Level 1

Develop your own texts for reading and writing from shared experience

The Language Experience Approach (LEA) is a fundamental method for supporting reading and overall literacy development with beginning learners. Although originally developed in the context of early childhood reading, the approach readily works for teens and adults. A shared experience (i.e. something done together or shared from memory) becomes the focus for reading and a variety of support activities such as vocabulary, phonics and grammar. The video explains and demonstrates LEA in the context of an academic preparation program with teenagers who are also learning English to enter secondary school. Writing can be integrated with LEA using the content of the LEA text, plus scaffolding with paragraph frames and sentence starters (see below).

Scaffolding beginning written expression

The following three resources, produced by academics, provide an overview of the use of paragraph frames, sentence starters and other scaffolding tools for beginning writers. Ready to use templates and texts are included in each resource.

Writing with Scaffolds: Using Paragraph Frames.docx

Use paragraph frames with language experience texts

The document contains an overview of paragraph frames with ready-to-use examples and templates.

Unpublished conference paper. No copyright information provided.


More on paragraph frames and sentence starters

The slide presentation contains additional information of paragraph frames and sentence starters for beginning writers.

Unpublished conference paper. No copyright information provided.


Several scaffolding tools and example texts

This document contains example texts and scaffolding tools such as paragraph frames, rubrics, think sheets and sentence starters.

Unpublished conference paper. No copyright information provided.

Make Beliefs Comics

Make Beliefs Comics is filled with templates, prompts and ideas using comics as a way to stimulate writing and expression. The most useful section is likely the printables. Explore the numerous topics that could work with adult learners. "Our printables encourage writing and thinking in a quick and fun way. A student's efforts to complete a printable can then become the first step in writing longer essays, poems or stories on the same subject." (Caution, the site is very busy and repeats categories in the menu items.)

Note: In the printable section, if you click "print page" the ads that appear on your screen will be printed. To capture the printable alone, right click on the image (a .gif file) and "save image as...". This will allow you to save and print the image without the ads.  

Copyrighted. Developed for sharing and printing.


Practise handwriting

This student workbook from Ireland's National Adult Literacy Agency  can be used by learners to improve handwriting. The focus is on printing neatly, not on cursive writing.

If you're curious about the value of handwriting in a digital society, a post from Decoda Literacy in British Columbia explores the topic.

Copyrighted. PDFs and download icons provided.

Cursive Writing The Basic Fundamental Final Draft June 2023.pdf

Learn cursive writing

The student workbook developed by the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition (ONLC) and Turtle's Back Publishing can be used to introduce cursive writing.

Copyrighted. Available as a PDF.

Do you know of other OER that we can add to this page? Get in touch: info@alphaplus.ca