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  • Academic English Reading and Writing Level I (ESLS 023)
  • Date: March 2, 1987.? Revised and Updated: March 2003.
  • Sponsoring Department: Communication and Languages
  • Semester Credit Hours:? 6 NC credits
  • Weekly Contact Hours: 6
  • Prerequisites:  ESL/ACT Placement Test Score within thedesignated range for this course.

 Academic English Reading and Writing Level I is the first of a four-part series of ESL courses designed to prepare students for reading and writing at the college level.

  • Reading and writing are taught as related processes, and the course also emphasizes vocabulary development, dictionary use, critical thinking, and information technology.
  • Students at Level I write narrative and descriptive paragraphs with a focus on accuracy at the sentence level, development of topic sentences, and basic punctuation.
  • In addition, students at Level I read both intensively for analysis and extensively at a low-intermediate level (1200+ word vocabulary). For billing purposes, this is considered a six-hourcourse.
  • Entry and exit from the course are determined by scores on the Reading and Grammar sections of the ACT ESL test.


 Academic English Reading and Writing is a course for non-Englishspeaking students who plan to pursue an academic degree orcertificate.

  • Data obtained from testing during the Fall 2002 term suggest that 50% of the ESL students at the college plan to continue academic study after ESL courses.
  • Because all degree and certificate courses require successful completion of English I, ESLstudents need intensive preparation for the reading, writing, thinking, and information skills required for that course.
  • This four-level series of classes offers such intensive preparation.


 Academic English Reading and Writing is part of the academic track in ESL.

  • Students who place into Academic English Reading and Writing may also take an English Grammar course (the level for grammar is determined by the Grammar portion of the ACT ESL test)and a Listening and Speaking course (determined by the score on the Listening portion of the ACT ESL test).

V.Outline of Course Content

 Reading Skills:

  • Predicting
  • Timed reading (at regular intervals to measure progress)
  • Intensive reading (selections from text or newspaper for in-depth analysis and discussion)
  • Extensive reading (Penguin reader selection; longer work)
  • Peer reading (students read the work of other students)
  • Comprehension exercises
  • Opinion/response activities
  • Communicative activities: role play, interviews,discussion
  • Scanning for specific information
  • Re-telling key events of a story or key parts of adescription
  • Finding main ideas and supporting details
  • Making connections between readings


  • Using a dictionary (guidewords, alphabetical order, multipledefinitions, parts of speech)
  • Synonyms and antonyms
  • Prefixes and suffixes
  • Grammatical forms (plural, possessive, past, etc.)
  • Meaning change (un-, re-, etc.)
  • Part of speech change (-ness, -ly, -ify, etc.)
  • Guessing from context.
  • Organizing vocabulary study


  • Sentences: parts of a sentence and completeness
  • Punctuation for sentences
  • Document format
  • Paragraph structure: topic sentences and supportingdetails
  • Revision/editing
  • Descriptive paragraphs
  • Narrative paragraphs
  • Writing in response to readings
  • Dictation
  • Peer review and publication of written work
  • Timed writing exercises

 Information Technology and Research

  • Composing documents with a word processor
  • Saving, retrieving, and editing with a word processor
  • Using Campus Pipeline as a class tool
  • Using email to communicate with the teacher
  • Finding information on the RVCC website
  • Introduction to the RVCC Library

VI. Educational Goals and Learning Objectives


In Academic English Reading and Writing Level I,students will engage in the primary tasks of any academic pursuitat a basic level: reading, critical thinking, research, andexpository writing.? Students will use what they know about Englishto improve comprehension in reading, apply knowledge to writingtasks, and analyze information that they receive from texts,electronic sources, and other resources.

Learning Outcomes:

At the conclusion of Academic English Reading and Writing I, students should be able to:

  • Read short assignments at a speed of 75 words per minute
  • Identify the main idea of a short reading selection
  • Recall facts from readings (fill in the blank, multiple choice,and short answers)
  • Use titles, sidebars, graphs, and pictures to predict contentprior to reading
  • In their own words, re-tell key events from a reading passage
  • Read a simplified novel (Penguin Reader level III)
  • State opinions in response to reading
  • Use information from reading to make simple charts orgraphs
  • Use facts from readings to make choices

 In addition, at the end of the course, students should be ableto:

  • Locate an entry in an English-English dictionary
  • Identify parts of speech and definitions in an English-English dictionary
  • Match meaning and/or grammatical function to basic prefixes andsuffixes
  • Label synonyms and antonyms
  • Predict meanings and parts of speech for new words, usingsentence clues
  • Organize a visual system for learning and reviewing vocabularyinformation

Also, by the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Write a paragraph with simple sentences from dictation
  • Re-write a story using own words
  • Answer questions based on reading passages in completesentences
  • Write a paragraph with appropriate mechanics: capitalization,indention, periods, commas, and quotation marks
  • Write a narrative paragraph with a topic sentence andsupporting details
  • Write a descriptive paragraph with a topic sentence andsupporting details
  • Revise written work, based on teacher comments
  • Self-edit written work with some guidance from the teacher

 Finally, at the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Use a word processor to create a document
  • Save, retrieve, and edit documents on the computer
  • Access class information through the Lion's Den (loginrequired)
  • Find an appropriate graded reader in the library

 VII.Modes of Teaching and Learning

  • Lecture/discussion
  • Small-group work
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Guest speakers
  • Oral presentations
  • Student collaboration/revision/editing
  • Independent study
  • Writing workshop
  • Research projects (internet and library)

VIII. Assessment Instruments

  • Written work: sentences and paragraphs
  • Comprehension exercises: multiple choice, fill in the blank,etc.
  • Group and individual reading projects
  • Timed readings
  • Traditional exams
  • Computerized, interactive post-test
  • Timed writing sample

IX. Grade Determinants

The student will score significantly higher on the Grammar andReading sections of the ESL/ACT Compass Placement Test.

(In order to advance to the next level, the student must scorewithin the designated range for that course.)

Letter grades determinants:

  • Intensive reading tests (at least 5 per term)
  • Extensive reading project (Book Report)
  • Vocabulary journal/quizzes
  • Dictation exercises
  • Formal writing samples (in-class and out of class)

 X. Texts and Materials

  • Maher, Beth, and Haugnes, Natasha.? NorthStar: Focus on Reading and Writing (Basic, Level I).? Includes a workbook andaudio cassettes. Published by Longman.
  • Penguin Graded Readers, Level III.
  • Longman Basic Dictionary of American English.

XI. Resources

  • Computer Based Instructional Materials: English Mastery, Smarthinking Tutorial Service, Daedalus Integrated Writing Environment, and other optional resources.

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