This toolkit has been created to support those who are building literacy and English language skills--whether you are learning at home or working with adults, K-12 students, or young children in any number of settings.
Included in the lists of resources are videos, websites, flyers, story collections, and many other tools designed to help people develop literacy skills. The resources are organized by age: to use the toolkit, click on the description that fits best with your situation and scroll through those resources.
Learning at home?
Welcome! These resources will be updated regularly while distance learning is in session.
Looking for other resources? The district's COVID-19 page has information about distance learning plans, meal distribution, and other community resources.
- Adult English and Literacy
- K-12 Parent and Teacher Resources
- Early Childhood Parent and Teacher Resources
Resources for adults building English or literacy skills:
Basic Computer Skills Class
This online class is offered for for free from Northstar Online Learning during March and April 2020. It teaches basic information and skills to help people use computers.
Eden Prairie Schools Family Literacy Programs
In partnership with Metro South ABE, Eden Prairie Schools Community Education offers several classes for parents to learn English. All classes are offered free of cost, and childcare options are available.
Metro South English, GED, and career classes
Metro South offers English classes in Eden Prairie and English, GED, and career classes in nearby suburbs. To learn more or register for classes, visit their website.
Hennepin County Library's adult resources
Your local library has a number of resources for learning English. Search for a specific library's events, find resources at your local library, or look for resources across the Twin Cities. The Eden Prairie Library offers conversation circles every Friday from 10am to 12pm, currently held in the City offices in the basement of the Eden Prairie Center.
20 minute English lessons
ESL Lab offers a number of free video English lessons.
Voice of America News for English language learners
This is a news website with stories adapted to intermediate and advanced English learners. The "Beginner" section of the website includes videos on news vocabulary and short video English lessons. Each news story includes video, audio, and text.
Breaking News English
This website includes a number of news stories adapted to beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of English.
English Club Vocabulary Quizzes
This website offers a number of quizzes on vocabulary for English language learners.
A 4 ESL
This website includes a number of English grammar and vocabulary quizzes, including bilingual quizzes in many different languages.
Online phonics lessons
Although this website is designed for children, the phonics lessons are easy to find and navigate. It may work well for adults learning phonics as well.
Google Chrome Screen Reader
This extension reads web pages aloud. Other popular web browsers also often have built-in settings that will read pages out loud.
Tutoring resources for adults in English or literacy skills:
Reading for Life
This is another collection provided by Literacy Minnesota, and mostly includes activities and resources to support English language learners in reading related to everyday life situations.
Wordless picture books handbook
This extensive handbook, published by the National Center for Families Learning, offers strategies and lesson plans for working with adult English learners using wordless picture books. Made specifically for working with adults in family literacy programs, it is also aimed towards equipping parents to use the same strategies at home with their young children.
Volunteer training opportunities
A number of trainings for adult and children's tutors are offered each month by the Minnesota Literacy Council: find a schedule of upcoming trainings at this link.
Somali Literacy Project
This website offers an extensive collection of articles and resources around Somali culture and language as well as resources and information on building literacy with Somali children and adults.
Developed by teachers, staff, and parents at Minneapolis Public Schools, this collection includes folktales written in Somali and English along with a variety of worksheets and activities around those stories. Though intended for K-12 classrooms, the stories may be helpful as culturally-relevant reading materials for Somali adults learning English.
Resource Collections for Educators
Minnesota Humanities Center resource collection
Intended for educators, this "Absent Narrative Resource Collection" offers an extensive list of culturally-relevant materials for use in classrooms or at home.
Developed by teachers, parents, and staff at Minneapolis Public Schools, this collection of stories in English and Somali also includes suggested activities and worksheets to use in a variety of settings.
Online Books and Literacy Activities
Tumble Books (English and Spanish language books available)
An online collection of animated ebooks for K-12 students, offered through Hennepin County Library. Look for "TumbleBook Library" or "Biblioteca Tumble" under the many online resources offered by the library.
This website offers a new "Wonder of the Day" each day. Each wonder is a question answered in easily-readable text, and includes links to more information, vocabulary words, and other interesting facts and ways to explore the topic further.
K-12 Literacy Events
Hennepin County Library
The library offers a number of events and programs for all ages on a number of topics, including reading and writing. See this page for upcoming events or explore the Hennepin County Library website for more resources.
St. Thomas summer reading program
The University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota offer reading programs throughout the summer for elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Classes meet once a week for 5 weeks.
Parent Information and Resources
Great! Schools grade level milestones videos
This series of videos demonstrates skills that children might have learned by the end of each grade level, from kindergarten through high school. Click on each video to see a different skill, and navigate between grades using the right sidebar.
Parent Teacher Conference Question Worksheet
Unsure what to ask at a parent-teacher conference? This resource from Learning Heroes gives sample questions for you to use at conferences, along with space to take notes. Choose from the questions offered or make your own, using this worksheet as a guide.
Learning Heroes Parent Resources
Learning Heroes offers resources for parents to understand what their children are learning at school and how to help them at home. This "Readiness Check" is a quiz your child can take to measure grade-specific readiness skills. Once the quiz is completed, the website will show you areas to focus on with your child at home.
Standards and school involvement
The National Center for Families Learning provides an interactive online guide to standards in reading and math. On the same site are suggestions for how to be involved with your child's school and how to help students learn at home. Suggestions are organizes by subject and grade level.
Volunteer tutor trainings
The Minnesota Literacy Council offers a number of workshops for volunteers: all children's tutor workshops are free.
Unite for Literacy! Online library with bilingual narration
This website is free to use and publishes online children's books. Books are written in English, and you can also listen in other languages, including Somali and Spanish.
This website features actors reading children's books out loud.
Hennepin County Library Easy Audiobooks
Hearing new words and stories is an important step in learning how to read. The Hennepin County Library has a large collection of audiobooks: see this link for "Easy Fiction Audiobooks" and explore the website to find more books to listen to.
Vooks is an online library of popular children's books. As the books are read, the words pop out of the page so that children can see what the reader is doing in real time. They offer the first month free, or the first year free for teachers or homeschool educators. After that, the website offers paid monthly or annual subscription access.
Free through the Hennepin County Library, these are animated videos of popular children's books available in English, Spanish, and French. Search for "TumbleBooks Library," "Biblioteca Tumble," or "BiblioEnfants," click the link, and enter your library card barcode and PIN number to be redirected to the free websites.
Reading Rockets Resources on Early Literacy Development
Reading Rockets has numerous articles on all things literacy, developed for parents as well as educators. This page collects a number of resources on literacy development in early childhood; explore the site for even more resources.
Zero to Three Early Literacy
Zero to Three's website offers a number of articles and resources for supporting early learning and literacy, as well as resources on broader topics related to early childhood development.
Library early learning resources
Your local library has both events and resources to help you support young children's learning. This web page includes videos, an events listing, and online resources.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten offers a program at various libraries to support parents reading 1,000 books to their young children before starting kindergarten. Also, find tips for reading to young children and various other resources on their website.
CEED Early Childhood Q&A
The University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) has a number of resources available to parents and educators. This page offers answers to a number of frequently asked questions about young children, and has some answers in Spanish, Hmong, and Somali.
Flyers, Handbooks, and Handouts
1,000 Books booklist
This list of books has over 100 suggested books for reading with your child before she starts kindergarten.
Ready at Five Early Literacy Development flyer
This flyer, in English and Spanish, has information about early literacy development and tips for reading with young children.
Working with emergent readers
This flyer, published by Reading Rockets and ¡Colorin Colorado!, describes ways you can support your "emergent reader" --your young child who is developing basic skills to support reading later.
0-5 Literacy Milestones
This chart, which lays out developmental milestones for literacy from birth to age five, was developed by Reach out and Read, a Boston-based nonprofit working in early childhood literacy.
Cultivating Readers guide
The National Center for Families Learning has published a guide for reading with your child. It includes suggested activities and strategies for building literacy skills with 0-2 year olds, 3-5 year olds, and 6-8 year olds.
Bilingualism and reading at home
This brochure, published by the Minnesota Literacy Council, provides information about the benefits of knowing two languages and offers tips for parents reading with their children at home. It is written for Spanish-speaking parents.
Parent Summer Reads handbook
This handbook, written by the Minnesota Literacy Council, offers tips for parents on reading with their children and includes a list of Twin Cities libraries with books in various languages.
Songs for children
The King County Library System in Seattle has put together a library of songs they use in their children's programming. Many of the songs have videos you can follow along with.
Parent Powered Texts
ThinkSmall will send three texts per week to parents offering facts, tips, and activities for supporting young children's literacy skills. Texts are available in English, Spanish, or Somali--sign up or find more information on ThinkSmall's website.