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The alphabet of illiteracy

Posted on May 11, 2016 by kierandonaghy

alphabet-of-illiteracy-cover

This ELT lesson plan is designed around a short film commissioned by Project Literacy and the theme of literacy. Students discuss problems related to illiteracy, practise vocabulary related to illiteracy, watch a short film, read a transcript,and  watch and discuss a promotional video for a literacy campaign.

 

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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Advanced (C1)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Discussing problems related to illiteracy, watching a short film, reading a transcript, watching and discussing a video

Topic: Illiteracy

Language: Vocabulary related to illiteracy

Materials: Short film, transcript and short video

Downloadable materials: the alphabet of illiteracy lesson instructions     alphabet of illiteracy transcript

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Step 1

Write illiterate on the board.

 

Step 2

Elicit or explain that it is an adjective which describes a person who cannot read or write.

 

Step 3

Put your students into pairs and ask them to think of all the problems an illiterate person might face throughout their life. Give them some ideas such as:

“An illiterate child isn’t able to pass exams at school.”

“An illiterate person can’t do a lot of jobs because they can’t read or write.”

“An illiterate person can’t vote in an election.”

 

Give them 10 minutes to come up with problems.

 

Step 4

Hold a plenary session on the problems faced by illiterate people; write up the most typical problems students come up with and discuss each problem.

 

Step 5

Tell your students they are going to watch a short video titled The Alphabet of Illiteracy. As they watch they should try to identify each of the problems faced by illiterate people illustrated in the film. Show the film.

 

Project Literacy – The Alphabet Of Illiteracy from Felt Music on Vimeo.

 

Step 6

Give the students a few minutes to compare their answers with a partner.

 

Step 7

Show the film again.

 

Step 8

Get feedback from the whole class on the problems they could identify.

 

Step 9

Give students the transcript and ask them to read it. Help them with vocabulary as necessary.

 

Step 10

Show the video again, pause at each problem and briefly discuss it.

 

Step 11

Now show the students the complete Alphabet of Illiteracy at the following website:

http://www.projectliteracy.com/abc

Go through the alphabet and explain any vocabulary as necessary, but don’t click on any of the letters.

 

Step 12

Explain that the video and alphabet are part of a campaign called Project Literacy to help fight against illiteracy. Tell them they are going to watch a short video which promotes the campaign.

As they watch they should think about the following questions:

  • Is it an effective video? Why/why not?
  • Do you like the video? Why/why not?
  • How does the video make you feel?

 

Show the video.

Step 13

Hold a plenary session based on the questions in the previous step.

 

Homework

Give the students the link to the Project Literacy website http://www.projectliteracy.com/abc

Ask them to choose 5 problems. They should click on each letter, find out more information about each problem and write a report on the 5 problems they have selected.

I hope you enjoy this ESL lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

Monthly subscription

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15 thoughts on “The alphabet of illiteracy

  1. This looks absolutely brilliant!
    There is so much I can use here. I’m tempted to use it right now with my Low-ints, but reckon it could work well as a whole week’s project work with my afternoon class.
    Thanks so much, Kieran.

    Simon

  2. I am so appreciative of this web-site. Thank you for sharing an abundance of beautiful films and quality ideas.

    I have shared the site with others and just purchased your book.

    Best,

    Tracy Day, Senior Instructor, Boise State University Intensive English Program

  3. Brilliant lesson – thanks Kieran! – and great way to introduce all these global issues into classes – my low level ESOL class loved it.
    Linda

  4. Thanks, Kieran, but too depressing for the last lesson of the semester before the final exam. However, I hope to see more advanced lessons from you again!

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