The new title in the ESL Extras series is out: Welcome to Hope Street.

This introductory reader, at sentence level only, is designed for migrant learners still gaining literacy skills in English. So if you have learners who aren’t quite ready for Maybe Next Year or My Job is the Best, this might work for them.

The challenge of the ‘prelim’ class

As you know, I work with migrant learners in Australia, and those in the CPSWE class (that’s the preliminary level of the CSWE certificates) are often trying to understand the very concept of literacy – or their own language is in a different script, perhaps read from right to left…it’s a massive challenge. Teachers also face the challenge of trying to cover both settlement sight reading skills and a pretty intense introduction to phonics.

What Welcome to Hope Street offers

I know some people were hoping for phonics readers, but I’ve just found it too hard to do that while writing about real-life situations – good luck to those who can (or I’d love to hear your ideas). So instead I’ve focussed on the ‘sight words’ aspect of the curriculum, but with suggestions for teachers or tutors on how to remind students of sound/symbol patterns as they read. This book features:

  • An introduction to some of the Hope Street characters, met in future books
  • Seven sentence illustrated ‘stories’, with matching ‘cut-up’ pages and with exercises for more capable learners
  • Audio at three levels: read by the characters, read extra slowly, and ‘now you read’
  • Photocopiable story pages in the Teacher’s Guide can be copied back to back and folded to create a little booklet, to reinforce the page-turn direction of English

How it fits in the series

Welcome to Hope Street is very much a ‘prequel’ to the other books. The concept is quite similar, with story text (this time printed sideways for copying purposes), cut-ups for learners to reassemble and test themselves, simple exercises, simple questions for teachers or tutors to ask, ideas for linked activities, and a ‘board game’.

Let me know how it goes

I’m always interested to hear feedback…of course, it’s a delight when teachers or volunteers say ‘Oh, the students loved it,’ but it’s also good to hear the bigger picture, or suggestions for ‘next time’. You can download a sample from the ESL Extras page.