Reading and Composition Skills for Upper Intermediate Students of English as an Additional Language

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
English Language Learning and Acquisition
Course Code
ELLA 0760
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is for students who wish to upgrade their reading and writing for personal, educational and/or employment purposes. The course is designed for students who have some composition experience and intermediate listening and speaking skills. The course emphasizes specific reading skills such as predicting, scanning, skimming, surveying, guessing meaning from context and notetaking. Students will use ideas from readings to write different types of expository paragraphs and short compositions. Students will also practice organizing ideas, revising and editing. Exercises will help students clarify and elaborate supporting points, proofread for errors, and use grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary accurately.
Course Content

Reading Skills

Follow the ideas and information in readings (up to 4 pages), which may include narrative, descriptive, expository and literary genres.

  • Follow written instructions (~10-13 steps) that may not be presented step by step.
  • Use pre-reading techniques to prepare for a reading task.
  • In expository texts, identify purpose and/or issue, overall key idea, main ideas, key details and implied meanings.
  • Follow organization of a text and paragraphs within a text.
  • Employ different reading techniques according to purpose of task.
    • Scan for specific information.
    • Skim for main ideas/gist.
    • Read in-depth.
  • Identify author point of view, bias and tone.
  • Identify style and register.
  • Make inferences, draw conclusions and/or predict outcomes.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
    • Compare and contrast information.
    • Analyze and evaluate information.
    • Compare information to own experiences and opinions.

Identify and evaluate information in formatted texts such as schedules, directories, course calendars, graphs, tables, charts and diagrams.

Follow the ideas and information in personal/social correspondence.

Determine meanings of unfamiliar words in course materials.

  • Use an English-English dictionary.
  • Use prefixes to determine meanings and suffixes to identify grammatical uses.
  • Use several types of context clues, such as parts of speech, related words, and other sentence clues.

Find materials in the library.

  • Use both digital and print resources.

Use study skills.

  • Take notes: outline text; make margin annotations.
  • Interpret visuals in text material.
  • Prepare for tests: T/F, completion, matching, multiple choice and short answer.
  • Learn content from text/class materials.


Writing Skills

Write compositions (up to 3 paragraphs).

A. Prewriting

  • Generate ideas from personal experience and readings.
  • Select and narrow topics.
  • Create paragraph frameworks/outlines which include focused topic sentences, supporting ideas and details.

B. Writing

  • Follow format instructions.
  • Develop and support one idea in a multi-paragraph (2-3 paragraphs) composition.
  • Write topic sentences with specific controlling ideas.
  • Develop unified, specific, fully developed supporting details.
  • Create coherence within and between paragraphs using appropriate transition signals and pronoun reference.
  • Use appropriate text organization and discourse markers to signal chronological order, comparisons, contrasts, cause or effect.
  • Write appropriate concluding sentences.
  • Use reference sources such as dictionaries and thesauruses to select appropriate word choice/word forms.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of plagiarism by using own words and referring to sources.

C. Revising

  • Proofread, edit and redraft on own.
  • Redraft and revise following peer and teacher feedback.

Write personal/academic correspondence.

Write informally for a familiar or clearly defined audience.

  • Write reflectively about personal experience and readings.
  • Summarize main ideas and key details from readings in own words.


For explicit instruction and evaluation

1. Grammar and Sentence Structure:

  • Correctly form and use simple past, past continuous, present perfect and present perfect continuous tenses; use these tenses in appropriate ways (event beore now with unspecified time, frequency, and length of experience) using appropriate time markers.
  • Expand the range of cause/effect, conditional, and comparison/contrast connectors to join ideas with the correct meaning and punctuation (conjunctions, subordinators, transitions).
  • Correctly form and use a variety of compound and complex structures and sentence patterns including basic conditionals, noun clauses and relative/adjective clauses.
  • Expand the use of relative clauses (use of “whom, whose” + revision of “who, whom, that”).
  • Identify and correct plural/singular errors with frequently used count and non-count nouns.

2. Vocabulary

  • Appropriately use a range of idiomatic language, cultural references, and figures of speech.
  • Identify and correct errors in word forms (nouns, adjectives, adverbs).

 3. Register

  • Identify and use a range of different styles and registers appropriate for formal and informal everyday audiences and situations.


Self-monitor for accuracy:

  • Apply knowledge of parts of speech, word choice, register, sentence elements, specified sentence types and mechanics as specified for this and previous levels to identify and correct errors.

Classroom Skills

Take responsibility for the following:

  • attendance and punctuality
  • class work and assignments
  • participation and teamwork

Use common software to communicate and to complete simple information management tasks such as to word process assignments, send emails, or sign into myDouglas or Blackboard.

Methods Of Instruction

Whole and small group instruction will be combined with individual assistance and student-directed learning.  Students will receive assistance with reading difficulties that arise from lack of familiarity with the structure, lexicon and cultural content of the reading passages, and the instructor will facilitate, observe and evaluate students’ participation in classroom activities.  Students will participate in the setting of goals by identifying their communicative and language development needs, and in the selection of learning activities. Students will discuss personal rights and social responsibilities as they affect their intended fields of study, occupations, and personal life.

Means of Assessment

Student achievement will be assessed using the mastery system in accordance with College policy. Evaluation will be based on CLB and instructor specified criteria. Mastery will be granted to students who achieve an average of 70% on the following portfolio items for both reading and writing. For final evaluation at the end of term, student portfolios will contain at least six reading tasks and six writing tasks; some tasks may be a combination of both skills.

Evaluation will include, but may not be limited to, the following tasks.


Read and understand at least 2 academic texts (up to 4 pages) such as textbook excerpts, short scientific reports, encyclopedia articles or journal articles. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Distinguish facts from opinions.
  • Evaluate ideas to draw conclusions.
  • Identify organization of text and links between paragraphs.

Read and understand at least one formatted texts such as a form, graph, table, schedule, directory or course calendar. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Identify layout and organization of text to find information needed.
  • Finds 3-4 pieces of information by scanning the text.
  • Follow sequence of a narration or process.

Read and understand at least one set of clear explicit instructions (~10-13 steps) or an instructional text (5-10 paragraphs). Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Interpret sequence and location signals and implied meanings to infer correct sequence.
  • Follow instructions as required to complete task.

Read and understand at least one informational text such as a public notice, community/college newsletter or bulletin, or short news article. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Identify main ideas, key details and some implied meanings.
  • Identify writer’s purpose, intent, mood and attitude in sections of the text.
  • Scan text and make inferences to select relevant information.

Read and understand at least one piece of personal/social/academic correspondence such as a letter, email or memorandum. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Identify specific factual details and implied meanings.
  • Identify purpose of message.
  • Identify reader/writer relationship.
  • Identify mood and attitude of writer.
  • Identify context, register and style.

Evaluate and compare information from at least 2 online reference sources. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Access relevant information using effective search strategies.
  • Compare 3 or 4 pieces of information from different reference sources.



Write at least one formal comparison/contrast paragraph based on personal experience or responding to ideas and information in readings.

Write at least one formal cause/effect paragraph based on personal experience or responding to ideas and information in readings.

Write at least one multi-paragraph (2-3 paragraphs) composition.

Write at least two formal word-processed compositions. These may be single paragraphs or multi-paragraph compositions and may include the compositions mentioned above.

In class, plan, organize, and write at least two formal compositions.

Assessment criteria of the above compositions may include, but are not limited to, the ability to: 

  • Address the purpose of the task.
  • Express main ideas and support them with details.
  • Present text as a coherent, connected whole with good use of appropriate connective words and phrases.
  • Provide accurate and detailed descriptions, explanations or accounts of events in a clear sequence.

Write at least one outline or summary of a reading (up to 2 pages). Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Reduce information to important points with accurate details and no major omissions.
  • Record main ideas or key details in point form.
  • Convey essential information.
  • Record details such as names, addresses, dates, and directions legibly and with correct spelling.

Write at least one piece of formal academic correspondence (up to 2 paragraphs) such as a letter, email or application to pass on information, make or respond to a request, recommendation or warning. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Convey clear message and a sense of audience in language and format.
  • Use some complex structures and vocabulary.
  • Spells and uses punctuation, capitalization, dates and numbers correctly.

Write at least one piece of informal personal/social correspondence (2-3 paragraphs) such as a note, letter or email to express or respond to appreciation, complaints, disappointment, satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Convey intended meaning.  
  • Use language, format and content appropriate and relevant to situation and audience.
  • Express main ideas and support them with details.

Complete at least one paper-based or online form. Assessment criteria may include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Identify the purpose of the form and complete it with all the required information.
  • Spell and use punctuation, capitalization, dates and numbers correctly.

Students may also be required to write informal compositions that meet instructor specified criteria for content, organization, language use and accuracy, and format. These assignments may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Journals that describe personal experience and respond to ideas and information in readings.
  • Informal compositions that describe plot, characters, and/or setting in a short story.

 Students may also be required to complete quizzes, both skill-based and content-based.

 Classroom skills

Complete at least one self-assessment of learning strategies, progress, strengths, weaknesses, and classroom skills to be discussed with the instructor.  

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:


  1. Understand moderately complex extended (up to 4 pages) descriptions, reports and narrations on familiar topics (CLB R 7-IV–i).
  2. Locate, interpret, and use 3 or 4 pieces of information from moderately complex formatted texts that may contain multiple pieces of information organized in sections with subsections. Examples of formatted texts include forms, graphs, tables, schedules, directories, course calendars and website navigation menus (CLB R 7-III-i / CLB R 7-IV-ii).
  3. Understand moderately complex multistep (~10-13 steps) instructions and instructional texts (5-10 paragraphs) for procedures related to familiar tasks, which may be specialized or technical (CLB R 7-II).
  4. Get information from moderately complex service/informational texts such as public notices and bulletins containing assessments, evaluations, and advice (CLB R 7-III-ii).
  5. Understand moderately complex personal and public social messages that convey appreciation, complaints, hopes, satisfaction and dissatisfaction (CLB R 7-I).
  6. Access, locate, and integrate information from online reference sources (CLB R 7-IV-iii).



  1. Write 2 or 3 connected paragraphs to outline a familiar process, make a comparison, or provide a detailed description of a personal system, routine or procedure (CLB W 7-IV).
  2. Reduce a text (up to 2 pages) to an outline or summary. Topic may be of personal relevance or related to a specialized field (CLB W 7-II-ii).
  3. Write a piece of formal academic correspondence (up to 2 paragraphs) such as an email to an instructor or the registrar's office to pass on information or make and respond to a request, recommendation or warning (CLB W 7-III-i).
  4. Convey formal and informal personal messages (2-3 paragraphs) to express and respond to appreciation, complaints, disappointment, satisfaction, dissatisfaction or hope. Messages are for a familiar audience and may require some degree of diplomacy or tact (CLB W 7-I).
  5. Complete extended paper-based or online forms requiring detailed personal information. Forms may require brief written responses to questions (CLB W 7-III-ii).
  6. Monitor and apply strategies to a specified level of accuracy in grammar, sentence structure, and word choice.


Classroom Skills

  1. Participate effectively in a college classroom.
  2. Assess own progress.
Textbook Materials

Students may be required to purchase textbooks.



A minimum of CLB 6 in both reading and writing

A minimum of CLB 5 in both listening and speaking is also recommended for this course.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Requisite for

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Winter 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.