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alphabet-379221_640So, @TESOL15 today in Toronto.

My local public librarian is emailing me, asking for support to find books for a new initiative that our district’s after-school program is putting together: Parent University. It’s literacy support for New Americans. Most of the parents are Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education, or SLIFE. New term. Old concept. But really a hot topic right now in the world of TESOL.

The librarian wants to find out what publishers could accommodate low level ELL parents. She wants kindergarten-level readers with grown-up themes.

Easy, right? There’s lots of possible topics.

Think about all the things you face when you come to a new community:

  • getting a job,
  • sending kids to school,
  • renting an apartment,
  • dealing with police,
  • buying stuff that is too expensive,
  • not understanding other people
  • going out to have fun
  • noisy neighbors

Gosh. The list could go on and on. Could you say this in simple sentences with one sentence per page? That’s really what a Level D text looks like in Fountas and Pinnell, the leveling system Burlington School District uses for elementary texts.

But, sadly, there’s not much to be had, according to the publishers. One saleswoman actually told me I really needed to be attending a special ed conference to find that. 😦  Small percentage of the population. Specialized.

But it’s really not so small or specialized anymore. Most of the parents we’ve been interviewing this year have little to no formal education. That qualifies them as SLIFE. There are entire sessions devoted to teaching content to SLIFErs. Just look at the research.

Here are the resources I sent to my local librarian. If you have more, please please please let me know:


http://www.ergo-on.ca/ (has printable readers and lesson plans)








http://www.grassrootsbooks.net/catalogue2011.pdf (grassroots easy readers)

The woman who told me I should be attending special ed conferences also told me I could create a list from National Geographic offerings, but there were none already ready. I kind of doubt that.

Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

Anybody want to start a publishing venture with me?


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