Teaching Pre-Beginner English

Learners with little to no exposure to English need to build a foundation of basic vocabulary and listening comprehension skills. These resources provide a structure for sequential skill building for pre-beginner English language learners. Visit VITAL’s Tutor Resources for more tools, tips, and training.

Compiled by:
Bethany T.


English for Everyone

Thomas Booth
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.

Interchange Intro

Jack C. Richards
428.24 Ric
Series: Interchange series 1-4

The Interchange philosophy is that English is learned best when it is used for meaningful communication. Follow the sequential format for building language skills while engaging in practical conversational language. Interchange series 1-4. Use with Interchange Teacher’s Guide and Workbook (4 levels). Book + CD

Laubach Way to English

Jeanette D. Macero
428.24 Mac

This guide provides comprehensive instruction for teaching listening, speaking, and writing skills at the pre-literacy level. Step by step scripts are easy for new ESL teachers to follow. Use with Laubach Way to Reading. (4 levels).

LifePrints: Literacy

Mary Ann Cunningham Florez
428.24 Lif
Series: LifePrints series

Develops listening and speaking skills through realistic conversations that center on familiar situations. Helps build skills for communicating with health providers, getting and keeping a job, and discovering neighborhood services and resources. Literacy level activities are appropriate for pre-literate adults. LifePrints series (4 levels). Teacher’s Guide and Audio download available

Literacy Plus A

Joan Saslow
VITAL 428.34 Sas

Comprehensive guide to teaching survival English and basic literacy skills. Literacy Plus A is for students who are pre-literate in their own language and know no English. Literacy Plus B is for students who are literate in their own language but not in English. Use with Literacy Plus Teacher’s Guide. Book + CD

Step Forward Introductory Level

Kathleen Santopietro Weddel
VITAL 428.24 Ste

This book supplements the Step Forward Intro book with literacy level activities for pre-beginners. Includes teaching notes and reproducible activities for teaching basic sounds, essential vocabulary, and word patterns.

Word by Word Basic

Steven J. Molinsky
VITAL 423.17 Mol

This workbook teaches the alphabet and basic vocabulary, reading, and writing for pre-literate adults. 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.