About the collection

Advisory group members

Thanks to our advisory group members who represented community and school board programs in urban and rural settings, working with learners  with varying abilities and different goals.

Helen Benn, Training & Learning Centre of Renfrew County

Sue Damon, The Literacy Group

Karen Hilderman, People, Words & Change

Gabrianna Jolie, Toronto Catholic District School Board

Ann Marie Leeder, Training & Learning Centre of Renfrew County

Karin Meinzer, PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs

Georgina Smith, Ottawa Catholic School Board

Special thanks to Kathleen Innes, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, for sharing her expertise on modifying open source materials to make them more accessible. Thanks also to Susan Korstanje, an instructor at the Thunder Bay Literacy Group (TBLG), and her terrific collection of math resources that she curated on the site Math at TBLG. We included a few resources from her collection in ours.

A little more about the project

Access to instructional resources and quality content has changed in a digital world. In the past decade or so, the amount of free, open-source instructional resources and learning content has increased substantially. Traditional educational publishers are now only one of many players involved in producing instructional content

Open educational resources (OER) aim to address inequalities and ensure all students have equitable access to quality instructional resources and learning content. "The broad copyright permissions granted through openly-licensed resources allow users to freely download, change, combine with other resources, and share in ways that are not possible with proprietary resources."  

While OER opens up opportunities for educators, particularly those in literacy and foundational learning programs that are often underfunded, new challenges arise. It's very time-consuming to find resources and build a personal collection. In addition, educators need to assess the quality of the resources. Do they follow sound pedagogical principles related to adult learning and literacy development? That is why AlphaPlus initiated this project. Working with a group of Ontario adult literacy educators and drawing on our technology, research, library, literacy and adult education expertise, we have done the searching, curating and organizing work on our end to support educators. 

Filling a resource gap for Ontario adult educators

The open educational resources library complements other collections developed in Ontario, namely the comprehensive Literacy Resources and Discussion ForumTask Based Activities for LBS  supporting the completion of Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) milestone and culminating assessments and the Digital Literacy Library. Our collection is unique for the following reasons: 

Our criteria to ensure openness and quality instructional content

Our working group developed some rigorous criteria to guide curation decisions. Then, over 100 collections and listings were searched but only select resources were included in our collection. Instructional resources had to be free, modifiable, reproducible, ready-to-use and include teaching tips and guidance.

In addition, we also considered the content, which had to 

Sometimes, to access great content, we had to loosen our OER criteria and have included resources that were developed for instruction but are also copyrighted.

We'd love to hear what you think! Complete our feedback form or get in touch.

Allowable uses

Copyright or Creative Commons licensing information is provided for each resource. Every effort to provide accurate licensing and copyright information at the time of initial publishing of our site and its various pages has been made. 


All of the resources that we feature are free and were created for educational use. We also indicate when sites provide the means to share, download and print files. All but two resources can be reproduced for learners in their entirety. The two exceptions are novels and short stories with a current copyright on ESL Bits and the Now Comment Literature Collection, sites from the US. When educators use US sites from Canada, they Canadian copyright laws apply. The US Fair Use and Canadian Fair Dealing Guidelines are distinct. In general, Canadian guidelines are more explicit, limiting allowable uses and reproduction to portions of copyrighted materials. US guidelines are a "balancing act," providing more flexibility and interpretation to non-profits and education institutions. 

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) licensing, introduced 20 years ago, is an alternative to traditional copyright. Six different licenses describe various allowable uses of a developer's content. License holders choose their options based on three decisions: 

Attribution is applied on all CC licenses (BY = attribution). And the use of any CC license implies that the content can be shared and reproduced in its entirety.

We have colour coded copyright and Creative Commons (CC) licensing information for each resource. 

For copyrighted materials, follow Fair Dealing Guidelines for content not specifically developed for instruction and content that must be purchased.A teacher can copy or post only one chapter per book in a single schoolyear or semester under the Fair Dealing Guidelines.” Permission to use more than one chapter must be obtained from the publisher. Consumable workbooks CAN'T be copied or digitized.

Shareable materials are developed for educational use and can be reproduced in their entirety. Some content can only be shared with a link. Many sites also provide the means for you to download, sync to an LMS or print. Look for icons and PDFs.

All Creative Commons (CC) licenses permit sharing and reproduction of entire works. But you can’t modify content when no derivatives (ND) is applied: CC BY-NC-ND and CC BY-ND.  

Modifiable materials will have a CC license or are in the public domain. If you don’t see ND on a CC licence, you can modify the content but there might be conditions.

NC = no commercial use

SA = share alike means you must apply the same CC licence on your modified materials. These licenses are CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC and CC BY-NC-SA.

All creative commons licenses require attribution (BY).

About AlphaPlus

AlphaPlus is Ontario’s only organization focused on helping adult literacy education professionals to incorporate digital technology. We believe that through the use of digital technology in our sector, we can build capacity, create equity and access to learning, and enhance learning experiences. We work as a leader and guide, sharing knowledge and directly helping literacy educators and administrators to integrate technology in innovative ways that increase effectiveness and reach.

Learn more about AlphaPlus: visit alphaplus.ca