Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is the second in a series of two lessons based on Reading for Life, a two-volume collection of worksheets and activities published by the Minnesota Department of Education and designed to enhance the teaching of life and work skills to adult ESL and ABE learners. Both volumes can be found at:

Our intention is to help teachers and tutors by building lessons around specific competencies addressed in Reading for Life by Linda Strand. Each lesson plan outlines three stages of addressing a competency:

  1. a real-life application
  2. a list and links to applicable worksheets in Reading for Life
  3. links to multiple-choice, CASAS-style worksheets and answer sheets

Lesson Name: Housing Advertisements (Reading for Life Volume 1, Unit 2: Ads: Jobs, Product and Housing)

Purpose: Learners will be able to read and interpret newspaper-style apartment ads.

Key Vocabulary: apartment, rent, lease, security deposit, property, furnished, available, unit, efficiency apartment, studio, utilities

Topics to Review: classified ads

Materials: apartment ads from a newspaper or other source, photocopies of apartment ads


Real-life application/creating context:

1) T facilitates discussion with students about the places they live. Do they live in apartments or houses? Discuss how many bedrooms there are, other rooms, utilities included, security features, furnished/unfurnished and anything else you and your students can think of. Use this as an opportunity to teach and review vocabulary.

2) Look at an apartment ad from the newspaper. Discuss with students the same information as before, based on the ad.

3) Students circle all of the abbreviations in the ad. T and students work together to figure out the abbreviations. Students look at other ads to find abbreviations. Make a master list on the board of abbreviations and their written-out form.

4) Abbreviation Scavenger Hunt: Give each student one abbreviation and a photocopied page of ads. The student scans his/her page to find all the instances of his/her abbreviation.

5) Ad rewrite: In pairs, students rewrite an ad for an apartment without using abbreviated forms.

Progress to Reading for Life, v.1 competency worksheets: Applicable worksheets: RFL v.1, pages 31, 32 and 33

Progress to multiple-choice format activities:

Housing Ad Worksheet for page 33

Stand-Alone House Ad Worksheet


  • See Daily Living Activities on page 30 of Reading for Life v.1.
  • Have students write a list of questions to ask when calling to inquire about one of the apartments on the worksheet. Do role plays in pairs after discussing the questions as a group.
  • Do the Scanning for Items activity outlined in the Reading section of the Tutor Tip Archive on the MLC website

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