B, they can conclude that the residence is an apartment, not a house, because 8B seems to indicate a floor and unit number.
Ordinal numbers– numbers which show the order or rank of things (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). Everyday uses of ordinal numbers include dates (September 10th), years in school (the 4th grade) and stories in a building (the 5th floor). Ordinal numbers may be written as numerals or words (e.g., 1st or first).
Reductions– shortened or linked forms commonly found in natural or rapid speech. For example, coffee and tea may become coffee-n-tea, she has may become she-as, and What did you may become Wuh-juh.
Reductions– shortened or linked forms commonly found in natural or rapid speech. For example, coffee and tea may become coffee-n-tea, she has may become she-as, and What did you may become Wuh-juh.
Respond to– indicate understanding of oral or written language by following instructions, speaking, pointing, circling, nodding, writing, etc. For example, a learner might respond to the oral question How many children do you have? by saying “Two,” by writing the number 2, or by holding up two fingers.
Simple sentence– a sentence that contains a subject and a verb and perhaps other words but does not contain one or more connectors which make it compound or complex. Simple sentence: I have a job. Contrast with a compound sentence, I have a job and I like it, and a complex sentence, Although I have a job, I don’t make enough money.
Small talk– a question that begins with a question word (who, whose, what, which, where, when, why, how) and that requires more than a simple yes or no answer. A wh-question is sometimes also referred to as an information question because its answer provides additional, new information.
Word analysis– the examination of word parts (prefixes, suffixes, and roots) in order to understand the meaning of unfamiliar words. For example, if learners know that impossible means “not possible,” they can conclude that impractical means “not practical.” Similarly, if they know the word neighbor, they can guess at the meaning of neighborhood.
Yes/no question – a question that begins with a form of the verb be or an auxiliary verb and can be answered with yes or no. Were you, Will they, and Does he are examples of ways in which yes/no questions can begin.
 
Appendix BBack to top

Supporting Grammar

Grammar structures should not be taught in isolation but rather should support the Illinois ESL Content Standards. For example, when teaching LI.L3, “Follow simple oral directions and instructions”, it would be appropriate to focus on the imperative verb form.
X = Taught and practiced in these levels;
reviewed and applied in subsequent levels.
 
  Levels
  BL BE LI HI AE
NOUNS
Singular/plural (egg, eggs; child, children) X X      
Count/non-count (I like orange juice. I like cookies.)   X X    
Possessive ‘s (Anna’s pencil.)   X X    
PRONOUNS
Subject (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) X X      
Demonstrative (this, that, these, those) X X X    
Object (me, you, him, her, us, them)   X X    
Possessive (mine, yours, his, hers, ours, theirs)   X X    
Indefinite (e.g., anything, no one, everybody)     X X X
Reflexive (myself, yourself, herself, himself, ourselves, themselves)       X X
BE
Be + adjective or noun (She is smart. She is a doctor.) X X      
Contractions (I’m, he’s, etc.) X X      
Present tense (am, is, are)   X X    
Past tense (was, were)   X X X  
SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT (e.g., I like, you like, he/she likes) X X X    
VERBS
Imperative (Look out! Stop! No smoking.) X X X    
Simple present, present continuous   X X    
Simple past, future (going to, will)   X X X  
Past continuous       X X
Present perfect       X X
Present perfect continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous, future continuous         X
Future perfect , future perfect continuous         X
ADJECTIVES
Adjective + noun (red dress) X X      
Demonstrative (this book) X X      
Possessive (my, your, his, her, our, their) X X X    
Indefinite (any, many, much, some, a lot of)   X X    
PREPOSITIONS
Of place (in, on, under, at, on top of) X X X X  
Of time (at, from, by, on, in)   X X    
QUESTIONS
Yes/no questions (Do you have a job?) X X      
“Wh- questions” (who, what, where, when, how much, how many, why, how, which, whose) X X X X  
Embedded questions (Do you know where he is? Do you know if he is here?)         X
CONJUNCTIONS
And, or (cookies and milk, a dime or two nickels) X X      
Both … and (both Maria and Anna)     X X  
Either … or ( either Maria or Anna)       X X
Coordinating Conjunctions: and, or, but, so (I wanted to go to the movies, but I had to work.) X X X    
ARTICLES (a, an, the) X X X    
ADVERBS
Of frequency (always, sometimes, never)   X X    
Of place (here, there) X X      
Of time (today, tonight, tomorrow, etc.) X X      
Intensifiers (very, too, enough, so)     X X X
Of manner (easily)     X X  
Of time (already/yet, for/since, ago)       X X
IMPERSONAL SUBJECTS
It (It’s raining today.) X X X    
There is, there are (There’s a car in the garage. There are two trees in back.) X X X    
MODAL VERBS
Can: ability (I can speak English.) X X      
Can/May/Could: permission (Can/may/could I smoke?)   X X    
Have to, must: obligation (I have to leave now. You must stop that.)   X X    
Could: past ability (I could lift 30 pounds last year.)     X X  
Could/might/may: possibility (There could/might/may be a problem.)     X X  
Should/ought to: advice (You should/ought to get a job.)     X X  
Will/would/can/could: : polite requests (Will/would/can/could you open the door?)     X X  
Be able to (I’m not able to come.)       X X
Be supposed to: obligation (You’re supposed to sign in.)       X X
Perfect modals: should have, would have, could have (You should have signed in.)         X
Would rather: preference (I’d rather not say.)         X
Must: inference (It must be 5 o’clock already.)         X
 
Adapted from: Mainstream English Language Training Project (MELT) Resource Package, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, 1985.
 
Appendix CBack to top

ESL Literacy Skills

Adult English language learners who have limited education in their first language or whose first language is a non-Roman-alphabet language may need class time devoted to the development of ESL literacy skills. The chart below addresses some of the special needs of students at the Beginning ESL Literacy level.
CONCEPTS
CONTENT AREAS
LITERACY SKILLS
CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
Directionality: left to right/top to bottom

Same/different

Spacing

Numeration

Alphabet: upper and lower case

Print is meaningful

 
Personal information

Emergencies

Telephone

Money

Health

Transportation

Food

Clothing

Weather

Time

Calendar

 
Recognize letters and numbers

(visual discrimination)

Write letters and numbers
(fine motor control)

Say letters and numbers
(connect oral language with print)

Recognize sight words

Recognize initial consonant sounds
(sound-letter correspondence)

 
Circle responses

Tracing

Copying

Matching

Flash cards for sight words

Number and letter dictation

Word and sentence dictation

Strip sentences and strip stories

Cloze

 

Adapted from An ESL Literacy Resource Guide by Jeffrey Bright et. al.
Illinois ESL Adult Education Service Center, November 1982.
 
Appendix DBack to top

Culture Across the ESL Curriculum

Language is inextricably interwoven with culture – the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs which are characteristic of a group of people. Much of culture is so ingrained in us that we are scarcely aware of the extent to which it influences us. In the ESL classroom, recognizing and making cultural expectations explicit will facilitate both acculturation and language acquisition.
Considering the wide variety of ethnic groups represented by ESL students in Illinois, it is difficult to predict which specific aspects of culture might be of particular significance in any given classroom. The table below lists some common areas of cultural differences and suggests activities to integrate them into the teaching-learning process. In general, teachers should be alert to the potential for culture to be a source of divergent behavior, confusion, or misunderstanding. Of course, they should be equally aware of the very positive effects of cultural diversity in their programs and communities.

Cultural Variables and American Expectations
Possible Classroom Activities
first - last order of names

month, day, year order of dates

classroom pair work

waving and shaking hands

common gestures, such as “come,” “be quiet,” “listen,” etc.

punctuality

weights and measurements in the English system; temperatures in Fahrenheit

standing in line

placement of dollar and cents signs; commas and decimal points in prices and numbers

avoidance of sensitive topics, such as age, marital status, and money

forms of humor

awareness of personal space requirements

eye contact and posture, awareness of signals that something is ending

ethnic stereotypes

American values, such as materialism, hard work, and independence

Roman numerals

 
fill out forms, write signatures

fill out forms, date documents

practice dialogues with partners; engage in peer interviews

role play greetings and leavetakings

watch and respond to gestures

model in describing daily activities and schedules

convert body weights and heights from metric system to pounds and feet using a table; label Fahrenheit temperatures cool, cold, warm, and hot

role play situations at bank, bus stop, stores, etc.

write dictated dollar amounts; insert decimals and commas in numbers and prices

practice/compose dialogues between neighbors and co-workers

put sentence strips in order to create jokes; memorize and tell jokes

experiment with physical proximity to find comfort zones in conversation; discuss variations among classmates

role play job interviews with focus on appropriate body language

elicit specific stereotypes with which class is familiar and discuss their influence

read and discuss passages which highlight cultural differences in values and attitudes; follow up with written assignment

outline reading passages, compositions, or oral presentations

 
 
Appendix EBack to top

ESL Materials Selection: Core Textbook Series

A good core textbook series--one which integrates the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing--enhances and facilitates language teaching and learning. Ideally, the textbook review and decision-making process will be inclusive, involving both program coordinators and teachers. Students may also be included through needs assessment and/or classroom piloting of materials.
Because there are many series available, narrowing down the field is usually the first step. Three areas should be considered at the outset:


Coverage of the Illinois ESL Content Standards:  Most integrated-skills core textbooks designed for use by adult immigrants in the U.S. will address the Content Standards. Series labeled by their publishers as “standards-based” typically merit a careful examination. Caution: Beware of core textbook series designed primarily for younger ESL students (high school or university) and those designed for overseas audiences (typically businesspeople studying EFL abroad) as these materials are usually inappropriate with regard to content.
The ancillary components:  In addition to a student book and teacher’s manual, a series may include any of the following:
Examining these components and deciding which, if any, to invest in should be part of the selection process.
Cost to the program:  Many programs must factor cost into their decisions, and changes in textbooks cannot be undertaken lightly or often. A suggested practice is to pilot test a new core series with only a few classes to see how the teachers and students respond to it before purchasing materials for an entire program.
Once the three areas above have been used to identify one or more likely candidates for a core series, the materials should be evaluated employing the criteria on the following page. A good series will elicit responses of “yes, consistently” in each of the ten categories.
 
Ten Criteria for Selecting a Core Text for ESL

  Yes,
consistently
No,
not at all
1. Natural Language
Would native speakers sound like this?
1 2 3 4 5
2. Adult Content
Do the topics/issues reflect the lives and language needs of adult immigrants?
1 2 3 4 5
3. Receptive before Productive Activities
Do listening activities precede speaking activities?
Reading before writing?
1 2 3 4 5
4. Controlled to Free Activities
Are activities structured from controlled (only one correct answer possible) to free (many possible answers)?
1 2 3 4 5
5. Opportunities to Manipulate Items to make Them One’s Own
Do learners have the opportunity to use the language to talk about themselves and their experiences?
1 2 3 4 5
6. Real-life Applications
Are the materials tied to real-life whenever possible?
Is there a strong emphasis on using the target language outside of the classroom?
1 2 3 4 5
7. Multiple Exposure for Items Learned
Is there adequate practice provided?
Is material recycled/reviewed?
1 2 3 4 5
8. Balanced and Realistic Skill Integration
Are all four skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) practiced in each lesson?
Are the skills used in realistic ways?
1 2 3 4 5
9. Clear/Uncluttered Layout
Are the pages easy to read, or are they crowded or too busy?
1 2 3 4 5
10. Clear Directions
Is it clear from the written instructions what the teacher and learners are expected to do with the material on each page?
1 2 3 4 5

Developed by Catherine Porter and Elliot Judd for the TESOL Academy held at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 6/01
 
Appendix FBack to top

Sample Lesson Plans

How can the Illinois ESL Content Standards be incorporated into the adult ESL classroom? Appendix E addresses the importance of selecting a core textbook series that incorporates the Content Standards and facilitates language teaching and learning. In addition to using an appropriate textbook, many teachers often design their own lesson plans based on the specific needs of their program or a particular group of students. Teacher-made lesson plans may expand on a textbook lesson or be developed independently to supplement or substitute for commercially-prepared materials. Teacher-made lessons generally incorporate one or more Content Standards.
On the following pages, a reproducible lesson plan template features the traditional ESL lesson phases of Presentation, Practice, Application, Assessment, and Review. A number of lesson plans for different language levels and skill areas is also included to serve as models for teachers wishing to develop their own lessons.
The following teachers participated in the field test of the draft Illinois ESL Content Standards and developed the lessons included in this appendix. Many thanks for their contribution!
 
LESSON PLAN TEMPLATE

Teacher: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Date: _______________________________________________________
ESL Content Standard(s): ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Lesson Outcome: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(That is, what is the student able to do with language as a result of this lesson?)

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
 
 
PRACTICE
 
 
 
APPLICATION
 
 
 
ASSESSMENT
 
 
 
REVIEW
 
 
 
 
LESSON PLAN: FOLLOWING CLASSROOM INSTRUCTIONS

ESL Content Standard(s):  BL.L6 Follow simple oral classroom instructions
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to follow these simple oral instructions: Stand up, Sit down, Open your book, Write your name

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
The students listen as the teacher demonstrates each of these actions several times while saying the command:
  • Stand up.
  • Sit down.
  • Open your book.
  • Write your name.
Chairs, books, pencils, paper
PRACTICE
 
Teacher-led Total Physical Response (TPR) activity:
The teacher gives each oral instruction and the students demonstrate each action. First, the whole class responds, and then individual students respond.
Student-led TPR activity:
The students take turns giving the oral instructions to the whole class. Then the students work in pairs, giving and responding to the commands.
Chairs, books, pencils, paper
APPLICATION
 
Charades: The students take turns performing the actions for the whole class while the others name the command that is being demonstrated.
Chairs, books, pencils, paper
ASSESSMENT
 
Comprehension of the commands is checked through use of color-coded yes / no cards. The teacher performs an action while saying a command. If the command and action match, the students hold up “yes” cards. If not, they hold up “no” cards.
Color-coded yes / no cards(for example, “yes” cards may be pink, and “no” cards blue)
REVIEW
 
At the next session, the teacher leads the class in a brief review of the instructions, followed by a “Simon Says” game using the commands.

Example:
“Open your books.” (The students do not open books.)
“Simon says open your books.”(The students open books.)
The students then take turns leading the review activity.
Chairs, books, pencils, paper
 
LESSON PLAN: READING FABRIC CARE LABELS

ESL Content Standard(s):BL.L7 Demonstrate understanding of basic life skills vocabulary
BL.S8 Ask and respond to simple questions using basic life skills vocabulary.
BL.R8 Interpret simple symbols
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to read and interpret fabric care symbols on clothing.

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
The teacher holds up a garment and points to the care label. She asks the students, “What is this?” She acknowledges or provides the word “label,” says it several times, writes it on the board, and has the students repeat it several times
Pointing to the labels on several articles of clothing, the teacher elicits the word “label” again.
The teacher shows pictures of a washing machine and dryer and elicits or provides the names. She then points to jugs of laundry detergent and chlorine bleach, a box of non-chlorine bleach, and an iron, and asks students to identify them as well.
The teacher writes the words on the board, points to them, and has the students repeat the words in order and then at random.
A variety of articles of clothing, preferably one per student (clothing items must have fabric care labels with symbols, not just words)
Photos of a washing machine and a dryer
Realia: detergent and bleach containers, an iron
Blackboard or flip chart
PRACTICE
 
Using handouts with fabric care symbols, the class reads them together. The teacher then shows the students fabric care symbol cards at random and has them provide the words. She then shows the word cards and has the students read the words.
Fabric care handouts
Fabric care symbol cards and corresponding word cards
Note: Fabric care symbols can be found on the Internet at www.cleaning101.com
APPLICATION
 
The students work in pairs. Each pair has an article of clothing and a chart to complete. When all the pairs have filled in the information for their first article of clothing, they pass the garment to the pair on the right so that each pair now has a new article of clothing. The class continues to work until they have completed at least three articles of clothing.
Chart (attached)

Articles of clothing
ASSESSMENT
 
The students match fabric care symbols and words on a handout.
Matching exercise handout
REVIEW
 
At the next class session, the teacher distributes either a symbol card or a word card to each student. The students circulate and find their matching cards. Each pair then tapes their cards to the board. The rest of the class decides if the matched cards are correct.
Fabric care symbol cards and corresponding word cards
Tape
 

Handout

Fabric Care Labels

Article of Clothing Color Care Symbol Words
shirt blue

wash
permanent press
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
LESSON PLAN: MAKING AN EMERGENCY CALL

ESL Content Standard(s):LI.L2 Respond to short phone conversations related to immediate needs
LI.S3 Participate in short phone conversations related to immediate needs
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to make telephone calls to report an emergency.

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
Using pictures, the teacher introduces the vocabulary in the dialogue (e.g., natural gas, hot water heater, gas leak, odor).
The teacher models the dialogue.
Vocabulary pictures (attached)
Handout of dialogue about reporting a smell of natural gas in the basement (attached)
PRACTICE
 
Using the dialogue handout, the whole class reads the dialogue aloud after the teacher. Then half the class reads the part of the operator while the other half is Reema. They then switch roles.
The students then practice the dialogue in pairs, substituting their own names and addresses in the dialogue.
 
APPLICATION
 
Each pair of students is given an “Emergency Card” that presents an emergency situation. The students work together to write a dialogue for that situation. They practice and then present their dialogues to the class.
Index cards with different emergency situations written on them(e.g., fire, burglary)
ASSESSMENT
 
The teacher circulates and monitors the students as they develop their dialogues, helping as needed.
When the pairs present their dialogues to the class, the teacher notes recurring problems in the areas of vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar for use in future lessons.
 
REVIEW
 
The teacher brings several copies of the local newspaper and asks the students to work in groups to find articles about emergency situations. The class discusses the articles and reviews emergency vocabulary.
 
Tape
 


From Community Connections: Education for Involved Communities, p. 66
© Adult Learning Resource Center, 2003
 

Dialogue Handout

A Gas Leak

Reema Patel smells natural gas around the water heater in her basement. She calls the emergency number for the gas company.
Operator: Hello. Gas Company emergency service.
Reema: Hello. I need help. I smell gas near my hot water heater
Operator You might have a gas leak. We will send someone out to check it. What’s your address?
Reema: I’m at 5683 Golf Road.
Operator Please give me your name.
Reema: Reema Patel. Should I do anything now?
Operator Yes. Open all of your windows. If the odor is strong, you should leave the house.
Reema: OK. I’ll do that. When will somebody be here?
Operator Within an hour..
Reema: Thank you. Goodbye.

From Community Connections: Education for Involved Communities, p. 94
© Adult Learning Resource Center, 2003
 
LESSON PLAN: WRITING ABOUT WEEKLY ACTIVITIES

ESL Content Standard(s):LI.W1 Write short paragraphs on familiar topics (e.g., family or neighborhood)
LI.W2 Apply capitalization and punctuation rules (e.g., commas in series, apostrophe)
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to write three paragraphs describing the activities of their families during a typical week.

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
The teacher asks the students to talk about their weekly activities and those of their families.
The teacher shows a transparency with three column headings:
1) What do you do during the week?
2) What do your friends or family do during the week?
3) What do you do together?
The teacher provides a model by writing sentences about herself and her family in the appropriate columns.
Transparency: “What do you do during the week?” with three completed columns (attached)
PRACTICE
 
The teacher gives the students a handout duplicating the transparency and asks them to write four or five sentences in each of the three columns. She writes items for special attention on the board:
  • capital letters and periods
  • subject and verb in each sentence
  • spelling
After the students have written their sentences, the teacher has them trade papers with partners. On the board, the teacher writes several sentences with errors in the categories above and asks the students to identify the errors on the board and then circle them. The teacher asks the students to do the same on their partners’ papers. She reminds them to circle, not correct, the errors and return them to their partners. The partners discuss their mistakes and make corrections on their own papers.
The teacher collects the papers and returns them with any corrections that are appropriate. She discusses common errors with the class. (e.g., My son and I on Saturday go to the park.)
Handout: “What do you do during the week?” with three empty columns (attached)
APPLICATION
 
The teacher shows the students a transparency with sentences arranged in three paragraphs. She points out, writes on the board, and discusses indentation, capital letters and periods, subjects and verbs, and spelling.
The teacher asks the students to write three paragraphs using the information they recorded on the “What do you do during the week?” handout. She reminds them to pay special attention to the items on the board:
  • indentation
  • capital letters and periods
  • subject and verb in each sentence
  • spelling
Transparency of sample paragraphs on lined paper (attached)
ASSESSMENT
 
The teacher collects the papers and circles errors, attending to the following points:
  • Paragraphs are indented.
  • Each sentence begins with a capital letter.
  • Each sentence ends with a period.
  • Each sentence has a subject and a verb.
  • Spelling is correct.
The teacher asks the students to rewrite their papers, correcting any errors.
 
REVIEW
 
The students sit in small groups and read their papers to each other.
 
 

Transparency

What do you do during the week? What does your family do during the week? What do you do together?
  • I work from 9:30 to 2:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • After work I go shopping.
  • I make dinner.
  • Sometimes I watch TV.
  • I clean the house and do laundry on weekends.
  • I have 3 daughters.
  • Two daughters live at home.
  • They go to school.
  • They work part time.
  • My husband works at home.
  • My daughters go out with their boyfriends on the weekends.
  • We eat dinner together during the week.
  • We don’t eat together on the weekends.
  • We go to church on Sunday.
  • We eat breakfast together on Sunday.
 
 

Handout

What do you do during the week? What does your family do during the week? What do you do together?
 
 
 
 

Transparency

Our Busy Week
 
Everybody in my family is busy during the week. I work from 9:30 to 2:00 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
I work from 9:15 to 11:45 on Wednesday. After work I go shopping. Then I make dinner. I plan English lessons in the evening.
Sometimes I watch TV.
I have three daughters. One daughter is married and lives in Chicago. My other daughters live at home. They go to school
and work part time. My husband works at home in his office. He uses the computer a lot.
My husband, my daughters, and I eat dinner together during the week. We don’t eat dinner together on the weekends
because my daughters go out with their boyfriends. We eat breakfast together on Sunday, and we go to church.
 
LESSON PLAN: RESPONDING TO GOOD & BAD NEWS

ESL Content Standard(s):HI.L5 Respond appropriately to small talk in everyday situations. (e.g., How’s it going? Thank God it’s Friday.)
HI.S2 Participate in social conversations (e.g., discussing vacation plans, making small talk at work)
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to respond appropriately to small talk related to reporting bad news or good news.

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
The teacher writes “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” on the board and begins the class by having the students report how they typically respond to these questions.
Then she distributes slips of paper, each with a brief response, such as “great,” “super,” “awful,” “so-so.” The students write the responses on the board under the appropriate heading: “Very Good,” “OK,” or “Bad.” The class goes over the lists to see if everyone agrees with the answers.
Next, the teacher puts sample dialogues on the board:
  • A: Hi. How are you?
  • B: Not too good.
  • A: What’s the matter?
  • B: My child is sick. He vomited all day yesterday.
  • A: I’m sorry to hear that.


  • A: Hi. How are you doing?
  • B: Terrific. I just got a new job.
  • A: Congratulations. That’s wonderful.
The teacher models and discusses the dialogues. She gives the students a handout with expressions for responding to good news and bad news. They practice them as a class.
Handout with 15-20 brief responses, including some from each category: “Very Good,” “OK,” and “Bad”



Blackboard or flip chart and marker
Handout with responses to good news and bad news, including five to seven expressions for each type of news (attached)
PRACTICE
 
The teacher gives each student one or more situation strips. They read and practice them with partners. The partners use appropriate good news / bad news responses. The teacher encourages the students to role play, rather than merely read from their strips.
Situation strips with good and bad news (attached)
APPLICATION
 
The teacher gives each student one situation strip and asks the students to walk around the room, finding and changing partners until they have talked to a half dozen or so classmates. In each encounter, they role play two short conversations, giving and responding to good or bad news. After each exchange, students trade strips and find new partners.
Additional situation strips
ASSESSMENT
 
The teacher listens as the students interact with each other, noting any problems with word choice, grammar, or pronunciation for later attention.
 
REVIEW
 
The teacher reviews any problem areas with the class. Regular ongoing review can take the form of encouraging students to share any good or bad news in their lives with their classmates at each class session.
 
 

Handout

RESPONDING TO BAD NEWS
RESPONDING TO GOOD NEWS
 

Situation Strips

My husband is having surgery on Monday. I’m going to the dentist because I have a toothache.
My landlord is going to raise the rent. I’m going home because I have a bad headache.
My mother just got a visa and she’s going to visit me next month. My sister just had a baby.
My car broke down on the way to school today. My son is sick. He vomited this morning.
I just bought a new car. I just got 100% on my English test.
I’m really tired. I had insomnia last night. My doctor just told me that my cholesterol is high.
 
LESSON PLAN: GIVING A PAPER BAG SPEECH

ESL Content Standard(s):AE.S5 Present short speeches or oral reports
Lesson Outcome:  Students will be able to give short, informal speeches about themselves.

LESSON PHASE STRATEGIES MATERIALS
PRESENTATION
 
The teacher models an informal “paper bag speech” in which she shows and describes five or six items that represent her and her interests.
The class discusses what makes a good presentation. The teacher demonstrates some desirable features of presentations (appropriate eye contact, appropriate rate of speech) and some undesirable features (fidgeting, very rapid delivery).
The teacher hands out an evaluation rubric and discusses it with the class.
Paper bag containing five or six objects that represent the teacher, her interests, her experiences, or things that are important to her (e.g., photos, souvenirs, or documents)
Oral presentation evaluation rubric (attached)
PRACTICE
 
Working in pairs, the students identify the five or six items they will bring to the next class session for their paper bag speeches. They discuss the items and why they have chosen them. With their partners, the students practice sentences they will use in their presentations. The partners ask questions and comment on any vocabulary or grammar errors they notice.
 
APPLICATION
 
At the next class session, each student gives a two- to three-minute speech in front of the class.
Paper bag and five to six items brought from home by each student
ASSESSMENT
 
The teacher fills out an evaluation rubric for each student.
In addition, classmates give feedback to each speaker using a sentence completion format:
  • “What I liked best was ….”
  • “One question I have is ….”
Oral presentation evaluation rubric (attached)
REVIEW
 
The teacher reviews presentation strategies with the class before giving the next speech assignment.
 
 

ORAL PRESENTATION EVALUATION RUBRIC

Student: __________________________________ Teacher: __________________________________
Date: __________________________________ Topic: Pager Bag Speech
 
  poor       excellent
length 1 2 3 4 5
eye contact 1 2 3 4 5
body language 1 2 3 4 5
organization 1 2 3 4 5
rate of speech 1 2 3 4 5
pronunciation 1 2 3 4 5
vocabulary 1 2 3 4 5
grammar 1 2 3 4 5
 
Comment:  
 
Appendix G

TESOL Standards for Adult Education ESL ProgramsBack to top

The standards on this and the next two pages are from *Standards for Adult Education ESL Programs. This document defines the components of a quality adult education ESL program in nine areas:
These standards were developed by a diverse group of adult education ESL teachers, administrators, and researchers from across the United States. Reprinted here are two sections that served as the guiding principles in the design of the Illinois ESL Content Standards: Standards for Curriculum and Instructional Materials and Standards for Instruction.
 
Standards for Curriculum and Instructional Materials
 
* From Standards for Adult Education ESL Programs. Copyright © 2003 by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL). Reproduced with permission of TESOL in the format Other Book via the Copyright Clearance Center.
 
Standards for InstructionBack to top