Literacy Toolkit

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. 

Resources are updated regularly: contact Lydia Nelson at with questions or resource suggestions. 

Toolkit Resources

Adult English and Literacy

Resources for adults in English or literacy skills:

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.

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:

ESL Story Bank
This collection was created by the Minnesota Literacy Council. It includes a number of stories and worksheets intended for high beginning English language students.

Reading for Life
This is another collection provided by the Minnesota Literacy Council, 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.

TPR (Total Physical Response) Exercises
This online collection of exercises is a highly interactive way to teach and practice basic commands and language related to actions and movement. Few reading skills are required.

Adult literacy worksheets
The National Adult Literacy Association of Ireland publishes a collection of worksheets and workbooks for volunteers working with adults developing literacy skills. These are intended not just for English language learners, but for any adult learning to read and write.

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.

Somali folktales
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.

K-12 Parent and Teacher Resources

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.

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.

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.

Volunteer reading toolkit
This toolkit, in the form of an online course, includes information about tutoring K-12 students as well as strategies for supporting literacy skills. The toolkit requires you to create a free account in order to save your progress, and offers a certificate upon completion.

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 events for teens in Eden Prairie and Hopkins, or explore the Hennepin County Library website for more events and 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.

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.

Reading strategies for working with students
Created by Eden Prairie Schools staff, these videos present a number of strategies for helping students with reading. All of the strategies are originally introduced by the Minnesota Reading Corps

Bilingual children's books
Language Lizard publishes bilingual books in over 50 languages, including Spanish, Somali, and Hindi.

Volunteer tutor trainings
The Minnesota Literacy Council offers a number of workshops for volunteers: all children's tutor workshops are free.

Somali folktales
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.


Early Childhood Parent and Teacher Resources

Preschool worksheets has a huge number of worksheets to use with children from preschool to 5th grade.

Storyline Online
This website features actors reading children's books out loud, and is also free to access.

Online children's books with multilingual translation
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.

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.

Questions about kids--University of Minnesota
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.

Zero to Three Early Literacy
Zero to Three's website offers a number of articles and resources for supporting early learning and literacy.

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.

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.

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 tups for parents on reading with their children and includes a list of Twin Cities libraries with books in various languages.

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. Also, find tips for reading to young children and various other resources on their website.

Songs for children
The King County Library System has put together a library of songs they use in their children's programming: many of them have videos.

Flyers 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
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!, descripes ways you can support your "emergent reader"--your young child who is developing basic skills to support reading later. 

Everyday reading tips
This flyer, published by Reading Rockets and ¡Colorin Colorado!, describes practical ways you can help your child build literacy skills during everyday activities.