ESL Rural Routes Newsletter

Community Profile


Tips and Hints

Current News

Online Workshops


Have you developed resources or discovered unique ways to meet your community’s needs? Would you like to be in our Community Snapshot feature? Contact us to share your knowledge and ideas. Email

Regions Map


R1: Northern Region
R2: NorQuest Stewardship & Eastern Region
R3: Central, Calgary & Red Deer Region
R4: Southern Region

Check out our ESL Rural Routes website!

The Rural Routes website has launched successfully. We’re excited to see the increase in users and hope you will share the site with tutors and other ESL providers in your community. We are especially hoping you are able to connect to a variety of resources and begin conversations on the discussion board. The consultants will be checking the forums regularly to answer any questions you may have.

December 2015

Community Profile: Bow Valley Literacy Program

Community name: Banff, Canmore, Dead Man’s Flats, Exshaw, Harvey Heights, Kananaskis, Lac des Arcs, Morely and Lake Louise.

Organization name: Bow Valley Literacy Program

Contact person: Deb Penninga, Coordinator,


Community Profile

The Bow Valley Literacy Program, along with its parent organization, the Bow Valley Learning Council, serves the communities of Banff and Canmore (with a combined population of over 21,000) as well as the MD of Bighorn, Kananaskis, and Lake Louise. 

English Language Learner Support Services

The main focus of the Bow Valley Literacy Program is to create learning partnerships between volunteer tutors and literacy learners or English language learners. 

Community Challenges

Our community is very spread out, making it difficult for individuals in smaller, more remote areas to access learning opportunities. 

Community Support

Our community has a great network of support for learners and service providers, including the following:

  • Banff, Canmore, and MD of Bighorn libraries
  • Community Learning Network

[Read more]


For students:

For instructors:

  • Hands on! A collection of ESL literacy activities. Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre, 1999.
  • Practitioner Toolkit: Working with Adult English Language Learners. From The National Center for Family Literacy and The National Center for ESL Literacy Education at the Center for Applied Linguistics (2004). This resource is designed to give support to adult education and family literacy instructors who are new to serving adult English language learners and their families in rural, urban, and faith- and community-based programs. The focus is ESL and family literacy.

For curriculum and instruction, here are some classics:

  • Brown, H. D. & Lee, H. (2015) Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
  • Harner, J.(2007). How to teach English. UK: Longman.
  • For pedagogical grammar:
    Azar, B. & Hagen, A. (2009). Understanding and using English grammar, (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Longman.

Tips & Hints

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
~ Benjamin Franklin

Rural Routes Tip Sheets, created by Sara Gnida, ESL Rural Routes Regional Consultant. Tip sheet topics include, but are not limited to Learning Assessment, ESL Literacy, Needs Assessment, and How to Become an ESL Teacher. To find these tip sheets and others, visit:

Current News

We would like to welcome Jeanne Spearman to the Rural Routes Team! Jeanne has a B.Ed., Special Ed. Certification and a Masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. She has been working with ESL students for over eight years. Jeanne recently returned to Canada from an overseas teaching position and began working for NorQuest College as a LINC instructor. She is enjoying her new role as a Rural Routes ESL Consultant.

Literacy and Learning Symposium

We enjoyed seeing familiar faces and meeting new people at this event. The Rural Routes team looks forward to seeing you again soon. To book our services, please contact us: (780.644.6207) or (780.644.6301).

Get to know more about ATESL

Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language (ATESL) is a professional organization that promotes quality teaching and English language program provision for all learners in Alberta whose first language is other than English. It also provides many special professional development opportunities to its members and non-members with ESL interests, including monthly workshops, an annual conference, and an online resource library.

Rural Routes and ATESL signed a one-year Memorandum of Agreement for the year 2015-2016 to work cooperatively to strengthen the relationship between Rural Routes and ATESL. 

[Read More]

Get Free LINC Programming in your Community!

Do you want to start offering English language training in your community? Are you looking for a way to provide more ESL training through your CALP? Do you have a waiting list of permanent resident ESL learners looking for English Language classes? NorQuest College is pleased to offer face-to-face and online LINC programming in rural communities.

Learn more about LINC RDP and LINC Online.

To become a LINC RDP site, complete and submit this quick and simple application form.

This program is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and tuition is free to those who qualify. For more information, to set up a class, or to register, please contact us at or 780.644.6700.

Note: Communities that are eligible for LINC face-to-face programming must be located north of Ponoka. LINC Online can be offered anywhere!

Online Workshops

ESL Rural Routes will be offering a selection of online workshops. This provides a broader range of training than might be available in a particular location. Our introductory ESL Tutor Training workshop will be offered once a month to ensure that new tutors receive training in a timely manner. Go to the Rural Routes Events page to register. Login information and links to handouts will be sent to registered participants two days prior to the workshop. 

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