Perminder's Cleaning Day - Learning Activities


Community orientation and participation ESL literacy programs
Family ESL literacy programs

CLB Literacy Phase :

Phase I


YMCA of Windsor and Essex Co.



Target Audience:


This is a collection of worksheets that can be used in conjunction with the ESL Literacy Reader Perminder's Cleaning Day. I use a set of worksheets like this one over a period of one week.

No matter what the topic--whether the material is taken from a reader or comes from our own LEA Story that we write collaboratively in the class around photos we've taken of each other--I never veer far from the same set of activities.

OUTCOMES: I have very good results in helping students build their skills in phonemic awareness, sightword recognition and fluency when I stick to a predictable pattern throughout the week. I find students really enjoy the "how many times can you find the hidden word" worksheet, as well as BINGO day (Friday before break) and computer lab day (Friday after break). They love being completely self-sufficient in the lab, able to choose whether to work in SpellingCity or Starfall, and which area of those two websites they want to work in. Most newer students choose Starfall and veterans choose Spelling City. All sentences pre-loaded into Spelling City are taken directly from the week's text, so it's the same 10-12 new words plus another 12 recycled high frequency words (the, has, etc.) that they encounter on lab day.


I am striving to provide as many meaningful encounters with the same vocabulary as possible over a one-week period. (The theme itself, such as housing, will last at least a month.)

I am trying to provide a lot of variety in the types of activities we do. For example, we sometimes turn sentences from the text into chants, bringing the African djembe down off the top of the book cabinet for practicing the rhythm of English.


We start with a hook, such as a picture from the story. If it's an LEA, then I'll project a photo taken of the students themselves while they engaged in some activity, such as a field trip to the library. I try to activate prior knowledge, prime the brain for the topic, and get them talking about the picture.

By late Monday or early Tuesday we may begin reading the text together. First they listen silently and follow with their fingers as I read. Through the week they gradually move through choral repetition, individual repetition, silent reading alone or softly to each other in pairs to finally being able to read when I ask for a volunteer. Nobody is ever asked to read aloud unless he/she feels ready. Mine is a VERY low-stress class!

One activity they really enjoy with an ESL Literacy Reader from the Network is the audio version. They like it when I play the audio, but also when I scroll the screen down slightly (we have a projector board) to hide the text so that they can shout out the sentence that goes with each photo. Then I scroll the text back into view and press play, confirming their answers.

An early worksheet would be Wordshapes or the printing practice sheet that can be automatically generated from within By Wednesday or Thursday they are ready for A/B dialogues and peer surveys. Here they are using the language in new ways to glean real information from one another about their real lives. Also by Thursday they are ready for dictation or a crossword puzzle.

Friday is always BINGO day; BINGO is preceded by the flyswatter game, which students also LOVE. I never call on specific students for this game, but simply say, "I need TWO students." They make eye contact with one another and decide who plays whom.

I adore BINGO because Ss have to copy the 24 words, writing them legibly enough to be able to recognize them quickly during the game. They have to listen to the words being called out, read/recognize them on the sheet, and if they BINGO, they have to read five words back to me before being able to claim a prize. The prize table is full of brand new pencils, erasers, exercise books (four for $2 at the Dollar Store), and all the swag I pick up at conferences and expos.

After break we go to the computer lab where I will have pre-loaded the week's sentences into All the students have to do is open my blog using the shortcut that I've placed on the desktop of each PC in the lab. Some students LOVE typing the words into the spelling test until they achieve 100%. Some "cheat" by looking at their BINGO cards, but I don't mind because they are practicing finding the capitals on the keyboard and honing many other wonderful skills. Everything is self-paced. They will stop peeking when they are ready.


I'm pleased with the rate at which students are learning to decode and read. Although we are still only on short vowels and have not started learning about "silent e," I feel we are building a very firm foundation for when we move on. Students always capitalize the first word of any sentence, all proper nouns, etc. They wouldn't be caught dead skipping a period. We practice the basics like crazy with just enough new stuff to challenge, but lots and lots of repetition and recycling to build confidence.

As for what I would do differently.... I wish we could go out into the community for more hands-on learning. Once the weather warms up again, I may try approaching my supervisor for permission to do more of that (e.g., take the bus together, shop for groceries).

Related Information


Thank you

Thanks Kelly for sharing another fantastic Showcase! I especially enjoyed reading the "HOW" in your Showcase. It sounds like you do such a tremendous job scaffolding the activities in your class and supporting the learners. I really liked reading about how you use the audio version of the ESL Literacy Readers with your learners. Do your learners ever use the audio versions of the books at home or in the computer lab?

audio versions

Hi, Shelagh,

Thanks for the kind words, once again! I appreciate it.

Well, don't I feel foolish! I was about to answer your question regarding why students don't use the audio versions of the readers in the lab (most don't have computers at home), but wanted to double check and make sure the glitch was still a problem. All this time I have been right clicking and choosing FORWARD as the only way I knew to page through the story. I knew the students would not be able to handle that; they are still developing basic mouse skills. I stumbled upon the method I should have been using all along... hitting the arrow keys. Argh. So yes, NOW I'll show the students that they can flip through the audio books on their own.


Best, Kelly

Great advice

Thank you for that feedback Kelly on the arrow key. I have posted a blog on the audio version of the Readers. I will share your feedback on the audio books in the blog. 

The Readers Audio Version

Hi, Shelagh,

I finally figured out that the arrow keys work just fine, but you first have to CLICK once on the book area before they will work. After that, it's smooth sailing. Kelly

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