Reading and Writing Workbook

Since the release of the “I Want To Learn English” textbook this past spring, its reception and demand has steadily increased. This past summer more schools, community colleges and learning centers have been piloting and adopting the “Swing Differentiation” model the textbook employs. This, as you can imagine, is welcomed news. With it has also come some new requests. In speaking to ESL coordinators and directors at community colleges, the conversation of a reading and writing strategy for beginner level ESL students has consistently come up. Naturally, I have been asked if this is something I would be working on. Well, as it so happens, I have been working on a reading and writing workbook for beginners.

This workbook complements the IWTLE textbook in that it incorporates the themes from its four units. These include the phonics components of vowels, digraphs, consonant blends, diphthongs and other elements of the textbook. I figure it would be a good idea to look a little closer at the characters, the situations throughout the book, the puns (of course) and explore various cities throughout the United States. I recently mentioned to someone in a meeting about the textbook that it is in the “trial stages.” What this means is I already have lessons, activities and components being tested with students in the fall semester. Once these trials are complete and data supporting its effectiveness is concluded, it will be published.

What makes the coming months even more exciting is there will be additions made online (this website) for students and instructors to interact with that continues the work in the IWTLE textbook. There will also be more assessments available for instructors and more listening activities for students to practice with. And more video lessons will be available for both students learning and instructors to see modeled lessons and to give ideas and strategies to use the components of the textbook in their classrooms. For students, there is a video on short vowels that was recently posted (see You Tube video below). Others will follow, so stay tuned.

The Teacher’s Manual Is Now Available

Everything teachers need to know about the strategies and application of the lessons in the textbook “I Want To Learn English” for Level 1 Beginners is in the Teacher’s Manual. This manual gives an in depth look into all the nuances of the student textbook, gives suggestions and expanded activities, rationale for lessons, and gives a thorough explanation of every Section and subsection. The manual also includes some additional worksheets and activities which are not in the student textbook, audio scripts, answer keys and illustrations to make the application of IWTLE as user friendly as possible to instructors of English all over the world. Order your copy here.

An Audio Sample From The Textbook “I Want To Learn English”


Here is an audio sample for the “soon to be released” Level 1 ESL Textbook “I Want To Learn English.” It comes from Unit 3 which focuses on consonant blends. The textbook will be released in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

blue-play-button_fyMs9LUO_L33.1 Listen to the following short conversation and repeat. Then, practice with a partner.

Student A: Excuse me, sir. Where is the Florida school?

Student B: It’s on twelfth street.

Student A: Do I need to travel very far?

Student B: It’s just three blocks away. If you walk fast, you can get there in a few minutes.

Student A: Thank you very much.

Student B: Oh, you are very welcome.

TESOL International Conference in April 2016



As in the past, I will be attending the TESOL International Convention. The difference is this year time I will be representing Baltimore City Community College and will also be presenting my findings of using phonics more explicitly with adult learners and how this methodology is prevalent in my own teaching practice. I presented at the Maryland  TESOL Conference in 2014 and shared the results of using my phonics based textbook (I Want To Learn English) with colleagues and other professionals. The response was very positive. Now, the book is in the final phases of publication and I will have physical copies of the book to share with professionals from around the world this April. This, as you can imagine, is not only exciting, but a long time coming.

It is fitting since BCCC has been supporting me in the project since day one. I cannot express enough how thankful I am for Doug Weimer and others at BCCC for their continued support of this textbook project. But all that aside, the numbers simply do not lie. This book and the strategies it employs are immensely effective in teaching adults English. Students’ CASAS scores have improved significantly. That was my goal at the onset, my purpose when I set out to write this textbook, and I can honestly say “Mission Accomplished!”

The obvious question I get a lot is, of course, when will the next book in the series be available? I don’t think it will take nearly as long as the first one (which took 5 years to complete), but depending on the financial success of the first book will likely be the greatest determinant of how swift the second will come along. If the book does well in sales, then it will obviously demand and Book 2 be available sooner rather than later.

Kickstarter Campaign Launched

Now that the “I Want To Learn English” textbook (prototype) is going on its third year in use, the data collected thus far shows this program works for adult English Language Learners at the beginner level. It even proves to be a very useful tool for students at intermediate levels. Now, the textbook is in its final stages before completion. With an eye on publishing the first edition this summer, a Kickstarter campaign is being launched to fund the project. Students and instructors both can make pledges to help make this textbook project a commercial reality, and also be among the very first to receive of the textbook.

Please take moment to look at the Kickstarter page, watch the video promo and make a pledge today. Your time and consideration is greatly appreciated. At the end of the day, this project is all about helping people learn English and building stronger communities. Thank you very much.

Textbook Update

The original plans for the first textbook (level 1) was slated to have six units. However, after two years of trials in adult ESL classes, it became clear getting through just three units for the whole 72 hour course was difficult. It’s difficult because there are so many basic components of the English language that students need to understand in order to lay the foundations for more advanced comprehension. The three units address these fundamentals which are rich in phonic activities, listening and speaking exercises, and grammar components.

Having only three units simplifies many aspects of this textbook as well. For example, concentrating on pronunciation of words with specific digraphs, such as the “ch” and “th” sounds, also gives opportunities to engage in modeled conversations that have words embedded in them with these specific digraphs. This also extends to incorporating a short storyline, grammar practices, writing and reading activities. The concentrated portions of the lessons are in the main units, but the supplemental sections (toward the back of the book) give many more exercise and practice activities to further examine details explained in the main units. This also allows for more emphasis to be placed on details within each lesson without overwhelming students with too much information processing too quickly.

I believe the approach of going step by step renders more language dividends in the long run. Since 2012, students who worked with the I Want To Learn English prototype units have improved their scores on the CASAS exams and some even jumped two levels within a single semester. Some may attribute these highlights to a number of factors, but going further back to years before I developed IWTLE, the success rates did not have the kind of surges I see in the overall numbers now. And with help coming from other instructors using IWTLE with their students, overall student scores will reveal its effectiveness. Stay tuned for these results in the coming months.