C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

March 1, 2010

March 2010 Newsletter

Filed under: General — Jenn @ 10:52 am

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

March 2010

What Can We Do?

I was trying to track down a series of graded readers in the Library Catalog recently– they are books that I know we have on the shelves, books popular with our English language learners and new readers.  What I found in my search was just how challenging it can be to find what you’re looking for.

The books, all part of the Oxford Bookworms collection, are categorized in our catalog into many different, smaller series.  For example, The Age of Innocence is part of the Oxford Bookworms Library, Stage 5, Classics series while Chemical Secret can be found in the Oxford Bookworms Library Stage 3, Thriller & Adventure Series.  Which category each book falls into depends on the information supplied the publisher– some books only have a stage, but no genre.

These series assignments could be used by students to find books at a certain level or to learn titles of books that are similar to ones they have already read.  But are they used?  Subject headings like “Readers for New Literates” are likely not useful to students looking for books they think of as “graded readers”– even I have to take a moment to remember the exact wording of that awkward phrase supplied by the Library of Congress.

While subject headings and series titles are provided to us by outside entities, the librarians who catalog our Readers for New Literates and High Interest Low Vocabulary books, have the ability to add other descriptors to the book’s electronic record.

What can we do to make the materials that students want and need easier to find?  What are your students looking for and what are the terms that you use in class to describe these materials?  Do you have suggestions for other ways we can make library resources more accessible to your students?  Send your thoughts my way– we’re always looking for ways to help your students.

Graded Reader Series in the Library

Resource of the Month


Scholastic Online

Anyone who read as a child or reads to children is familiar with Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books.  Like any successful 21st Century company, Scholastic has a strong web-presence that is more than simply a showcase for their print products.I’d like to highlight two areas of Scholastic.com:  Student Activities and Teaching Resources.  The Student Activities portion of the site hosts interactive features designed for school children from Pre-K through 12th grade.  Despite the marketing toward youth, however, there is much in this content for the ESL, ABE or GED student.  Topics in all grade groups include Language, Math, Science and Social Studies, with a wide variety of  games, interactive activities, video and audio content.  For example a Pre-K social studies entry called “Community Helpers:  See What they Do”  is image-based with clicking activity.  Grade 9-12 social studies includes the great-looking Research Starters:  tips, topics and resources for research projects on topics ranging from the Olympics and World War II to Extreme Weather and Dinosaurs.

Additional student activities include Scholastic News (currently featuring the crisis in Haiti); Computer Lab Favorites; Write and Publish, a series of online writing “workshops”; and Reading Response, a book review writing and reading page.

The Teaching Resources content is equally chock-full of transferable projects, ideas, lesson plans, and more.  As in the Student area, Teaching resources are organized by grade-level with content in Reading, Language, Social Studies, Science and Math.  A unit plan, like Literacy for Life provides pertinent information about the subjects covered, the appropriate grade levels and how long the unit will take to cover in its entirety.  Along with links to purchase Scholastic materials, the site provides links for “Reproducibles”, free PDF handouts and worksheets.  All unit content can be printed out or emailed for easy access.

Naturally, some content on Scholastic.com requires purchase or subscription, but there are enough idea-generators and free interactive tools to make exploring this site worthwhile and interesting.  Check it out now and tell me what you think!


January 4, 2010

January Newsletter

Filed under: General — Jenn @ 1:49 pm

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

January 2010

Happy New Year, Happy New Semester

Welcome back– I hope everyone had a relaxing winter break.  I did, but my house is so cold during the day, I was almost looking forward to coming back to work!

Unfortunately, I only have a couple warm days in the Library to look forward to for the time being– as of January 7th, I will be taking a short leave of absence.  I’ll be back by mid-February, but in the meantime this leaves ESL, ABE and GED without a Library liaison.Although I will be checking my email periodically, I recommend that anyone requesting a Library orientation or Library instruction to contact Carol Eisinger (eisinger@cod.edu), the librarian who will be handling my instruction requests during my absence.   She will reserve class space in the Library for you and your students and if your class time falls before my return, she will schedule a librarian to provide a tour, exercise, orientation, or any other activity that you request.

I hope that my leave won’t cause much disruption, but if you have any concerns, please feel free to contact my Associate Dean, Ellen Sutton (suttone@cod.edu ext. 2659).

Please continue to send materials requests to me– I’m always looking for books, CDs, videos and other resources which the Library can purchase to support your instruction and your students’ learning.  Before the break, I purchased two series of high-interest, low-vocabulary books from Grass Roots Press— both at the Grade 1 level.   You can also expect a few more Oxford Bookworms Starter-level readers.  Also soon-to-be-added are beginner and intermediate copies of Let’s Chat ESL Dialogues and Pronunciation Pairs from New Readers Press.

Here’s a short list of some new titles that are available now:

Resource of the Month

The Learning Edge is an interactive literacy newspaper.  Although this Canadian resource has only twelve “issues”, users can still find something useful here.

Early editions of Learning Edge mimic a newspaper’s front page, with headlines, introductory paragraphs and illustrations.  Users click on an area of the page to select a story or feature, opening up a new window.  Depending on the selected content, the user may have options to read (and listen along to) a graded story or take a quiz on healthy life choices.  Read-along sections provide users the opportunity to review, rewind and follow up with learning activities.

Later issues  deal solely with workplace issues such as crafting a resume, setting goals, workplace safety, and finding internships.  Each section continues to offer read-along and interactive content.

While the Learning Edge is interactive, the options are fairly basic and limited– more computer savvy or younger students may get frustrated with the slow pace and basic animation.  On the other hand, the site does not require much more than basic computer skills such as mouse handling– a good match for students who might be overwhelmed by advanced sites with many options.

December 2, 2009

December Newsletter

Filed under: Newsletter — Jenn @ 12:14 pm

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

December 2009

Making a List, Checking it Twice

One of my favorite things to do as a librarian is collection development. On one level, it’s shopping– flipping through catalogs, browsing websites, scanning displays, and making wish lists and placing orders. When my ordered items arrive, it’s a bit like Christmas– new stuff! What fun!

The other part of collection development is weeding– the closet cleaning part of the job. We all like getting new things, but sometimes it’s not as much fun to get rid of the old stuff. It was great when we got it, maybe it will be great again. Sure it hasn’t left the shelf in a year, but it might come in handy some other time. These excuses might sound familiar to someone who can’t bear to part with the bags of out-of-date clothes or unused still-in-the-box appliances that take up space in attics, closets and basements.

Some things that should get thrown out stay because there simply isn’t a replacement. The Library holds on to any number of cassettes, VHS tapes and even slide carousels (!) because 21st century versions aren’t available. If a student really needs the content, he or she will have this dated version to turn to (and a librarian to help explain how it works!).

As the semester winds down into Winter Break, I’m spending some time purchasing and weeding. I have a stack of catalogs I haven’t had time to review and a budget that has barely been touched. Perhaps it’s the lingering effects of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I’m in full holiday spending mode. This month would be a great time for you to send me your own Wish Lists– are there books you wish we had? resources your students look for? tools that could help you do your job?

I’m also looking for your favorite ESL/ABE/GED publishers? Who, do you trust? Who has the best offerings at conferences? To whom do you turn year after year for quality materials? Send along your favorites by email or in the comments of the online newsletter. I’ve listed some of my favorites below– visit their sites, do some window shopping and send your wish lists my way!

Happy Holidays and enjoy your winter breaks!


Grass Roots Press www.grassrootsbooks.net

Heinle ELT www.elt.heinle.com

New Readers Press www.newreaderspress.com

Oxford University Press www.oup.com/us

Test Taking Resources

Learning Express Library:  This electronic resource is one of the best known and most used test-preparation tools the Library offers.  LEL not only offers practice for students taking named exams such as the GED, TOEFL or occupational exams, but can assist students with placement test through the many skills improvement sections.

GED Prep: Search the Library catalog for “General Educational Development Tests Study Guides” and find over 60 books, DVDs and interactive tools for GED and pre-GED exam prep.  Many books and videos are also available in Spanish versions.  These materials are available in the Library’s College and Career Information Center.

Math Placement Test:


Books and Textbooks

Writing Placement Test:

Reading Placement Test:

Resource of the Month

Teachers’ Domain

From Teachers’ Domain: “Teachers’ Domain is an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television.  These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards.”

The content on Teachers’ Domain is geared for K-12 education, but the media resources and handouts can be used to reinforce learning for students of any age.  Subjects include Arts, English, Math, Science, and Social Science.  All media (audio, video, web pages) have accompanying information, depending on the subject– background essays, detailed lesson plans,   discussion/follow-up questions, and more.  Registration is free, quick and easy.

November 1, 2009

November Newsletter

Filed under: Library Instruction — Jenn @ 8:00 am

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

November 2009

Getting to Work via the Library

Access to job, work and career resources is just one of the services that the Library can offer to our students.  These materials can be especially useful to ESL, ABE and GED students– many of you already bring your students to the Library to explore these resources.  If you’re not familiar with what we have in the Library, here are a few of our “less obvious” options:

Did you know that the Library hosts workshops for recently unemployed adults? Neither did I, until recently! The Career Exploration Workshop for Recently Unemployed Adults is a new offering here at the Library, made available in conjunction with College of DuPage Counseling and Career Services. This session is just one of the many ways the Library can help students and community members find jobs, change careers and explore employment opportunities. Check out our Events calendar to find out when this workshop and others are being offered.

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the Library’s College and Career Information Center (CCIC)? But did you know that the CCIC has the DuPage area’s largest collection of books and audiovisual materials on job search, career, and college information? Me neither! This “library” within the Library, is an invaluable resource for job-seekers of any age, career-interest or skill-level. Take a look at our Job, Career & College web resources and you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg: the CCIC has resources on every type of job from accounting to zookeeping, plus the materials that will help you study for those jobs and apply for them.

Learning Express Library is a popular resource for students who want to hone their skills– whether they’re studying for the GED or getting extra practice with writing and reading. But Learning Express Library is also an exceptional tool for job hunting, career exploration and professional exam preparation. Job Search and Workplace Skills covers business writing, the search process, resume writing and interviewing. Jobs & Careers will aid students who are exploring occupations or studying for exams.

Job and Career Resources for ABE, GED and ESL Students

Introductory/Basic English career series

Work and Business Skills

Resource of the Month

Career OneStop: America’s Career InfoNet

The Library’s College Career Information Center describes ACINet as a “must see” website. And no wonder: this site has everything. A menu at the top of the page directs users to Explore Careers, Salary + Benefits, Education + Training, Job Search, Resumes + Interviews, and People + Places to Help. Further down the page are areas for occupation, industry and state information. Beyond that are areas of interest for particular users, including students and jobseekers.

The sheer amount of information available on America’s Career InfoNet might be overwhelming to some students who are less comfortable navigating the Web, but the site make printing and emailing content fairly easy– just look for “Print this page” or “Email this page” at the top of the screen.

The search box, also at the top of each screen, allows users to bypass the many tables of contents, indexes and other navigation tools and find what’s needed immediately. Results tend to be fairly accurate and easy to work with.

ACINet is one part of Career OneStop, a U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored Web site, so you can feel confident in referring your students to this resource for accurate and useful information whether they are researching a career or looking for a job.

September 28, 2009

October Newsletter

Filed under: Newsletter — Jenn @ 4:38 pm

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

October 2009

Library Cards

When our students begin a semester of classes, they generally start off with a number of school supplies. Whether they purchase new notebooks, pens and pencils or just dig through desk drawers to find a sharp pencil, most students know the importance of arriving prepared with the tools they need to learn.

The stores may have aisles filled with the products we’ve come to expect at the start of the school season, but one essential tool for students in not available at the supermarket, drug store or even Amazon.com– the Library card.

A Library card is as essential a learning tool as a calculator or a textbook– often it becomes invaluable when those items can’t be obtained when necessary. Did you know that students can borrow calculators for in-Library use with their Library cards? Did you know that you can put a copy of your course textbook on reserve for students who have to wait for financial aid awards before they can afford to purchase their own? These are just two of the out-of-the-ordinary things you and your students can do with a Library card.

These days, when money is tight for everyone, a Library card can provide students, faculty and staff with many money-saving options– from inexpensive entertainment options (DVD rentals for $1) to free access to newspapers, magazines and learning tools.

September was Library Card Sign-up Month, but it’s never to late to encourage your students to get a card. All they need is a photo ID, proof of present address (a drivers license will cover both) and a copy of their current class schedule. Students with C.O.D. IDs can have their IDs activated as Library cards at the Circulation Desk.

Students at Westmont, Addison, Naperville, and Bloomingdale can get their cards directly from the front desks at these off-campus centers.

You can also get cards for your entire class by having your students fill out a Library Card application– contact me directly and I will email you the form. Simply return the completed applications to me with a copy of your class roster via campus mail– we’ll send your students’ cards back to at your mailbox location or mail the cards directly to your students.

I hope that you will encourage your students to get and use a C.O.D. Library card. In addition to the materials that can help support their studies, students will have access to a wide range of books, periodicals, films and music

Free (or Cheap) Fun for your Students


  • The Library’s Feature Film Catalog has thousands of titles including movies of every genre, international films, TV shows and more. Popular films rent for $1 for 1 week. DVDs are excellent tools for English language learners.
  • The Library has a sizable collection streaming media, too– online educational films and documentaries. Also, take a look at the database “Theater in Video” for drama fans.


  • Students can borrow CDs from the Library and enjoy classical, jazz, movie soundtracks, world music and more.
  • Real audiophiles can come into the Library and explore our record collection. Nearby turntables with comfortable couches provide a relaxing atmosphere for easy listening.
  • Music Online is a fantastic database for music lovers, featuring streaming audio, video, reference, and even musical scores. Many genres are represented in the following collections: Classical Music Library Smithsonian Global Sound American Song African American Music and Contemporary World Music. There are even weekly free downloads!

Magazines and Newspapers

  • Students can keep up to date with local and national news through the Library’s many newspaper databases. In addition to the scholarly journals you may already use, the Library also has America’s News Magazines— a database that includes Time, U.S. News and World Report, Parenting, Sports Illustrated, Real Simple and more!

Resource of the Month

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day


Although high school teacher Larry Ferlazzo has created his website for ESL teaching and learning, his Best Of series is a great directory of tools for instructors and students of any subject.

Organized by subject, the Best Of series presents links to Ferlazzo’s favorite websites. His reviews and recommendations are quick by thorough. For example, The Best Websites To Teach & Learn Life Skills is a top ten list of websites with one or two sentences describing each.

Hyperlinks, while subtle and easy to miss, take you directly to the recommended sites. Ferlazzo is also very good at providing links to related Best Of lists. His Life Skills list refers readers to The Best Websites For Students Exploring Jobs & Careers and The Best Sites For Learning Economics & Practical Money Skills.

Websites cover both a wide range of topics and a wide range of interests– you and your students can use these tools to enhance learning, to explore resources, express creativity, as well as sharpen computer literacy skills.

One word of warning: Ferlazzo has been reviewing sites since 2007, so some older lists (and certainly some newer ones, as well) may refer to extinct sites or contain dead links. With many recommendations in each subject, however, you’re almost sure to find a gem that sparkles.

September 27, 2009

Research 101

Filed under: New Resource — Jenn @ 3:27 pm

Are your students working on a research project?  Would you like to introduce yours students to library tools, tips and tactics?  Looking for a research refresher for yourself so you can better instruct your students?

Research 101 is a six-unit, self-paced online tutorial designed to introduce  students to the basics of college research.  Each unit covers an important segment of the research process and can stand alone as a primer or be incorporated into your own curriculum.  Units have review quizzes, activities and handouts.

Research 101 is a new tool for the Library and was designed to help librarians and faculty reach students who are new to academic research or need refreshers on certain topics.  If your students do research, please consider referring to Research 101, incorporating it into your class or assigning any part of it to your students.

We’d love to hear your experiences after using and exploring Research 101– give us your feedback at http://www.cod.edu/library/research/research101/feedback.htm or share your comments here.

As always, feel free to email me directly at kelleyj@cod.edu

September 8, 2009

Library Card Instant Gratification

Filed under: General — Jenn @ 2:32 pm

Here’s some great news– just in time for Library Card Sign-up Month!

Teaching at Westmont, Bloomingdale or Naperville this semester?  Your students can get a Library card at the front desk of any of these C.O.D. Off Campus Centers.  That’s right– skip the whole application process and send your students directly to the front desk where they can get their Library cards right away.  Students simply need a driver’s license or other photo I.D. and proof of current enrollment.

Teaching at another off-campus location?  Just have your students fill out Library card applications then send them to me (or directly to Library Circulation) via campus mail along with a copy of your MyACCESS class roster.  When the cards have been created for your students, we’ll send them back to your mailbox for distribution.

August 19, 2009

September Newsletter

Filed under: Newsletter — Jenn @ 2:38 pm

C.O.D. Library ESL/ABE/GED Faculty Newsletter

September 2009

Welcome Back!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Jennifer Kelley, the library liaison for the ESL, ABE and GED programs. I’m your contact person in the Library and also someone to whom you can refer your students. Below, you’ll see a short list of “What Your Librarian Can Do for You”– these are just a few of the things I can help you with!

One of my favorite things to do for my faculty is to share this newsletter with you. Every month, you can count on an update on Library news, lists of new or notable materials (books, videos, software), a recommended electronic resource, and more.

I’ll email you a link to the online newsletter as soon as it’s available, but you can always visit any time you like at https://codlibraryell.wordpress.com. There you can see archived newsletters, the occasional newsflash update and a long list of online resources for you to explore. You can even share your comments and questions right on the website! If you’re more of a traditional print-out paper kind of person, don’t worry! I always attach a PDF of the newsletter to the monthly email, as well.

What Your Librarian Can Do for You

  • Help you to identify and locate ESL and ABE/GED resources for teaching and student use.
  • Support your students’ Library instruction via customized group sessions, library tours, and library card acquisition.
  • Collaborate with instructors on the design and development of student assignments.
  • Find information to answer basic reference questions as well as assist you in locating information for ESL and ABE/GED curriculum related projects.
  • Assist you in finding and securing library materials from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan.

Library Tours and Orientations

Each semester, I look forward to meeting and working with the students taking ESL, ABE and GED classes. You can schedule a Library tour or orientation for your students at any time during the school year, but I recommend getting them started early so they can take advantage of our resources immediately.

A library session can be short or the entire length of your class. It can involve a research project or a simple assignment. It can take place here in the Library or in your classroom– even if you’re off campus!

Take a look at our Library Orientation menus for some ideas of the sessions and activities we can offer your students:

If you can’t fit a Library visit or activity into your schedule this semester, don’t worry– your students can still get an introduction to the Library. This fall, we’re offering 50-minute Library Orientation sessions, every Monday through Saturday between August 31 and September 14th.

Orientation logoThese classes will cover all the basics that new students need to get started in the Library– from getting a Library card to using the online catalog to find books, movies and more.

Students can register in-person at the Reference Desk, by phone (630) 942-3364, or online at http://services.codlibrary.org/emailpage/orientation.php

Sessions are geared toward traditional students, but will surely benefit higher-level ESL students as well as ABE and GED students looking to familiarize themselves with Library services.

Resource of the Month

The Internet Public Library takes the guesswork out of the internet. Having trouble finding reliable online resources? Students using junk websites for assignments? IPL collects the best and most trustworthy examples of reference websites and makes them available in an easy-to-use website.

Users can search IPL as they would Google to find related entries or browse through the Subject Collections, Ready Reference, Reading Room and more.

IPL not only provides great online research and study tools, but they also index and provide links to online newspapers from around the world. The site is fun and easy to use.

August 4, 2009

Fall Library Orientations

Filed under: Library Instruction — Tags: — Jenn @ 9:00 am

Want your students to get an introduction to the Library, but don’t have time in the semester to schedule a class visit? Encourage your students to attend a free 50-minute Library Orientation! The Library will be offering these basic introductory sessions Mondays through Saturdays between August 31 and September 14– morning, afternoon and evening.

Students will learn:

  • How the Library can help them find information– any information!
  • How to find books, videos, CDs and more in the Library’s collection
  • What to do when what you want isn’t in the Library
  • How to get a Library card and the benefits of having one
  • Where to look for articles from magazines, journals and newspapers
  • How to evaluate a website
  • How to use the Library’s website to get information, answers and help

If you’d like to offer your students extra-credit for attendance, we will be issuing certificates of completion at the end of each session. Students can also register for a gift certificate to the Bookstore and enjoy free cookies!

Students can register in-person at the Reference Desk, by phone (630) 942-3364, or online at http://services.codlibrary.org/emailpage/orientation.php

Sessions are geared toward traditional students, but will surely benefit higher-level ESL students as well as ABE and GED students looking to familiarize themselves with Library services.

May 28, 2009

LessonWriter makes literacy worksheets a cinch

Filed under: Internet Gem — Tags: , , — Jenn @ 11:10 am

LessonWriter is a free online lesson plan/exercise creator.  Users can go in, whip up a reading activity in very little time and print it out for immediate use.  With the short time it takes to complete the short registration process, users can also save lesson plans, organize them by course and even receive recommendations from LessonWriter on what activities to create next!

Steps involve copying and pasting your lesson text into LessonWriter.  A free account allows text up to 400 words.  Click “Submit” and LessonWriter pulls dozens of potential vocabulary words from the provided text along with short sample sentences of the words in use.  You go through and select or deselect your vocabulary preferences.  The same procedure allows you to customize selected pronunciation, roots and stems and grammar; design  short answer, multiple choice or essay questions; and even add images or graphic organizers to your lesson sheet.

When you’ve made all of these initial decisions, LessonWriter gives you several “Accommodation Options”, allowing you to determine whether you want, for example, vocabulary to appear before or after the short reading.

The final result is a printable, professional-looking worksheet that you quickly, easily customized for your students.

Check out LessonWriter– I think it’s an impressive and easy-to-use tool.  And it’s free!


an example of vocabulary questions developed by Lesson Writer

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