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English Literacy and Civics Education (EL/Civics)

  • About EL/Civics Education
  • Resources for Teachers
  1. All EL/Civics Topics
  2. American History
  3. U.S. Government
  4. Civic Participation
  5. Preparation for Naturalization
  • Instructional Resources for Learners
  • EL/Civics Funded Programs in Colorado



To effectively participate in education, work, and civic opportunities in this country, immigrants and other limited English proficient persons must not only master English, but be able to understand and navigate governmental, educational, workplace systems and key institutions, such as banking and health care. Congress has reserved funding under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) for "integrated English literacy and civics education services to immigrants and other limited English proficient populations." Grant awards for EL/Civics Education projects will result in integrated instructional programs and services that incorporate both English literacy instruction and civics education.

Information Resources

  • Center for Civic Education
    The Center's programs focus on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights; American political traditions and institutions at the federal, state, and local levels; constitutionalism; civic participation; and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
  • Citizenship Resources
    Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA) Resource Collection. List of materials, online resources, and organizations related to U.S. citizenship and naturalization.
  • Civic Participation and EL/Civics
    July 2010 issue of the Professional Development Monthly Advisor and Planner (PD MAP), which identifies current professional development options for Colorado’s adult basic education teachers.
  • Contextualized Learning in Adult Education
    This is an ERIC Practice Application Brief (No. 12, 2000) by Susan Imel that reviews recent research on contextualized learning in adult education and provides some recommendations for practice.
  • EL/Civics: Making the Case for Just-In-Time Teaching
    By Heide Spruck Wrigley, August 2001.
    Teachers can be prepared to recognize "teachable moments" and use real-life problems encountered by students as springboards for EL/Civics instruction.
  • English Literacy and Civics Education
    Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA), February 2006
  • English Literacy and Civics Education for Adult Learners
    By Michelle Tolbert, National Institute for Literacy, August 2001.
    This Special Policy Update describes the English language learner population today, reviews the current status of the EL/Civics initiative, and highlights promising practices of the EL/Civics national demonstration projects that were funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education in FY99.
    Download document
  • English Literacy/Civics Education Demonstration Grants Program
    Archived information from the U.S. Dept. of Education. The English Literacy and Civics Education Demonstration Grants Program was designed to help states and communities provide limited English proficient adults with expanded access to high quality English literacy programs linked to civics education. Announced in 2000, two-year grant awards were made for national demonstration projects, which closed in 2003. The projects addressed a range of curriculum topics and activities including English language skills through problem-solving activities; understanding local resources and services; citizen instruction; integrated English language and civics tutoring; computer literacy for immigrants; and curriculum and professional development.
  • English Literacy/Civics Education
    The current Civics Education Web page of the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education.
  • Pursuing Democracy's Promise: Newcomer Civic Participation in America
    Grantmaker's Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees; Craig McGarvey, 2004.
    This report highlights examples of civic participation and its impact.

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Instructional Resources

  • Annotated Bibliography of Citizenship and Civics Texts
    Prepared by the English Language and Literacy Center of St. Louis.
  • The Change Agent
    Published semi-annually by the New England Literacy Resource Center, each issue of the Change Agent is written and produced by adult literacy teachers and learners. Contains articles, reviews and classroom teaching tools around a particular topic: the changing world of work; civic participation; crime and violence; health and literacy; etc.
  • Civic Participation and Citizenship Collection
    Annotated links and original materials that cover a wide range of topics related to community action and active citizenship, including EL/Civics. This collection was built with an emphasis on informed civic participation to serve adult educators in diverse settings.
  • Civic Participation and Community Action Sourcebook
    Online version of the 1999 book published by the New England Literacy Resource Center and edited by Andy Nash. Includes 20 stories about civic participation covering a wide range of issues, from finding a class project and goal setting to meeting with legislators and advocating for adult education funding. Preparation activities accompany each article. The source book also contains a webliography and an appendix of human rights and civics documents. While many of the articles deal with ABE/GED learners and teachers, the themes and activities can be adapted for the ESL classroom.
  • Civics and Citizenship Toolkit
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
    The Civics and Citizenship Toolkit contains a variety of educational materials designed to help permanent residents learn more about the United States and prepare for the naturalization process. Each of the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit’s materials is designed as a self-study resource for immigrants or instruction tool for volunteers and adult educators to use in a classroom setting.
  • Civics Flash Cards
    Immigrants applying for naturalization can use these flash cards as a study tool to prepare for the naturalization test and teachers and volunteers can use these flash cards in the classroom. The flash cards are available in Adobe PDF, an online web-based version, and for purchase through the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO).
  • Correlation of Instructional Materials to EL Civics Objectives
    This CASAS bibliography is designed to assist California EL Civics programs in identifying useful instructional materials that relate directly to individual EL Civics language and literacy objectives.

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  • EL/Civics Activities for Adults
    By Lynda Terrill, Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Jan. 2001.
    Guide to integrating civics into adult English language learning.
  • EL/Civics Activity Packet
    An updated version of the EL/Civics State Leadership Project developed by Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, Denver, Colorado.
  • EL Civics for ESL Students
    This online, interactive Web site includes activities, lessons, a PowerPoint presentation, pictures, quizzes, a site for teachers, and recommended links.
  • EL/Civics Health Curriculum
    By Leslie Furlong, ESOL Health Curriculum Coordinator, Charlottesville (VA) City Schools Adult Education Program, Feb. 2003.
    A curriculum that focuses on developing civics awareness and participation with regard to health, illness, and health care. Students are encouraged to develop competency with regard to navigating the U.S. health care system.
  • EL/Civics How-to Manual
    This manual was prepared under a grant to Bronx Community College of the City University of New York by the United States Department of Education to develop and conduct a demonstration program contextualizing instruction of English for Speakers of Other Languages with components of civics education. It provides information about setting up and running an EL/Civics program, based on the experience of one urban literacy program. The lessons learned and resources gathered during the three years of operating EL/Civics instruction are shared so as to assist other programs that may wish to engage in similar activities with similar goals.
  • EL/Civics Lesson Plans
    From the Literacy Volunteers of Roanoke Valley, VA.
    A collection of lesson plans, instructional materials, and web sites designed for use in small classes of intermediate level learners.
  • EL/Civics Lesson Plans
    Northeast ABLE Resource Center.
  • EL/Civics Lesson Plans Index
    An index of links to EL/Civics lesson plans from Northwest LINCS.
  • EL/Civics Lessons
    For EL/Civics students.
  • EL/Civics Online
    A four-part series of online courses to prepare ESL instructors and volunteers to integrate U.S. History, U.S. Government, Civic Engagement, and the Naturalization Process into adult ESL classes. Teachers who complete these courses will learn strategies to further their students’ knowledge about the United States along with increased English language acquisition.
  • EL/Civics User's Guide
    From Longman Publisher, for use with its EL/Civics Package for Beginners (Voices of Freedom, Foundations Student Book & Workbook, Word by Word Basic Picture Dictionary, and Side by Side TV Videos).
    Download publication
  • EL/Civics Website for ESL Students
    Easy lessons and activities.
  • ESOL Main Street
    A web-based tool kit for learning about community resources for ESL students. (Specific to counties in Virginia.)

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  • Financial Literacy Lessons for ESL Students
    A financial literacy curriculum for ESL students, divided into 3 units: Basic Banking Services, Credit, Planning for the Future, and an additional lesson on Identity Theft. The lessons are most appropriate for Intermediate High students but can be adapted for other levels. San Diego Community College EL/Civics project.
  • Guide to Naturalization
    Provides information on the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship, an overview of the naturalization process, and eligibility requirements.
  • High Intermediate and Advanced EL/Civics Curriculum
    An online curriculum by ESL instructors in Virginia's Adult and Community Education program. Three learning modules-Consumer, Government, and Health.
  • How Can I Help Immigrants Prepare to Take the U.S. Citizenship Test?
    Verizon Foundation,
  • How the United States is Governed
    Examines federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. Elections and the electoral process, nongovernmental organizations and institutions that influence public policy, and how the U.S. system of government is similar to (and different from) other forms of democratic government are also described.
  • How to Buy a Home in the United States
    Fannie Mae Foundation's Adult Homeownership Education. An ESL program for adult students. The program teaches students about the home-buying process while integrating language development. Designed to present homeownership information in basic terms, this program targets intermediate and advanced learners of ESL.
  • Integrating Civic Participation and Adult ESOL
    Andy Nash, New England Literacy Resource Center/World Education, Jan. 2005.
    This article proposes a process for building ESOL students’ capacity for engaged and active citizenship through which EL/Civics classes serve as a venue for comprehending and critically examining policies and systems that affect students’ lives. The author lays out the process in a series of steps with specific suggestions for classroom activities and examples from teachers.

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    • LEAD (Learning English at a Distance)
      North Carolina's Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) English as a Second Language (ESL) Division's Learning English at a Distance Project (LEAD) presents a distance learning model, Crossroads Cafe Classroom. On this page, you will find civics education lesson activities. These plans are content based, task based, project based and participatory. These lesson plans have been developed to be compatible with Crossroads Cafe Classroom.
    • Money Management and Home-Buying Readiness: a Sourcebook for Teachers of ESOL and ABE
      Web-based version of the Sourcebook, designed for ABE and ESOL programs to implement a content-based home-buying readiness and personal finance project, either as a stand-alone unit or as a topic for integration into an existing curriculum. Includes features not found in the print version.
    • Navigating the American School System (NASS)
      An EL/Civics State Leadership Project developed by Harrison Adult and Family Literacy, Harrison School District 2, Colorado Springs, Colorado.


NASS Student Text-Download

NASS Teacher's Manual-Download
Cover Cover
Table of Contents and Preface Table of Contents and Preface
I. General School InformationI. General School Information
I-1. Ages, Grades and Schools I-1. Ages, Grades and Schools
I-2. CalendarI-2. Calendar
I-3 School CalendarI-3. School Calendar
I-4. Daily ScheduleI-4. Daily Schedule
I-5. School InformationI-5. School Information
I-6. Classroom MapI-6. Classroom Map
I-7. School MapI-7. School Map
I-8. School StaffI-8. School Staff
II. Student EnrollmentII. Student Enrollment
II-1. DocumentationII-1. Documentation
II-2. Registration FormII-2. Registration Form
III. Student Rights and Responsibilities III. Student Rights and Responsibilities
IV. Parent Rights and Responsibilities IV. Parent Rights and Responsibilities
V. Report Cards V. Report Cards
VI. Parent Involvement VI. Parent Involvement



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  • PEACE Curriculum (The Process of English and Civics Education)
    The Process of English And Civics Education (PEACE) Curriculum was designed to inspire students to use their emerging language skills to problem solve and apply these lessons to their lives outside of the classroom. The core text features pictures and true stories of immigrants who have been change agents in their homes, workplaces and communities. The curriculum consists of fifteen units, each of which is based upon major life skill areas such as housing, health, money matters, school, work, and safety.
  • Preparing for Permanent Residency and Citizenship
    From the Practitioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners, developed by NCFL and CAELA.
  • Teaching Civics in a Multilevel ESL Class
    By Deborah Detzel, Pennsylvania ABLE Staff Handbook, 2001; an article describing the process of writing an ESL Civics curriculum and how it was used in a multi-level class.
    Download document
  • U.S. Civics for Immigrants
    Literacy Volunteers of Westchester County, Inc. (LVWC). A comprehensive English Literacy/Civics Education curriculum. The aim of all materials is to help low-English proficient students develop a foundation of skills that will help them not only master the English language, but also navigate the society and government of the United States.
  • Welcome to the United States: a Guide for New Immigrants
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Office of Citizenship, revised edition, 2007.
    A publication for new permanent residents. This guide contains practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the U.S., as well as basic civics information that introduces new immigrants to the U.S. system of government. Includes tips for new immigrants on how to get involved in their communities, meet their responsibilities, and exercise their rights as permanent residents. Can be downloaded, viewed online, or ordered in hard copy. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Portuguese, French, and Haitian Creole.

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Colorado EL/Civics Grantees

The following programs are recipients of EL/Civics grants administered by CDE's Adult Education and Family Literacy office. EL/Civics grants are state-administered federal funds set aside by Congress to provide English literacy integrated with civics instruction.

Adult and Family Education Center, School District 11, Colorado Springs (FY13-FY14)
Adult ESL Dual Language Program, Jefferson County Schools (FY13-FY14)
Asian Pacific Development Center, Aurora (FY14-FY15)
Durango Adult Education Center (FY13-FY14)
El Comite de Longmont (FY14-FY15)
Focus Points Family Resource Center, Denver (FY13-FY14)
Intergenerational Learning Community, Adams County School District 14 (FY13-FY14)
Learning Source, Lakewood (FY14-FY15)
Montrose School District RE-1J (FY13-FY14)
Morgan Community College, Fort Morgan (FY14-FY15)
Northeastern Junior College, Sterling (FY13-FY14)
Right to Read of Weld County, Greeley (FY13-FY14)
Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning, Denver (FY13-FY14)
Trinidad State Junior College (FY13-FY14)


Colorado EL/Civics State Leadership Projects

For more information about EL/Civics, contact Jane Miller, 303.866.6611

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Colorado Dept. of Education
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Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793
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