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English as a Second Language

"Our church reaches out into the local Hispanic community. We found out that we are learning a great many things from them and it is a two-way exchange. They are teaching us the importance of relationships and hospitality, of which we busy Americans can use a good dose! It's happening just by being together night after night in our ESL classes."

Joanne's Page for ESL Teachers
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church

English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes are an excellent way for a church to provide a needed service and develop long-term relationships with new arrivals in their community.

ESL doesn't have to be a formal class. International students are eager to practice their English in conversation with Americans, so several churches in the Seattle area offer informal evenings of food, fun and conversation, in a program called Talk Time. For more information, visit for dozens of conversation starters and Talk Time topics.

Looking for Bible-based ESL materials? These excellent books will help you teach your students the basics of English and the basics of the faith at the same time. The books include teaching resources such as word lists at the end of each chapter, fill-in-the-blank exercises for students, answers to questions with additional scripture references, and tips for teaching ESL.

Handbook for Teaching Bible-Based ESL
by J. Wesley Eby
96 page booklet
Beacon Hill Press, 2003
The Life of Jesus Christ
(ESL Bible Study of Mark)

by J. Wesley Eby
88 page booklet
Beacon Hill Press, 2003
Teachings of Jesus: Level 2
(ESL Bible Study)

by J. Wesley Eby
72 page paperback
Beacon Hill Press, 2004
What Christians Believe
(ESL Bible Study)

by J. Wesley Eby
56 page booklet
Beacon Hill Press, 2003
How Christians Grow
(ESL Bible Study)

by J. Wesley Eby
56 page booklet
Beacon Hill Press, 2003

The Institute for Cross-Cultural Training offers free articles online to help volunteers become better ESL teachers. They also publish a CD, Getting Started in Teaching ESL/EFL: Resources for Christian Educators, and they are giving the first copy free when mailed to addresses in the U.S. The CD may be duplicated. Contact:

Susan E. Burke has written a new book, ESL : Creating a Quality English As a Second Language Program : A Guide for Churches which shows you step-by-step how your church can start an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. (Order it now from Amazon to support our ministry.)
Another Bible-based resource is Learning English With the Bible: A Systematic Approach to Bible-Based English Grammar , by Louise M. Ebner.
English in Action by Wally Cirafesi is a Christian-based ESL series which includes the English in Action Teacher's Manual and English in Action Student Workbook.

Literacy and Evangelism International
(LEI) has developed a Bible-based ESL curriculum geared for use by lay volunteers.

You can purchase their materials at the LEI website, or from Multi-Language Media. Be sure to visit their site to read inspirational ESL tips and stories.

"Be flexible and teachable. You will learn much and receive untold blessings from God. By being more than a teacher and becoming a real friend, you will build the bridge of trust so that Christ can cross into their hearts."

You may also be interested in our resources for teaching children English and other languages, links to Children's Bibles in several languages, and links to flannel board sets.

Be sure to visit Joanne's Page for ESL Teachers, a very rich site. Joanne shares tips for teachers, resources and more based on her ESL ministry at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church.

Books for Teachers
Here are some of the best-selling books on teaching ESL. Follow the link to for descriptions and reviews. (If you choose to buy online, 5% of the price will help cover expenses of our ministry.) The stars are readers' ratings from No stars means the book had not been reviewed at the time of this writing.
The Gift of the Stranger:
Faith, Hospitality, and Foreign Language Learning

by David I. Smith and Barbara M. Carvill
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2000
A Year In the Life of an ESL Student: Idioms and Vocabulary You Can't Live Without
by Edward J. Francis
Trafford Publishing, 2006
Easy & Engaging ESL Activities and Mini-Books for Every Classroom
by Kama Einhorn
Instructor Books, 2001
Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach:
The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults

by Jane Vella
Publisher: Jossey-Bass, 1997
American Idioms and Some Phrases Just for Fun : An Esl Meaning and Usage Workbook Contains Both Practice Exercises and Tests
by Edward Swick
Teaching English As a Foreign or Second Language:
A Self-Development and Methodology Guide
by Jerry G. Gebhard
Univ of Michigan Press, 1996
Esl Teacher's Activities Kit
by Elizabeth Claire
Prentice Hall Trade, 1998
101 Bright Ideas: Esl Activities for All Ages
by Claire Maria Ford
Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1996
The Esl Teacher's Book of Lists
by Jacqueline E., Ed.D.
Center for Applied Research in Education, 1993
Ready-To-Use Flannel Board Stories, Figures and Activities for Esl Children
by Elizabeth Krepelin and Bonnie Mae Smith
Center for Applied Research in Education, 1995
English Teaching As Christian Mission:
An Applied Theology

by Donald B. Snow
Herald Press, 2001
Making It Happen:
Interaction in the Second Language Classroom: From Theory to Practice

by Patricia A. Richard-Amato
Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1996
The Idiom Advantage: Fluency in Speaking and Listening
by Dana Watkins
Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1997

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