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Beyond Basics: ESOL Beginning Literacy

This course is an in-depth follow up to our popular ESOL Basics course. Teaching adult English language learners who have problems with reading and writing--perhaps because they never went to school in their home country and are not literate in their native language--may seem like an intimidating prospect. It is true that it's not always easy. However, as anyone who has taught such a group of students knows, working with literacy learners is also very rewarding.

Beyond Basics: ESOL Beginning Literacy will give you the tools you need to work with literacy learners. We've culled the latest research to familiarize you with what literacy learners bring to the classroom, provide the best approaches for working with these students, and help you better prepare for your classroom time.

Through the online course format, you can learn at your own pace from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Facilitators, available to help you throughout the six-week course, lead you through the content and technical aspects of the course.

Each week's lesson addresses a topic in adult education pertaining to ESOL beginning literacy. Course activities include readings, assignments, and discussions. The lessons are sequential.

Lessons and resources included in the course:
  • Who Is a Literacy Learner?
  • Preparing to Teach Your Literacy Class
  • Developing Print Awareness
  • Sound/Symbol Correspondence
  • Multilevel Strategies
  • Assessment and Future Research Directions in LESLLA

Completion of the course is designed to require a minimum of 24 hours of your time, approximately four hours a week. However, you may find that you want to spend longer with some topics.

In order to receive the certificate for participating in the Beyond Basics: ESOL Beginning Literacy training, you must complete all assignments, respond to each discussion question, and respond at least once to one of your classmates in any of the week’s discussion/assignment forums.

Remember that, although you will gain from doing the activities, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator. To keep our discussions as productive as possible, you must stay within the timeframe outlined for this course.

Click here to request a course (Note: once your cohort has been established we will send you a link to the Virginia Learning Center to register).

This course is available to out-of-state participants for a fee of $125. To begin the registration process for out-of-state participants, please send an email to

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The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.