Recommendations for High-Quality Nonfiction Texts


I'm looking for recommendations for high-quality nonfiction texts for adult English Language Learners. These texts would be used to support the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education and the push toward more rigorous instruction. Materials could be print-based or in subscription form and would need to be applicable to a range of learners at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. I welcome your feedback. Thank you,


Ruth Sysak


Hi, Ruth! Thanks for asking. I immediately think of workplace materials and Open Educational Resources (OER). I'll do some digging and report findings. I hope others here will jump in as well! Leecy

I like the texts at Readworks Even though they’re labeled as K-12, they are very suitable for adults, even the readings labeled at the kindergarten level. I especially like them because many of them provide audio support. Students can use the website independently or work through teacher assigned texts with reading comprehension questions and writing assignments.



Here's two lists our program has developed of leveled non-fiction texts as part of the Learning Gym model we're developing:

Grade level 0-3:

Grade level 4-8:

Read Works is good too though I find you do have to focus a bit to find adult-friendly and adult-interesting content.

Ruth, I'm not sure if the following matches your interest, but here goes.

Those of you who are getting to know me also probably know that I'm a real fan of Open Educational Resources (OER). Fortunately more and more materials are being licensed for open use. I looked through some of the lesson plans developed through the Adult Learning Zone: A Designers for Learning Project and picked three that might address your question. They are tied to CCRS.   The nice thing about OER is that you can use the materials in different ways. The following plans come with a Creative Commons(CC) License: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format.  Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.    1. OER Lesson Plan: Jazz, an American tradition (Created Jan. 17, 2017 by , Miguel Ángel Calvo) This lesson is aimed at adults who interrupted their education due to multiple problems. The purpose is to develop reading and writing skills while learning essential information about the musical genre of jazz. This lesson plan  has a student and an instructor version of the readings, adding a lot of fun activities to build academic skills.  2. OER Lesson Plan: Planning a kitchen garden– plant what where? (Created May 9, 2016 by David Cowell) The target audience of this lesson are adult learners at basic level who may have reading difficulties or need to refresh or improve their reading fluency and who have an interest in agriculture or gradening. (Same license as above) 3. OER Lesson Plan: Job Ads and Applicants: Elementary Discussion (Created Jan. 17, 2017 by Martin Tuttle) This group-work lesson is designed for students with beginner to low-intermediate communication skills. The purpose of this lesson is to help students to familiarize themselves with basic elements of job ads (e.g. job title, role responsibilities, minimum qualifications, and company description), and how to compare the description in these categories to target job applicants. Through this lesson, students will learn how to analyze a job advertisement and match example job applicants to the target job. They will also work to improve their discussion skills.   Other (Listed as OER in my search but I didn't see a license on the site.) - This site includes daily news written at a low level and read out loud for readers. Today's story? Gunman Kills At Least 17 at Florida High School. Reading Skills for Today's Adults (Funded by National Head Start Family Literacy Center/Sonoma State University): his project was designed to create leveled reading selections that are appropriate for and valued by adult learners.  These materials, combined with the research-proven strategies of repeated reading and guided oral reading, aid in building learners' fluency and comprehension skills.  The materials correspond to Casas 200 - 235.  This project helps adults become better readers and more informed consumers, parents, employees, citizens and community members.  The focus of these reading selections will be on topics such us:  Civics, Employment, Housing, Health, School, Money, and Government.    What additional OER resources can others suggest? There are many. Leecy