PBLA eUnits/Modules on Avenue

The following PBLA-compatible modules are available on Avenue. Teachers can request any of these modules through their mentor and preview them in the PBLA Sample Modules course (available on their Dashboard).

Grocery Shopping (CLB 1L-2L)

Dealing with Emergencies (CLB 1L-2L)

Finding a Place to Live (CLB 1L-2L)

Numbers (CLB 1L-2)

Canadian Money (CLB 1L-2)

A Calendar (CLB 1L-2)

A Child’s Education (CLB 1L-2L) 

Saving Money When Shopping (CLB 1)

Back-to-School Shopping (CLB 1-2)

Work and Pay (CLB 1-2)

Personal Banking (CLB 1-2)

Insurance (CLB 1-2)

Finding a Place to Live (CLB 1-2)

Dealing with Emergencies (CLB 1-2)

A Child’s Education (CLB 1-2)

Safety at Work (CLB 1-2) 

Reporting a Lost/Stolen Bank Card (CLB 1-2) 

Canada: Provinces and Territories (CLB 2-4)


Canada: Population (CLB 3-4)

Work and Pay (CLB 3-4)

Internet and Phone Scams (CLB 3-4)

Online Banking (CLB 3-4)

Choosing a Bank Account  (CLB 3-4)

Dealing with Household Problems (CLB 3/4)

At the Walk-In Clinic (CLB 3-4)

Reporting a Lost or Stolen Bank / Credit Card (CLB 3-4)

Getting Around a City (CLB 3-4)

Shopping for Groceries (CLB 3-4)

Making Requests in the Workplace (CLB 3-4) 

Canada: Indigenous Peoples (CLB 3-5)

Canada: People and Diversity (CLB 3-5)

Taxes in Canada (CLB 3-5)

Online Shopping (CLB 3-5)

Avoiding Scams and Fraud (CLB 5-6)

Dealing with Issues in the Community (CLB 5-6)

Dealing with Common Health Issues (CLB 5-6)

Giving and Listening to Presentations (CLB 5-6)

Roles and Responsibilities in Workplace Meetings (CLB 5-6)

Giving and Receiving Advice (CLB 5-6)

Shopping Online (CLB 5-6)

Preparing to Attend a Workplace Event (CLB 5-6)

Participating in a Brainstorming and Problem-Solving Meeting (CLB 5-6)

Workplace Culture (CLB 5+)

Workplace Laws and Policies (CLB 5+)

Instructions and Procedures at Work (CLB 5+)

Making Requests at Work (CLB 5+)

Participating in Meetings (CLB 5+)

Participating in Online Meetings (CLB 5+)

 Resolving Conflicts at Work (CLB 5+)

Reading Product and Service Reviews (CLB 5+)

Getting Information From Tables, Charts and Graphs (CLB 5+)

Reading News and Feature Articles  (CLB 5+)

Taking Notes While Reading (CLB 5+)

Taking Notes While Listening  (CLB 5+)

Asking For & Receiving Feedback in an Annual Performance Review (CLB 7-8)

Arranging a Workplace Event (CLB 7-8)

Participating in Workplace Meetings (CLB 7-8)

Job Interviews (CLB 7-8)

Childcare Assistant EAL Curriculum

The Childcare Assistant EAL Curriculum, funded by the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO), is designed to support newcomers at CLB 3, 4, and 5 who have different levels of interest in, and experience with, early childhood education as a career.  With the support of MANSO’s Care for Newcomer Children Committee, a partnership with Avenue.ca, and expertise from our team of three curriculum developers, the course addresses the need for key language supports, employment-focused preparation materials, and culturally appropriate themes in the field of early childhood education.

The course ensures that in-person, online, and/or hybrid programs can use the materials as there is a PDF version (available on Tutela and the MANSO website by Friday, September 2, 2022) as well as an Avenue course. The materials are aligned with the Canadian Language Benchmarks and PBLA, including learning outcome statements, a module plan, and all skill-building, skill-using, and assessment tasks. 

Aside from using the curriculum in a LINC program for newcomers who are considering an early childhood education career, the materials may also be used to strengthen language proficiency for those who are seeking a Childcare Assistant (CCA) or Early Childhood Educator (ECE) certification. Finally, newcomers already working in a Care for Newcomer Children (CNC) or other childcare program may need an opportunity to brush up their language skills and cultural awareness of early childhood education in Canada.

The four topic areas explored in the curriculum for learners at CLB levels 3, 4, and 5 will provide ample opportunities for teachers and other educators to support newcomer women in their pursuit of careers in early childhood education.

The curriculum covers the following topics: Getting a Job as a CCA, Performing Daily Tasks at a Childcare Centre, Workplace Communication, and Workplace Culture

eSkills Modules Have Arrived

New National LINC Curriculum (NLOC) Ready for Second Round of Testing

The National LINC Online Curriculum (NLOC) project is pleased to invite avenue.ca users to our second round of testing of online courseware units for CLB-3 and CLB-4 units. This Fall, we invite you to peruse through and test the following units:

CLB Unit Name Unit Theme Unit Length 
Understanding Debit Card Safety Banking   ~4 hours 
Using Local TransportationCommunity~4 hours 
4Talking About a Neighbourhood Problem  Home and Neighbourhood~5 hours 

The courseware is targeted for self-directed learning, however it also offers flexibility as units can be delivered as part of a blended learning model. In both cases, it is important for instructors and learners to complete a unit in sequence. We recommend that learners go through the Orientation to the NLOC Courseware unit and that instructors use the introduction to NLOC Courseware video. These will be made available with any unit you choose. 

What is in it for LINC instructors? 

An opportunity to  

·         Save time in class preparation. 

·         Teach using off-the-shelf, PBLA-aligned online LINC courseware units.  

·         Contribute to the improvement of LINC courseware. 

What is the commitment? 

·         Use at least one unit (about 4-5 hours of classroom time) in your LINC class. 

·         Complete a short online questionnaire per unit. 

·         Have your learners complete a short online questionnaire per unit. 

  • Post comments or concerns in a teachers’ forum (not mandatory but encouraged).
  • Attend a Zoom interview with the NLOC team (not mandatory but encouraged). You will receive an Amazon gift card as a token of appreciation for your participation.  

We kindly request that you track your learners’ hours to complete the course to the best of your ability.

How can I request NLOC online units? 

1.       From August 20th, 2022, log in on Avenue.ca at any time and search “NLOC courseware”.  

  1. Peruse the units available and decide which one you would like to add and use in your LINC course. 
  2. Complete the registration form. Please ensure the registration form is completed by 4PM EST on Friday, September 9th, 2022. Courses will be made available to you within 2-3 weeks following this date. 

 Can I take a peek and decide later? 

Of course! You can add units to your LINC course at any time starting in September 2022. 

How can I receive more details about these online courseware units? 

  • If you would like to be kept informed of project progress, you can sign up to receive quarterly email updates.  
  • If you have any questions, please feel to contact me by email at rkhan@achev.ca

 Thank you for your time and contributions to the creation of PBLA-aligned NLOC courseware.

Nouveau: Lancement de la Formation Avenue!

Depuis 2010, New Language Solutions dirige le projet LearnIT2teach pour le bénéfice des instructeurs(-trices) de langues parrainés par IRCC. Nous sommes ravis de lancer la version française de ce projet, la Formation Avenue, en 2022 pour les programmes CLIC. Cliquez ici pour en savoir plus! 

TESL Basics for Language Volunteers

Does Your Agency Manage TESL Volunteers in the Classroom or the Community? Be Sure to Read On.

At New Language Solutions we recognize volunteers can be an important part of settlement language training. TESL Basics for Language Volunteers (TBLV) is an online course funded by IRCC. TBLV was developed to offer basic TESL training and orientation for volunteers working with newcomers in conversation circles and other informal language training, or for volunteers working as teacher’s aides in formal language training programs, such as LINC. The course was launched in September 2021 and our project is now partnering with 11 agencies across Canada to deliver training to front line volunteers. Would your non-profit agency like to explore partnering with us for this course? Read on….

The course was first piloted in 2018, after which it was updated and enhanced with TBLV movies, a podcast and an additional topic (Remote Volunteering).  The course was piloted again in the fall of 2020 and now it is available for local or regional adaptation and delivery! The updated course is about 15 hours in length, delivered online over a period of 7 weeks. Each week a new topic is introduced, including an introduction to the CLBs, working with lower-level learners, using realia, and volunteering in an online environment. Language volunteers receive some theoretical background, but first and foremost get lots of practical tips and suggestions on how to teach English as a Second Language.

We’re looking for IRCC-funded regional or local service providers to partner with us and here’s what we can provide: New Language Solutions will host the TBLV course for local SPOs and provide free training for local volunteer coaches on how to manage the course. These coaches will be trained TESL professionals with at least 2 years experience in the field, as well as experience using Avenue. Local or regional coaches will enroll and support their volunteers through the course and can modify the course with local resources. NLS will also provide the coaches continuing in-service support from our TBLV coordinator.

Curious to learn more? Watch our short promo videos or listen to our podcast:

Why Volunteer?


Interview with Shabana Shahzad, the Centre for Newcomers, about their local TBLV

Or, contact the TBLV Project Lead at MarijkeG@avenue.ca .

The benefits of LINC blended learning #8—-the last in our series. Our featured video for May is, “It improves language and settlement gains.”

Over the past two years the LINC Sector specifically, and Canadian settlement language training generally, have undergone a remarkable growth in skills and capacity with learning technology. As we hope for relief from the pandemic and think ahead, how will we put this new capacity to work longer term? Avenue.ca builds on what blended learning does best, providing as it does a virtual classroom (Moodle), communication and sharing tools, and an ever growing collection of PBLA-aligned eResources and tools, including a digital ePortfolio. Are you wondering about better practices for the years to come, and whether blended is best for our learner clients?

In 2017-18 an Avenue-LearnIT2teach Project evaluation team undertook a demonstration research project at a LINC program in Burnaby B.C. They looked into the impacts of blended learning. The report was released in 2019. The researchers identified multiple benefits of LINC blended learning. We’ve distilled the results into nine videos and taken a dive on them with expert LINC learning technologists. 

Each month, we’re focusing on one of those videos and the learner, teacher and program benefits it describes. This month we’re looking at the Introductory video and It improves language and settlement gains.

Watch all nine videos

Introduction to Extensive Reading

John Allan and Sepideh Alavi

Reading is important.  It helps us understand, learn and grow. In our role as language instructors, we include reading activities and resources to introduce and consolidate learning through vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and concepts. Usually, the instructor sets the parameters of these reading activities known as intensive reading.  Another approach that promotes further independent reading to familiarize students with their target language is called extensive reading (ER). Let’s have a closer look at these two reading approaches.

Extensive Reading vs Intensive Reading

Most of us use intensive reading methods in our classes.  This includes teachers distributing short passages, followed by comprehension checks for grammar, vocabulary and ideas.  Intensive reading is also characterized by students reading texts at the comprehensible input level (i+1) in the class. The focus of intensive reading is reading accuracy – reading for exact comprehension of details.

Conversely, the goal of extensive reading is to promote reading a lot of material for pleasure for language learners. This is achieved by offering learners the choice of reading content, schedule, pace and place.  Instructors guide learners to reading materials that are easy to read.  This removes barriers to fluent reading such as new vocabulary and difficult language structures. To ensure that students have read a text, a minor comprehension check must be passed. These comprehension checks are short and general.   

 Intensive readingExtensive Reading
Choice of contentteacherstudent
Pace of readingteacherstudent
Time of readingteacherstudent
Reading lengthshortlong
Reading materials levelteacherteacher
Reading leveli+1i-1
Assessmentteacher determined, mixgeneral multiple choice
Overall goalread to learnlearn to read
This table provides detailed comparisons between intensive reading and extensive reading.

Extensive Reading Background

Before the 1980s, extensive reading was considered to be one of several reading styles and strategies used by teachers to encourage more reading in their L2 classes. However, the focus changed after Day and Bamford’s seminal work, “Extensive Reading in the Second Language Classroom” was published in 1988. In this publication, they referred to ER as an approach, implying that it was more than just an isolated reading strategy, but rather an integration of reading activities based on ten important principles.  

1. The reading material is easy.

2. A variety of reading material on a wide range of topics must be available.

3. Learners choose what they want to read.

4. Learners read as much as possible.

5. The purpose of reading is usually related to pleasure, information and general understanding.

6. Reading is its own reward.

7. Reading speed is usually faster rather than slower.

8. Reading is individual and silent.

9. Teachers orient and guide their students.

10. The teacher is a role model of a reader.

Their work has inspired researchers and classroom teachers to study and use ER in a variety of different contexts and see firsthand how ER created gains in their students’ linguistic knowledge and skills including vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, writing, knowledge, as well as improvement of their attitude towards reading, motivation to read and L2 learning self-confidence.

While many of these studies originated in Japan and were followed by other Asian countries, there seems to be a scarcity of studies in Canada. To the best of our knowledge, only a handful of studies have been conducted in Canada, leaving a huge gap in the research and practical implementation of extensive reading in language learning situations, especially settlement language learning.  

Benefits of Extensive Reading

It is not that extensive reading is better than intensive reading, but it provides the students with an additional reading activity and exposure to the second language.  Extensive reading potentially offers students more reading practice which can only result in more incidental learning, reading speed and fluency. This may include expanded vocabulary, language patterns and new cultural contexts.  It fosters a habit of lifelong reading in their target language.

Extensive Reading Foundation

Extensive reading is championed by the Extensive Reading Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that supports and promotes Extensive Reading globally by offering a guide to support practical applications of ER, supporting the annual Language Learner Literature Award for the best new English graded readers, purchasing reading materials and providing grants to support institutions embarking on ER programs, and maintaining a bibliography of ER research.

Avenue and Extensive Reading

We are moving forward with an extensive reading research project at Avenue. Its goal is to evaluate the efficacy of extensive reading at the CLB literacy and one levels.  It is also our intention to locate and promote Canadian graded readers.

We have already moved through the background research and technology selection steps of our project.   In January 2022, an Avenue pilot course with instructor and student support documents and videos will be ready for our first trial.  Interested instructors should attend the Introduction to Extensive Reading (Part 2) on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 4 to 5 PM ET.


Our intentional outcomes of this research are to share findings based on data, surveys and observation, to revise technology if required, update support resources and launch an extensive reading feature within Avenue.


Extensive Reading Foundation   http://erfoundation.org/wordpress

Day, R., & Bamford, J. (1988). Extensive Reading in the Second Language Classroom. Cambridge University Press.

From Panicked to Professional – Learning Tech in LINC Today

Avenue – LearnIT2teach In-service Support During COVID, by Paul Carter

Paul Carter

As a Live Help Assistant for Avenue and LearnIT2teach I have had a front row seat for the unprecedented past 2 years of online and blended teaching in Canada. I will be telling the story of the early days of the pandemic on Live Help for years to come. I recall saying in the early days of COVID-19, “I have never, ever seen anything like this!” while Live Help was ringing off the hook…and it truly does ring, like an old-style telephone. In March 2020 for the first time in my experience, I was receiving call after call and fielding 4-6 calls simultaneously throughout every shift.

It was a time of panic. Teachers were suddenly thrown into remote teaching, and many were not prepared. Add to that the stress and isolation that came with the pandemic, it was easy to understand that some teachers were overwhelmed and trying to rush through the training. Many of the calls in those early days were for issues that were covered in the training courses that teachers had missed in their rush to get students online. Often some calming words and a link to the help file was all that was needed to get a teacher back on track. Others were struggling because of limited experience with technology, and these callers needed more support. Sometimes screenshots with arrows and notes did the trick, but in a few cases it was necessary to fire up a Zoom or Big Blue Button meeting and share the screen to help a teacher grasp what they needed to know to continue with the training and work with their students remotely.

For about a year after the pandemic started the Live Help remained extremely busy, but as time went on the questions started to change; teachers who had called about making a course visible in the early days were now calling for help creating HTML blocks and Assignments in their courses. I could sense this giant ‘pandemic-cohort’ moving through Stage 1 and Pre-Stage 2 en masse through the calls that were coming in. By the start of 2021 it was becoming less common to have calls about setting up a course and much more common to be fielding calls about course delivery and creating engaging content for learners – skills covered in Stages 2 and 3 of the Avenue – LearnIT2teach training.

Another notable difference around the start of 2021 was a change in the tone of the calls that were coming in. At the start of the pandemic teachers were clearly frazzled, frustrated, stressed, and desperate for immediate assistance and support. As 2021 went on the calls became much calmer, relaxed, curious, and frankly, more challenging to answer as the teachers were taking on more and more complicated features of the courseware and LMS.

With 2022 around the corner, the number of calls has dropped. The volume is still higher than pre-pandemic times. The questions too have changed; from panic driven emergency online teaching problems to professional inquiries about the finer points of creating accessible, user-friendly, engaging settlement language acquisition activities online. With so many teachers now refining their online teaching skills, the sky is the limit for learning technology in the LINC programs across Canada.

With that in mind, it is also very interesting to note that learners have experienced a similar learning curve with online and blended classes. Having interviewed 12 LINC provider organizations here in B.C., I can report that many students who originally resisted online learning have now come to embrace it. Many have now realized that they can study at their own pace and in their own space. Similarly, several programs have seen an increase in intake as students who could not attend in-person classes for a variety of reasons, from conflicting work schedules to family commitments to health concerns, now were able to enroll and begin their LINC language studies online.

Many teachers also reported a similar experience as they have come to appreciate the benefits of Avenue for course delivery; features like grading and reporting, the possibility for immediate feedback and auto-graded activities, an increase in one-on-one time with students via scheduled video chats, and the ability to work from home. Several providers reported that many teachers have commented that they would prefer to stay online or work with a blended course delivery format when the pandemic finally comes under control.

Having watched the LINC teachers across Canada go from panicked to professional on Live Help, I can attest to their resilience, their desire to learn, their ability to adapt, and their creativity and professional online resource development once they got their footing online…working with technology definitely has a learning curve, but once the first part of the climb is over, it just gets easier the higher you go. I can’t wait to see what questions come my way from my trainees and the Live Help callers in 2022. I’ve been amazed at what teachers have been creating this past year, and they are just getting started!

New Language Solutions Traditional Land Acknowledgement

New Language Solutions is based in Ottawa, Ontario. We acknowledge that our head office is on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. Beyond Ottawa, we have staff working in locations across Canada. New Language Solutions is grateful to have the opportunity to work as a guest in communities and territories across the country, and we honour the stewardship of the many Indigenous peoples who have resided on these lands since time immemorial.

We make our acknowledgement as a sign of respect for all Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, past and present. We accept the true impact of the past and the pain suffered by generations of Indigenous Peoples. As an agency that works to support the integration of newcomers into Canadian society and cultures, we resolve to support activities that are inclusive of Indigenous Peoples. We will make our best efforts to address a history of injustice to First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. 

We encourage our frontline staff and clients to discover whose traditional territories they live on and pause to reflect on the hospitality shown to us as guests in these territories.