Word Bank Lessons for Newcomers & New Learners

Are you looking for vocabulary lessons for your students who are new to the English language? ESL Library’s Word Bank section offers ready-made lessons on vocabulary sets that you would find in a picture dictionary.

Target Learner

With an influx of refugees over the past few years, we have received many requests from teachers looking for vocabulary lessons to use with literacy students.

At various conferences and meetings, ELTs have told us that it is almost impossible to find high-quality literacy materials for English learners. Most have told us that they are constantly creating their own materials and relying on free, mismatched clipart that doesn’t always print nicely.

We hope our NEW ready-made lessons will save teachers time. Currently, subscribers are using these lessons with newcomers, literacy students, and young learners. We will be adding more sections for Young Learners in the upcoming months, including Fun Grammar Lessons.

Lesson Themes

The Word Bank lessons are divided by genre. You will find lessons in the following themes.

  • The Home
  • Animals & Nature
  • School & Work
  • People
  • Places & Transportation
  • Sports & Activities
  • Food
  • Holidays
  • Verbs & Prepositions

More lessons for each theme are coming soon!

Sample Topics

Here are a few sample topics from the Word Bank section:

Lesson Tasks

Each nine- or ten-page Word Bank lesson comes with the following:

  • a picture dictionary
  • word puzzles & spelling bee
  • a question set (optional for higher beginners and young learners)
  • a listening exercise (download or stream over Wi-Fi)
  • flashcards

Note: The Question Time section may be too difficult to use with your lowest learners. You can choose not to print this page, or you can use it with students who are more advanced. You may choose to use this page later in the year when your students have been exposed to more of the language. As a teacher, you can decide whether you want your students to write or say the answers in this section.

Audio Tip

Each Word Bank lesson comes with one listening exercise. You can download the audio or stream it in class (if your school has Wi-Fi). The audio is designed for the absolute beginner or literacy student. Students only need to write a number next to a picture. If you teach higher-level beginners, you can ask them to write the word beside each picture. You may need to pause the audio to give students more time to write a full word.

More Tips & Ideas

Here are some more suggestions for using ESL Library’s Word Bank lessons:

  • try focusing on one theme per week
  • review the set format of the Word Bank lessons (they will become more confident learners when they know what to expect)
  • have students file Word Bank lessons by theme in a binder (consider using color coding)
  • try using the flashcards before and after each lesson
  • don’t forget to work on pronunciation
  • consider having a student dictate the audio transcript the second time through the listening task for pronunciation practice
  • match themes to ESL Library’s Lesson Plan Calendar to make learning more relevant
  • print large copies of any flashcards that students are having trouble with and place them around the classroom
  • save paper by showing the flashcards on an interactive white board or projector
  • give students the opportunity to pick the topics they want to learn about
  • send additional topic requests to the ESL Library team (many more lessons are currently in progress)


Each Word Bank lesson focuses on 9–12 words. Are your students ready to learn more words? Look for related vocabulary in our Flashcard Library. See Tanya’s post on 10 Ways to Use Flashcards in Class.

Here’s a demo video featuring all of the print options for ESL Library flashcards (updated video coming soon).

Multilevel Classes

While our Word Bank lessons may be at a suitable level for your newcomers or literacy students, you may also teach students who are at a higher level. If you teach on theme, check out the Related Materials section under each Word Bank lesson. You will often find other materials on the same theme that you can use with your higher level learners.

We hope you find the Word Bank section useful!

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