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English Language/Civics resources and related links

image: Dowua Abed, Greater Lawn Community Youth Network
Gelatin silver print, copyright Dawoud Bey 1999.

From Indivisible: Introduction to interpreting photographs

photo of woman in headscarf

Some of the resources on this page also appear on LR/RI's advocacy and ESOL pages. They are gathered here to facilitate locating resources related to EL Civics learning and teaching.

A number of adult education practitioners learners, friends, and neighbors are frightened by recent events. Regardless of political stance or affiliation, there are facts (not alternative ones) that practitioners - particularly those of us working with English language learners /communities- need to know and understand. LR/RI's advocacy page offers links to resources providing information about status and rights, as well as teaching materials for practitioners' own knowledge and/or for framing critical and open conversations in classrooms and communities.

Citizens' Curriculum UK-based resources, informed by the belief that it is vital that everyone has the core set of skills they need for living and working in the 21st century - English (or English for Speakers of Other Languages), maths, digital, civic, health and financial capabilities.

Larry Ferzallos: The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship

Citizenships resources from The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) U.S. Civics and Citizenship Online: Resource Center for Instructors

USCIS Civics and Citizenship Toolkit

Office of Vocational and Adult Education EL Civics homepage - archived information

English Literacy/Civics resources from Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center

The Learning Page - Immigration; archival source material documenting numerous immigrant groups

Civic Engagement resources compiled by the New England Literacy Resource Center

Civics Education for Adult English Language Learners; resources from CAELA, the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

Colorado Department of Education English Literacy and Civics Education; compendium of many resources listed here, as well as instructional activities and resource packets.

RI Secretary of State's civics resources.

EL Civics resources from Heide Spruck Wrigley

Heide Spruck Wrigley facilitated an all day workshop in Providence on March 19, 2002, and has generously made the following articles and materials available, as HTML, powerpoint or word files to download.

EL CIVICS: Making the case for Just-in-Time Teaching, article by Heide Spruck Wrigley addressing ways of incorporating civics into ongoing language and literacy work, with thanks to Dr. Wrigley for sharing her article here.

Guide to EL Civics Materials

Culture and Communications: Handling sticky situations

PEOPLE AND PLACES Building A Sense Of Community through Questions, Grids And Surveys

What to do if you're arrested

Guide to Field Trips

Feedback form

If you have difficulty downloading these files, please contact LR/RI and receive them as attachments via email.

The Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE) a unique coalition of over forty agencies representing many immigrant groups and seniors. Rich collection of resources and immigrants' statements.

general advocacy / civic participation resources

Making Change: Civics as a second language - The new ESL teaches immigrants how to stand up for themselves City Limits, July/August, 2003.

The Right Question Institute

Writing a letter of complaint from TV411.

Asset-Based Community Development Institute "Challenging the traditional approach to solving urban problems, which focuses service providers and funding agencies on the needs and deficiencies of neighborhoods, [ABCD] demonstrate[s] that community assets are key building blocks in sustainable urban and rural community revitalization efforts."

Constitutional Rights Foundation "seeks to instill in our nation's youth a deeper understanding of citizenship through values expressed in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and educate them to become active and responsible participants in our society." What do you think? A good site for critical analysis.

National Issues Forums - site providing background information, thoughtful analysis of and questions about issues of civic engagement and participation in a multiracial, multiethnic country. Valuable resource for learning about and framing issues for discussion, further understanding and classroom/staffroom interaction. Thanks to Andy Nash for this reference.

The Equal Rights Amendment, first proposed in 1923, is still not part of the U.S. Constitution. Should it be?

How a bill becomes law - interactive quia quiz

Know your rights, information explaining an individual's legal rights, provided by the National Lawyer's Guild; additional / supplementary information is also available at American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

VALUE - National learner leadership organization

Civic Participation sourcebook

Voter Education, Registration, and Action (VERA), article in Focus on Basics by Andrea Nash, describing programs' capacity building work to integrate ivic literacy and community participation into basic education and ESOL teaching; information about the 2008 VERA campaign

CIVNET - online resource and service for civic education practitioners, as well as scholars, policymakers, civic-minded journalists, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) promoting civic education all over the world

Pick your candidate - voting 101.

Vote for America - site devoted to voter registration drives in Rhode Island and across the US

Involving English Language Learners in Community Connected Learning (2000), a resource from Jobs for the Future

Easy Reader Voter guide, a California model for making voting accessible.

resources on voting, from LR/RI's advocacy page

Voter Education, Registration, and Action campaign 2016: a non-partisan effort aimed at adult literacy learners and program staff in New England. Its goal is to educate adult learners about voting and topical electoral issues, and mobilize them to vote in the 2008 elections.

Activities for Integrating Civics in Adult English Language Learning, from the National Center for ESL Literacy Education

Advanced EL Civics Curriculum of Fairfax County, Virginia, Adult & Community Education

EL-Civics Links from Northwest LINCS

Civics Lessons and EL Civics for ESL students, and other related resources

Ben's guide to government for kids - while not intended for adult learners, the site could be used with learners wishing to learn more about government with their children, or introduced explicitly as a children's site (up to high school) - as a means of practicing language use and gaining information as part of an ongoing EL/Civics curriculum.

Putting the Movement back into Civil Rights Teaching

The Civil Rights Project


These sites provide both content information (that needed to prepare for citizenship exams) and well as general information about immigration prcoesses and procedures.

A word about citizenship and immigration for ESOL educators -- please remember that we are not lawyers; we're teachers. While much of the information on line may be of great use to adults preparing for the citizenship exam, we need to not make recommendations about immigration processes, but rather assist learners in connecting to whichever legal/immigration resources will best assist them in answering questions about immigration status.

from Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Citizenship Educators Page - The Adult Learning Resource Center (ALRC) provides citizenship technical assistance to educators. Services include staff development workshops; educator interest groups; on-site electronic and phone consultation; customized training; and materials development in English and Spanish.

Citizenship News

National Immigration Forum

Immigration: A practical guide to immigrating to the US (law firm's site).

The New Americans, a seven-hour PBS miniseries premiering April 2004, and focusing on the search for the American Dream through the eyes of immigrants and refugees; as well as guide, activity book and additional resources.

Ellis Island - historic photos, information about the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and related resources

immigration links to primary sources from the Library of Congress' online collections.

Immigration History Research Center - University of Minnesota

USCIS INS USnews Citizenship and Immigration Services

My History is America's History - 15 Things You Can Do To Save America's Stories

The National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium

Black History.Com; online resources, including a timeline with links to specific events, numerous resources and articles.

Pomegranate Communications, publishers of Knowledge Cards - sets of packets of 48 cards that include photos (in some instances) and facts about the Civil Rights Movement, American Civics and Politics and the 50 United States -- among many other topics. At $10/each, they're wonderful tools for teacher learning, adapting for learners at different levels and inspiration to create your own sets of cards tailored to your learners' interests and needs.

We the people, a website developed "to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation's elementary and secondary students. " Although the primary audience is K-12 students, much of the material could be useful for and adaptable to adult learning.

the law

RI legal resources


also see LR/RI's advocacy page - focus on healthaccess/equity

EthnoMed- contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues and other related issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants to Seattle, many of whom are refugees fleeing war-torn parts of the world.

National Health Law Program

Health and Literacy Practice application brief by Sandra Kerka, 2000

U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Pictograms - clear, simple, graphic images to use in dealing with medicine and taking medicine. USP, a nonprofit organization working to promote safety and standards related to medicines, offers 81 pictograms that deal with common instructions, precautions, and warnings about medications.


Indivisible - "This resource focuses on the documentary tradition and the power of images and personal statements to reveal aspects of place, identity, community, and civic engagement. There are strategies and lessons that enable teachers to integrate the project's photographs, narratives, and themes into their own curricula. Activities are suggested that teachers may use to engage their students with looking at, discussing, and writing about the exhibition. They may approach the project as a study of documentary expression, an overall look at grass-roots democracy and community action in the United States, or they may focus on individual community sites because of subject content or geographic location."

Learning to state things clearly and succinctly is a vital skill for learners and practitioners. Clear Language and Design , the plain language editing and consulting service of East End Literacy in Toronto, Canada, provides useful resources for developing clear written and visual messages.


knowledge is power

As learners become more aware of, and involved in advocacy and/or civic participation efforts, these sites may be of use in developing a critical understanding of the role of media as a tool (or weapon) in shaping public thought. These questions may be useful to discuss:

  • Who sponsors, or pays for the site?
  • If you go to the contact page, what email or regular mail address appears? Is there a person's name to contact?
  • Do any of your sites sell things directly?
  • Do any of your sites have banner ads? (Banner ads are advertisments that appear, usually at the top of the screen. You can click on the ads to go to a site that sells something or tells you about buying something somewhere else.
  • Now, see if you and your partner know about any news sites. (If you need help, there are some news sites listed below).

    Are there differences between the stories? What are the differences? Why are the stories different?

    The Boston Globe online

    Canadian Broadcasting Company

    CNN - current events, news items written at multiple levels of complexity for young and adult readers

    New York Times

    New York Times Learning Network

    Public Broadcasting Newshour online

    Newshour extra, student voices

    responding to September 11, 2001 and resources for peace

    This section was added in 2001, when the attacks of 9/11 were new, and a new sort of unthinkable horror. Fourteen years later, around the world, attacks occur. Resources, sadly, abound.

    September 11, 2002: The Sonic Memorial Project, an online sound capsule and audio documentary of the life and times of the World Trade Center and its neighborhood, before, during, and after September 11,2001. Thousands have contributed voicemails, audio memories, home videos, interviews, and more to this evolving historic archive initiated by NPR and the public broadcasting community.">Rethinking Schools teaching in the shadow of September 11

    The Middle East Institute's Web site, organized by former Foreign Service officers Middle East Research and Information Project, founded 30 years ago by returned Peace Corps volunteers.

    While these resources may be difficult for English language learners, the background information is critical to those who teach and facilitate language and citizenship classes at this time. Thanks to Kerri Heffernan for bringing this article to light.

    Repercussions from the Public Eye. Links to news, analysis and background information.

    Workable Peace; background and context information, explication of various points of view and suggestions for taking on discussions about peace in classrooms.

    resources for peace

    to literacy resources

    May 28, 2018