• What is an ESL reader?

  • An ESL reader is a collection of readings which are at an elementary level suitable for students of English as a second language. Each reading is followed by activities designed to assist the student in understanding the readings while improving their command of English.

  • What is a chronological Bible study?

  • A chronological Bible study is a study of the Bible which follows the historical chronology of the Bible as it studies a specific theme. In the case of a Bible study focused on sharing the Gospel, the major truths of the Gospel are traced as they appear in Scripture. For example, a study of Genesis 1-3 would come first, highlighting God as Creator and righteous Judge. By way of contrast, a Bible study focused on the Gospel but not in a chronological manner might start with the life of Christ.

  • Which version of the Bible is used in the reader?

  • When considering the various modern translations available, we decided on the Contemporary English Version (CEV) as the best translation for the purpose of introducing non-native speakers of English to the Bible. The translators of the CEV sought to produce a simple translation with a basic English vocabulary and simple grammar. The vocabulary used in the translation reflects the vocabulary of modern English. The grammar, as well, follows modern usage. Thus, the resulting translation has a fourth grade reading level. The grammar and vocabulary of the translation makes it more easily understandable for individuals learning English. We are open to suggestions as to other modern translations which might be more beneficial to ESL students.

  • Why are there only ten lessons?

  • We originally prepared thirty lessons, but when we decided to produce the ESL reader for a summer ESL outreach, we had to limit the number of lessons to ten. The ten lessons are designed to give the most essential biblical passages, four from the Old Testament and five from the New Testament, and then a final lesson that summarizes the major themes of the Bible as it presents the Gospel message.

  • Why does the first page start on the left?

  • We designed the layout of the reader such that the first page of each lesson appears on the left. We did this so that the student is able to read the passage and complete the true/false questions without turning the page back and forth.


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  • Why are there so many activities for the students, from true/false questions to matching to writing?

  • In a typical Bible study for native speakers of English, it is possible to move from reading a passage to discussing it in a matter of seconds. However, for ESL students, it is necessary to give them manageable steps. The first exercises focus on comprehension and allow the teacher to determine how well the students are understanding the passage. The vocabulary sections then give the students practice with key words that they may not know. The final two pages of each lesson have writing exercises that lead to oral discussion. Each exercise is designed to help the student more fully understand the text and eventually move them to the point where they can actually discuss it as well.


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  • Is it possible to have a class that is both an ESL class and a Bible study?

  • Yes, but it is a balance. The teacher must give proper attention to explaining the vocabulary and grammar of the passage. If the teacher moves too abruptly to discussing a major theme of the Bible found in the passage, the students may be lost. However, if the teacher spends too much time with one aspect of grammar or explaining the vocabulary, then the students may not grasp the important biblical lessons of the passage. We hope that the structured exercises in the reader will help the teacher keep the right balance.


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  • Who should teach using this curriculum?

  • If someone has training in TESL, it will not be difficult at all to teach with this reader. But we would encourage anyone willing to make mistakes and keep learning to try their hand at teaching with this curriculum. If you have a friend or two who are learning ESL, invite them to work through this reader together!

  • What kind of ESL student would benefit the most from this reader?

  • This reader would benefit most students in an ESL program where there is already a strong focus on grammar. The reader would allow such students to build their vocabulary and practice reading, writing, and speaking. However, any student of English who would like to learn about the Bible and the Gospel while improving their English skills should benefit from this reader.


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  • How might we organize our ESL outreach with this reader?

  • The ideal ESL outreach would involve one teacher for two to four students. If the teacher has some native speakers of English to assist in the class, then the teacher could teach even more students. In such a scenario, the teacher could direct the class as the tutors work with groups of three to five students. It may take an hour to an hour and a half for each lesson, depending on the level of the students. Consult Appendix B in the teacher's edition of the reader for more detailed suggestions.

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