I recently heard a very useful presentation by John Fleischman. He spoke on Technology as a Change Agent for English Language Learning. In his talk he mentioned an English language learning site that he helped develop called USA Learns. It’s a site where adult learners can learn basic reading, writing, speaking, and life skills. Another site that he referenced is for Adult Learners by the California Distance Learning Project. This site has readings categorized under topics. The readings are followed by vocabulary work and comprehension questions and are not authentic, but at the level that they are targeting, it is difficult to find authentic readings.
In my writing class next week, we will begin working on writing persuasive paragraphs. Sometimes students have trouble picking topics for their paragraphs or they are interested in a particular topic, but are unfamiliar with the vocabulary associated with it. On the California Distance Learning Project site, I found nine articles with topics that work well for persuasive writing.
I have linked these nine readings to our course management system. I’m excited about using this resource because it gives so much more richness to this module than a simple paper textbook. Today, for homework, I assigned students to choose three, work through the follow-up exercises, decide on an opinion for each topic, and then write a topic sentence that gives an opinion for each one. On Monday, we will share sentences and get and give feedback. As a final homework assignment for this module, students will choose a topic that is both controversial and academic and write a persuasive paragraph.
The links to the readings are below: