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In this multisession workshop, adult educators will be introduced to many illustrated books that address a variety of diversity and social justice issues: racism, gender identity, family structure, social class, and more. The course will include examples and discussion of how to use these types of books in ESOL, ABE, and family literacy programs to stimulate discussion, develop learners’ writing and reading comprehension skills, and expand their knowledge of U.S. and global history. 


    This professional development activity/course is designed for:

  • ESOL, Family Literacy, ABE and ASE teachers and advisors

In this multisession workshop, participants will become familiar with many beautifully illustrated books that you can use to teach deep reading comprehension skills, vocabulary, essay writing, language structures, and pronunciation. You can also use these books to teach content that is important to adult learners, including healthcare, child advocacy, civics, and U.S. history. In the first session, we will focus primarily on building on the cultural and background knowledge that adult learners already have—exploring books that may serve as “mirrors” for these students. In the second session, we will broaden our exploration to include books that are “windows” for some learners. We will introduce concepts (e.g., gender identity, different religious beliefs and traditions, or how the U.S. government works) that may be less familiar to some learners and may sometimes take them (or their teachers) outside their comfort zones! Throughout the two sessions, we will also discuss how to support adult learners to read and discuss these books with their children.

An optional third session will be offered for those who want to try out the resources and strategies and come back to discuss what went well and what obstacles they encountered.

Participants will leave the two-session course with:

  • An extensive bibliography of beautifully illustrated books and materials that can be used in adult education classrooms
  • A repertoire of strategies that can be used to help adult learners deeply understand literature and nonfiction texts, while building on their existing background knowledge and/or introducing them to new ideas and experiences
  • Identification of one or more books to use in their ESOL, ABE/ASE, or family literacy classes

Follow-up coaching is available through SABES to support you in integrating new tools and strategies into your teaching practice. To arrange a coach, please contact the PD Center Director, for ESOL, Dori McCormack, at; for ELA, Evonne Peters, at

    Learning Objectives

    Upon completion of this professional development activity/course, you will be able to:

  • Use culturally diverse, illustrated texts to:
    ○ Build on the background and cultural knowledge of adult learners
    ○ Foster learners’ excitement about books that reflect their life experience as well as books that introduce them to new concepts, settings, cultures, etc.
    ○ Develop learners' deep reading and interpretation skills
    ○ Address topics and themes that are important to adult learners through reading, class discussions, and writing
    ○ Inspire shared reading and discussion between parents and children
    ○ Expand learner's content knowledge of civics, global awareness, and current issues
  • Evaluate strategies for using diverse texts in the ESOL and ABE classroom that reflect all kinds of diversity (language, nationality, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, family structure, abilities, religion, class, etc.)
  • Align instruction using diverse, illustrated texts to address the standards and benchmarks in the CCRSAE and MA ELPS
Presenter(s) / Facilitator(s)
03/14/2023 - 1:00 pm to 03/14/2023 - 3:00 pm
03/21/2023 - 1:00 pm to 03/21/2023 - 3:00 pm
04/11/2023 - 1:00 pm to 04/11/2023 - 3:00 pm

United States

PD Center
C&I PD Centers Collaboration
Topic Area
Civics and Citizenship
Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Teaching
Curriculum Development
ADEI (anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion)
ADEI Professional Growth
ESOL/English Learners
Family Literacy
High School Equivalency (HiSET/GED)
MA ELPS (Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Standards)
Social Studies
STAR (STudent Achievement in Reading)
Self-Paced Monthly Offering