Teaching Beginning English

Learning a new language can be difficult, especially for beginners! These resources help teachers plan lessons that inspire skills and confidence for English language learners. Visit VITAL’s Tutor Resources for more tools, tips, and training.

Compiled by:
Bethany T.


Basic Dictations

Catherine Sadow
VITAL 428.24 Sad

Beginning levels texts organized by topics relevant to newcomers of the United States: friends and families, numbers, time, around town, food, health and work. Language practice includes 4 types of dictation activities, vocabulary, discussion, and writing. Book + CD

Beginning English Day by Day

Michael Roddy
VITAL 428.24 Ro

Presents a guide to basic English language skills including vocabulary development, grammar, reading, writing, and pronunciation. Lessons involve daily life skills such as time, money, health, food, transportation, housing, and more. The answer key provides a brief explanation of the activities.

English for everyone
428.24 Eng

This self-study series uses graphics and pictures instead of wordy explanations, making vocabulary and grammar easy to remember.  Includes course book and practice books for levels 1-4.  Audio download available


Steven J. Molinksy
VITAL 428.24 Mol
Series: ExpressWays

A 4 level series of high interest readings that integrate life skills, communication and grammar. The format builds practical English skills following a progressive sequence of skill development.

Get Together
428.34 Mck

This 4 level series offers a balance of language and skills, with ample practice to build confidence.  Introduces grammar concepts sequentially.  Includes student book, workbook, and teacher's guide. Book + CD. 

Life Goes On: Introductory

Ann Gianola
VITAL 428.24 Gia

ESL students will live, laugh and learn with this series. Fifteen engaging stories in each book portray diverse characters in interesting daily life situations. Reading comprehension, dialogue, pronunciation, and writing activities included. Life Goes On series (4 levels). Teacher’s guide and Audio download available.

Novel Scenes: Introductory

Ann Gianola
VITAL 428.24 Gia

Each book in the series tells the story of a single character that is new to the U.S. Chapters include exercises that build comprehension, vocabulary, speaking, and listening skills. Novel Scenes series (4 levels). Teacher’s guide and Audio Download available.

Oxford Picture Dictionary

Norma Shapiro
VITAL 423.1 Ade

4,000 English words and phrases with meaningful, real-life contexts presented within 12 thematic units, including Everyday Language, People, Housing, Food, Recreation, and more. Topics such as job search, career planning, and digital literacy equip students with the language they need for everyday success. Use with Oxford Picture Dictionary Workbooks (3 levels).

Side by Side

Steven J. Molinsky
VITAL 428.34 Mol

A 4 level series of conversation practice that incorporates reading, writing, and listening skills. Includes pronunciation exercises and communication strategies.

That’s Life: Introductory

Ann Gianola
VITAL 428.24 Gia

Engaging and amusing low-level stories that students love to read. Everyday life themes are consistent across levels, making these books ideal for multilevel classrooms. Includes discussion starters, listening activities, dialogue practice, and comprehension exercises. That’s Life series (4 levels). Teacher’s guide and Audio download available.

What’s Next? A multilevel phonics approach for ESL students. Book 1

Lia Conklin
VITAL 428.34 Con

Easy-to-read stories follow an immigrant through her daily life in the U.S. Each lesson features phonics instruction, sight words, listening, speaking, and comprehension exercises. What’s Next series (4 levels). Teacher’s guide and Audio download available.

What’s Up? Book 1: Integrated skills and culture for adults

Kathleen Olson
VITAL 428.24 Ols

Basic English language activities that develop listening, reading, writing and cultural literacy skills. Texts include news reports, menus, forms, and other realia adapted to low reading levels. Each unit includes a complete lesson plan and homework. What’s Up series (3 levels)

Word by Word Basic Picture Dictionary

Steven J. Molinsky
VITAL 423.17 Mol

This learner friendly picture dictionary introduces essential words with illustrations and simple lesson plans. Prepare students for success using English in everyday life, in the community, in school, and at work. Use with Word by Word Literacy or Vocabulary workbooks.

Word by Word Basic Vocabulary Workbook

Steven J. Molinsky
VITAL 423.17 Mol

This workbook builds language skills with listening, vocabulary, writing, and comprehension Activities. Use with the Word by Word Basic Picture Dictionary. Book+CD


I Speak English

Ruth J. Colvin
VITAL 428.24 Col

An ESL resource guide that introduces new teachers to basic techniques and strategies for teaching adults with little to no English experience. Includes tips for getting started, planning your first meeting, assessing language skills, sample lesson plans, sequence of skills, and more.

Teaching Adults: an ESL resource book

New Readers Press
VITAL 374.012 Tea

This go-to guide for ESL instructors covers the basics on English language and American culture learning. The step-by-step format provides instruction for teaching adult English language learners in group and one on one settings. Include 50+ ready-to-use activities for teaching reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.