Blogger Ariel Barreras

ESL at Home: English Language Learner Family Literacy Kits

Like many communities across the country, my library’s community has a growing immigrant population, particularly families with young children. Immigrating to a new country comes with many challenges and libraries can be of service to this population through programming and collection development. To help this population, I have recently added ELL (English Language Learner) Family Literacy Kits to our children’s collection through the help of generous grant funding. This is a completely new program at my library and we are excited to see where it takes us! In this post, I will tell you about what is included in each kit and how this can serve immigrant families.

What are ELL Family Literacy Kits?

The English Language Learner Family Literacy Kits are kits that aim to supplement or introduce families to English language learning resources and activities. The goal of this program is to not replace formal ESL instruction, but to be an additional resource for families.

Image of English Language Learner Family Literacy Kit items.
Courtesy of author.

What is in each ELL Family Literacy Kit?

All of the kits were made by me and other staff members. Deciding what would be in each kit was a tough decision.

What helped me was to theme each kit; some themes for these kits include clothing, family, food, and places. I then added items related to that theme, including a picture book and a set of flashcards. In addition to those themed items, I include an item that would encourage practicing English through reading, writing, and/or speaking, such as conversation cubes and sentence flip stands. For the adults, I included a copy of Easy English News and a bilingual pocket dictionary. The whole family can complete the activities together!

How Are These Cataloged?

Through my library’s cataloging system, I added these kits as uncataloged items. This allows us to have item records for each kit, track their circulation counts, and add them to patrons’ library cards at check out.

Where Have You Promoted these Kits?

Everywhere! I have promoted this service through the library’s website and social media channels. I attended the local schools’ Back to School Nights and shared the flyers with all of the ESL teachers in the school district. We will also include a short presentation on these kits in future outreach events.

As stated earlier, this is a brand new program for our community and we are excited to see how our patrons utilize them!

What are some services that you provide for English Language Learners in your community?


  1. Kary Henry

    Thank you for sharing this idea! I’d love to hear how your patrons utilize these great kits. For a few years now, I’ve hosted an EL Family Night at the Library and worked closely with the EL teachers in our school district to do so. It’s been a very successful partnership!

  2. Kary Henry

    Thanks for this post! Your kits sound really interesting, and I hope you have success with them. For quite a few years, I’ve run an EL Family Night at the library, with help/support from the amazing EL teachers in the elementary/middle school district. Each year, we have focused on a different theme to expose families to various aspects of the library. This year, even our Makerspace got involved and hosted a station during the event!

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