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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.


The ELIP Primary Resource provides clear guidelines for teachers about what should be included in an ESOL programme from beginner to more advanced stages, which supports learning in a range of curriculum contexts. It recognises that language learning is a recursive process, which means that in order to become proficient users of a new language; learners need repeated opportunities to be exposed to language features and to practise identifying and using them in a variety of increasingly complex texts. At the same time it allows room for teacher preferences and encourages flexibility in programme planning. Effective use of the ELIP Primary Resource will assist teachers to develop coherent programmes to enhance the acquisition of English for all students facing the challenges of learning in a new language.

The English Language Intensive Programme (ELIP) Primary Resource is a companion to the English Language Intensive Programme Years 7-13 Resource and contains adapted material from Foundation to Stage 2.

Rationale and description


Foundation and Stage 1 learners are beginner learners of English. They may be literate in their first language/s or may have had little or no previous formal education and may be unable to read or write in their first language/s. They will vary widely in their exposure to English. Some may speak a little English, but this is likely to be limited to basic interpersonal communicative skills in a limited range of contexts. They will need a strong foundation in the fundamental building blocks of written and spoken English.

Stage 2 learners in primary schools are those who have established a strong foundation for their English language. They will have acquired approximately a 1000-2000 word working vocabulary. They will be gradually consolidating their English skills. Early phase learners in late primary years will be well below their age level cohort but will be moving closer towards using and producing cohort level texts. They will still need considerable intensive support.

The example texts give teachers some guidance on the complexity of the text appropriate at each level and will enable teachers to select texts for other curriculum areas at a similar level. The ELIP Resource is based on the principles of a spiral curriculum, as the language outcomes are similar at each stage, but each successive stage has an increased academic demand.


The ELIP Resource includes:

  • an overview of the language outcomes focussed on in each stage
  • an orientation to learning section at each stage
  • example texts related to a range of curriculum areas for oral interaction, reading, understanding and responding and writing, at three levels of English, with annotations on text structure, language features and grammar scope to support each language outcome suggested teaching components and sample strategies, suggested themes, topics and experiences, suggested assessment tasks

None of the sections on teaching components, sample strategies, grammar scope, suggested topics/contexts or assessments is intended to be comprehensive. Teachers should be encouraged to select from and add to all of these sections as far as their own professional knowledge and teaching repertoire allows. However, this Resource should support those teachers who are less confident in their knowledge about language, or uncertain about the level of text to choose and what teaching and learning strategies could be used to meet the language outcomes effectively.

The ELIP Primary Resource contains 3 stages (Foundation, Stage 1 and Stage 2). These stages are based on a language acquisition progression from a beginner level to a more advanced level of English oral language and literacy study in either a a mainstream class or an ESOL programme. Most of these learners will already be literate in their first language, but a small number, mainly some students from refugee backgrounds, will need intensive and long term support at Foundation Stage and Stage 1. Many beginners may be using texts and tasks from both these levels simultaneously, while they consolidate their Stage 1 skills.

The resource does not represent the full range of types of texts that learners will encounter. Many classroom texts contain mixed text types, that is, a recount may contain a passage of description, or a procedure may include a section of explanation. The example texts are intended to be seen as typical in their text structures and language features. Likewise, the grammar scope will need to be expanded as teachers focus on particular points of importance or interest which may arise. Many of the grammar points require extensive scaffolded explanation suited to the context. For example, focusing on nouns will be different at each stage as there are many different aspects of nouns, not all of which are referred to in the grammar scope or language features. Also, not all aspects of verb phrases, such as all tenses, are explicitly referred to. Teachers will need to introduce these individual additional grammar points as appropriate, taking into account the readiness of the learners in relation to the broad pathway of additional language acquisition.

Explanation of Stages

The Foundation Stage of the programme is for beginning English Language learners. It can also address the learning needs of older students whose readiness for English language acquisition is likely to have been affected by factors such as:

  • interrupted or no schooling
  • learning disabilities
  • low levels of L1 literacy
  • trauma
  • no prior exposure to English

Teachers of beginner intensive English classes may find Foundation Stage an appropriate additional tool for screening students’ entry level English language and literacy skills. Assessing students against outcomes, measured by identifying which of the learning components they have mastered, could be helpful in planning beginner class programmes, as students in these classes typically represent a wide range of proficiency and L1 literacy levels. 

Early Literacy Focus

Foundation and Stage 1 outcomes overlap especially in oral interaction because the Foundation Stage student typically achieves English oracy skills in the same way and at approximately the same pace as their Stage 1 counterparts. Particular focus is given at Foundation Stage to explicit teaching of the initial literacy and oral language skills which are essential for all beginning English language learners. These are specified in the teaching components for these stages and must include a systematic phonemic awareness programme which explicitly teaches the names and sounds and the written forms of letters, consonants, consonant clusters, vowels, and vowel blends. They will also need a systematic vocabulary teaching and learning programme which allows them to master the first 500-1000 most frequent English words.


Students at Foundation Stage require specific support to achieve the literacy skills which underpin all successful reading and writing, as well as explicit support in developing their oral language in a range of domains. They need to develop an extensive sight vocabulary and to begin to establish clear links between the spoken and written systems of English with a systematic phonemic awareness programme. Foundation Stage outlines the learning of these skills across the key learning areas using student-centred methodologies and a range of appropriate teaching approaches and strategies.

It should be noted that not all outcomes from one stage may be achieved before the student moves from one stage to the next. Moreover, some students may be working at different levels in different modes: they may be working at Stage 1 in oral interaction, and Stage 2 in writing, or Stage 2 in reading, understanding and responding and Stage 1 in writing. The choice of the stage at which a student should be placed must be based on careful diagnostic and formative assessment.

Stage 1

There are some very simple short texts and some longer more complex texts in all strands of Stage 1. This is to allow for joint deconstruction and reconstruction of texts, alongside independent construction. The more complex texts, for example the text on Jean Batten or the text on turtles, may seem very difficult in comparison with the other Stage 1 texts. However, students can be shown how to write only one sentence under each of the text stages, but have seen a model of an expanded text. Much research on the comprehension and text production of English language learners suggests that they learn better when using more difficult texts with lots of support rather than highly simplified texts.

Stage 2

The text length increases in varying degrees for Stage 2, and the complexity of the sentence structures in the Reading and Writing strands also increases. In the oral interaction at Stage 2, learners have to listen for detail and produce more extended oral texts.

Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4 and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8

It is envisaged that the ELIP Primary Resource could be used in conjunction with Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4 and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8 which are the Ministry of Education’s guideline documents for literacy learning across the curriculum. These documents are a rich source of research and guidance in effective teaching and learning, including “learning to learn” strategies and complement the ELIP Primary Resource.

Using the Resource - teaching and learning components

It is extremely important to understand that the ELIP Primary Resource is not a collection of texts to be taught in isolation. The texts should be used as part of well-scaffolded units of work. For example, the Stage 2 text about Antarctica for the Language Outcome - Reading, understanding and responding to an information report - should be taught as part of a unit on Antarctica. In several of the example text pages, there are references to websites which contain many useful supplementary resources at a range of reading levels. Some of these are additional units of work on related topics. There are also a number of websites which provide illustrations and information to support the literature referred to in the example texts, such as ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, and ‘Whale Rider’. Te Kete Ipurangi, the Ministry of Education’s education portal, has materials related to a number of the texts in all strands of the ELIP Primary Resource.There are many other internet sites which support other example texts.

Also, these units should integrate the three strands of oral interaction, reading, understanding and responding, and writing. Many of the texts in these three strands can complement each other and be used interchangeably, although the emphasis of the teaching components will alter according to the strand. The orientation to learning strand assists the development of independent learning.

Orientation to Learning

These outcomes describe the types of behaviours which are required from learners in mainstream classes. Not all learners will require to be taught all the learning behaviours, but those with no prior formal schooling will need to have the Foundation and Stage 1 behaviours explicitly and firmly established in order for them to be able to learn in the classroom. The Stage 2 Orientation to Learning outcomes lead students towards being independent learners. It is important to supplement these outcomes with a pro-social skills training programme for students who are not used to formal schooling and social interactions. Examples of pro-social skills training modules are Anger management or Finding a friend: pro-social skills micro-modules might include “how to interrupt politely”, “how to ask for the teacher’s help”, “how to disagree politely”, “how to give praise to a peer”. Many students need explicit help with these interactions.

Oral Interaction

These texts are examples of the types of oral texts that learners are required to comprehend and produce in a variety of contexts, including community contexts. At Foundation and Stage 1, they include examples of interactions necessary for communicating at school. The written ELIP Primary Resource Oral Interaction sections have been supplemented by an oral resource DVD which was provided with the English Language Learning Progressions in 2008. The oral interaction texts in the folder can also be used as role plays by students.

Reading, Understanding and Responding

These outcomes apply to both silent reading and reading aloud, as the teaching components indicate. It should be remembered that silent reading is only possible when the text is at the independent reading level of the learner or when it is at instructional level and carefully supported with a variety of guided reading scaffolds, such as an advance organiser, or a set of question prompts. At Foundation and Stage 1, the teaching components strongly suggest a phonemic awareness programme, so that sound letter correspondences (including clusters and blends) are firmly established for both individual letters and vowel and consonant blends.

The teaching components at Stage 2 include drawing attention to syllabification and chunking text to promote fluent reading. In addition they encourage building understanding of prefixes, suffixes and word stems to increase word knowledge. All texts promote a focus on word, sentence and whole text analysis.


The Foundation Stage of writing explicitly demonstrates the fundamental skills and understandings that learners will need to have established in order to begin to manage classroom learning. The Stages 1-2 then model text structures and describe language features of typical classroom tasks. There are likely to be many learners who will enter school in the primary years already competent in these skills. Diagnostic and placement assessments will determine this. The content of texts used in Stages 1-2 as writing models is, like that of the texts for oral interaction and reading, drawn from a number of curriculum contexts.

Using the Resource - links with mainstream teachers

Using the Resource: links with mainstream teachers

It is desirable for the ESOL teacher to familiarise the mainstream teachers with the resource, explaining the teaching components, sample strategies, the text structures and the language features of texts applied to each outcome for each stage for three reasons. Firstly, understanding of some of the language features and text structures of texts in the curriculum areas will assist mainstream teachers to support the language acquisition of English language learners. Secondly, the sample strategies may enhance the ability of mainstream teachers to choose a range of strategies to engage English language learners. Thirdly, mainstream teachers may be able to share in the assessment of these outcomes in mainstream classes, particularly at later stages of language development. Using the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP) will also assist mainstream teachers to understand additional language acquisition.

This sharing should be a gradual process, perhaps facilitated through a series of in-school professional development sessions using the self-access ELLP professional development manual as a model. There are likely to be other language and learning intentions and outcomes which are part of the ESOL teaching and learning programme. Assessing and reporting on these additional outcomes will be integrated into these teaching and learning programmes. It should be reiterated that any of the tasks in an ESOL programme, including the models presented here should be part of a carefully planned and scaffolded teaching and learning sequence. The DVD Making Language and Learning Work: Years 5-8 provides examples of effective teaching showing the integration of language and content area learning.

It is recommended that teachers choose the Outcomes relating to the same text type in each of the domains of oral interaction, reading, understanding and responding, and writing when planning a unit which integrates the three.

Teaching and reporting on outcomes

The rate of progression of students through the different stages of the ELIP Primary Resource will be determined by a number of well-recognised factors such as level of literacy in first language, experience of continuity or interruption in prior schooling, adjustment to school, and family circumstances. The ELIP Resource is not intended to be seen as a linear programme model. Students may progress at different rates in oral and written language development and may need intensive support in one area more than another.

Formative and cumulative assessment of student progress should occur in a wide variety of curriculum contexts as appropriate, throughout the teaching of the programme. Formal assessment should occur towards the end of each Stage. Suggested tasks for assessment can be found on the (a) pages of the ELIP Primary Resource.

Using the Resource - presenting the examples

Using the Resource: presenting the examples

When presenting the materials to the students, it is recommended that example texts either be copied onto individual sheets, laminated and kept as a class set, or be photocopied as enlarged texts for large format screens or projectors. The text size should be no smaller than size 16 or 18 font. The language features could be copied onto a separate OHT and overlaid. It is essential to teach the text structure of each example, so that learners understand the stages of a typical text. Some texts have illustrations which have been designed to enhance comprehension of the written or spoken text. It is recommended that these illustrations are included in the students’ version of the text. This especially applies to sequencing a series of illustrations relating to a procedure or an information report.

Layout of the English Language Intensive Programme Primary Resource

Teaching components identified as key points to consider for achieving each outcome are located on the (a) pages. This is not a prescriptive list and teachers may choose to add points where applicable. Teachers may also find it useful to use Sample Strategies, which are also located on the (a) pages, as a quick reference for finding various teaching strategies appropriate to achieving outcomes. We should reiterate that these are indeed samples and there are many other strategies that should be used as well. In addition, teachers should be considering which teaching structures (i.e. whole class, pair work, mixed/same language groups, same/different English language proficiency groups etc) best suit the purpose of each learning task.

Suggested themes, topics and experiences which provide suggestions for appropriate contexts for teaching each of the outcomes can also be found on the (a) pages, along with assessments. These lists are not prescriptive, nor is it compulsory for all the suggestions to be used.

The grammar scope on the (b) pages is provided as a reference resource to support teachers in the preparation of their teaching and learning materials. The grammar points should be linked to each text. It is important to try and explain not just the “what“ of a grammar point but also the “why”. For example, when teaching the different forms of the present tense, e.g “I am writing”, “I write”, students should learn not only the form of the tense, but that the present tense is used to indicate that something is happening now - at the present time - or that the present tense is also used to indicate a continuous or timeless state (unchanging). e.g. Elephants are large.

Note: The grammar scope is primarily for teacher reference, so that teachers can draw the attention of students to the language features typical of different texts. It is not suggested that all the grammar items be explicitly covered with the student at one time, but over a gradual period, with opportunities for repetition and practice. Teacher knowledge about language can be supplemented with information from grammar texts which promote teaching and learning grammar at whole text level, rather than isolated sentences and words which are divorced from curriculum related texts. A select list of helpful grammar texts can be found on ESOL Online.

The example texts provide the teacher with a guide to the level of text and a range of typical texts with which the student should be able to work. Some students may be capable of using longer, more complicated texts within each stage, while others may need additional support or simpler texts. The range does not include all the different forms of text which the students will encounter, for example there are no advertisements. However, teachers can add these into the ESOL programme as they link to mainstream classroom texts and tasks. The example texts are located on the (b) pages or, if applicable, the (c) and (d) pages. These pages also provide a teacher reference to text structure and language features for a teaching and learning focus.

Published on: 06 Aug 2020