Learning English language

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It is useful to know some strategies for practicing English on your own as communicating in English will help you to be successful at work and in your community.
1. Practise English
on Your Own
Self-study Ideas
for English Language
2. Practise English on Your Own:
Self-study Ideas for English Language Learners
Now that you are living in Manitoba, you have many reasons to improve
your English. Communicating in English will help you to be successful at work
and in your community.
English classes are available for free in Manitoba for permanent residents. You
can choose from full-time or part-time classes during the day or evening.
However, not everyone can go to English classes. If you are working at a job
every day and also taking care of a family, it can be very difficult to take time to
go to classes. If you are able to take the time to go to English classes you may
also want to learn faster and study at home. For these reasons it is useful to
know some strategies for practicing English on your own.
There are many ways to learn English outside of the classroom. The ideas you
will read about here are from adult EAL teachers and learners. You will find
out about some of the many internet websites where you can learn for free as
quickly or as slowly as you like. You will also find out more about the Canadian
Language Benchmarks and think about what your level of English is right now,
and what level you want it to be in the future. Information is also provided
about some internationally recognized English language standardized tests.
Good luck as you practise your English communication skills!
3. Ideas for Practising English
Here are some ideas for practising English. Some of
the ideas come from newcomers to Canada who
have learned to speak English. Others come from
English language teachers.
1. Make everyone your teacher.
When other people are speaking in English, think about how they
say something. Repeat what they said silently in your mind. Then
repeat what they said quietly to yourself. First say it slowly and
clearly, then say it to yourself at the same speed and rhythm as the
person you were listening to.
You can do this anytime, anywhere…when you’re with people,
while watching a movie, at work, at school…the world is your
Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy, just put on headphones or
earbuds while you’re talking to yourself and everyone will think
you’re talking on your cell phone.
4. 2. Talk to people. You could talk about:
…the weather
In Manitoba, it’s OK to talk about the weather every day, and
many people do this in almost any situation to open a
conversation. We create friendships by suffering together!
Snow again, I miss summer! Crazy mosquitoes, we need winter!
…the neighbourhood
Hi, I’m your neighbor, I just moved in last week …(names, etc…)
Have you lived in this area for a long time?...(years, etc.)
Seems like a friendly area, I like it…
Do you work close by? What kind of work do you do?
…your children, your children's’ school
How old are your kids? What school do they go to? Are you
happy with the teachers over there?
3. Ask a workmate to join you for coffee break.
Let’s get out for coffee sometime, maybe Friday?
People like it when you are interested in them. Ask them about:
• their job How long have you worked here? What do you do?
• their family Do you have family here?
• things they like to do So what’s up for the weekend?
You could talk about:
• life in your country,
• your family,
• your life and goals in Canada,
5. • your job,
• your free-time interests.
4. Make a study group. Meet with other English learners once a week
to study together. Do exercises from your English class together or
try some of the on-line learning websites recommended in this
5. Make an English club. Meet once a week or once a month with
other English language learners. You could have a supper club or a
movie club. You could go to a park, a museum, or just sit and listen
to music together. You could show pictures and talk about your
country. Make sure you speak English most of the time, or if you
can, all of the time! Challenge yourself at the first meeting to speak
only English for 30 minutes, then 60 minutes the next time, then 2
hours the next time.
6. Volunteer. Go to a community centre or your children’s school. Ask
if you can volunteer. You can be helpful and practise English at the
same time.
7. Watch television and movies, listen to the radio and listen to
English music. Relax and try to understand the general meaning
even if you don’t know every word.
6. 8. Record yourself speaking English. Listen to your voice. Do you sound
different than a first language speaker? Pretend that you are an
actor in a movie and you are speaking English with an Italian
accent…now try a Russian accent…a British English accent…now try a
Canadian English accent! Whenever you think people don’t
understand you, try out that Canadian English accent, it just might
9. Use Google. Go on the internet to search for information about
stores that you want to go to. Find out location, store hours, search
for products and prices. Find the telephone number and call it…ask
what time the store is open until, or ask if they sell something and
what the price is.
10. Use the Library and borrow books for free. Ask about EAL books and
kits and bilingual books. Ask for a tour of the library. There is more
information about libraries here:
11. Understand the main idea of what you read. After you read for a few
minutes, tell yourself the important ideas. Don’t worry if you don’t
understand everything.
7. 12. Read children’s books with your children and talk about the
pictures in English. After they have gone to bed read more
children’s books in English…nobody has to see how much you are
enjoying reading them! There are many high quality award
winning children’s books you can borrow from the library for free.
While you’re at the library make sure to take out some children’s
books to read to your children in your first language too, there
are many languages available.
13. Use maps. Learn the names of the streets you use. Use Google maps
to practice following directions. Use Winnipeg Transit Navigo to
choose a bus route.
14. Write a note to friend or teacher. Tell him or her what you did today,
or what you are going to do tomorrow.
15. Keep a journal. Write about your day. Write directions to get from
home to downtown.
• Write about one of the pictures you have saved on your cell phone.
• Write a recipe for how to make your favourite food.
• Write about your memories of your country.
• Listen to a song on YouTube and write about how it makes you
• Look at old and famous art, or new and controversial art and write
about your thoughts.
• Write to your mother, even if she is not alive anymore. Tell her
about your life.
16. Write new words or expressions. Review them, use
17. Send an email. Ask someone that you trust who
speaks English as his or her first language if you can
practice your English by sending them emails. Tell
them they don’t even have to answer if they don’t
have time, you’re just practicing.
8. 18. Write a shopping list in English. Talk to the cashier at the grocery
store. Try easy English recipes.
19. Use these phrases:
“Please repeat that. What does mean?
How do you spell ? Sorry, I don’t understand.”
20. Practise other phrases you will use in your life.
21. Speak English with your family a little bit each day.
22. Think of other ways you like to practise English.
9. For Higher Level Learners
1. If you want to practise your public speaking, try joining a
Toastmasters club. This club focuses on members becoming
confident public speakers. Manitoba Start offers weekly
Toastmasters sessions where the other participants are also
newcomers to Canada. For more information about the Manitoba
Start Toastmasters group, see:
There are Toastmasters clubs in 90 countries around the world.
For more information about Toastmasters, see:
2. Volunteer with a school, club or organization. This is a great way to
meet new people, practise English, and gain valuable work skills.
Volunteer Manitoba can connect you with many different
opportunities. http://www.volunteermanitoba.ca/
3. Call or visit a community centre, school, hospital, or senior centre
in your area and ask about volunteer opportunities.
4. Look through the City of Winnipeg’s Leisure Guide. There are many
classes about things like cooking, first aid, home renovation, or
dance. You can pick up a copy of the Leisure Guide at Winnipeg
public libraries or look at the guide online:
5. If you live outside of Winnipeg, ask your local community centre
about classes.
6. Take a Continuing Education Course at:
- Red River College, http://www.rrc.ca/index.php?pid=384,
- the University of Winnipeg, http://pace.uwinnipegcourses.ca/,
- the University of Manitoba, http://umanitoba.ca/extended/,
or another college in your area. You can sometimes take these
courses during the evening or on weekend.
10. 7. Audit a regular university course. When you audit a course, you can
attend all the classes but you don’t have to write exams and you
don’t get a grade for the course. Auditing a course costs about half
the price of taking the course. Ask to speak to a student adviser to
get advice about courses and registration.
8. Listen to the radio and watch English television and movies.
Sometimes the speed will be too fast for you and the speakers will
use expressions that you don’t understand, but you need to get
used to it. Try to let your mind follow the meaning and the message
and don’t worry about understanding every single word.
9. Play English games, and speak English with friends while playing.
Find free games on the internet or look for board games in a
department store or a thrift store. Buy a deck of cards and look up
the rules for playing different games.
11. Study Tips
Make a plan…
Think about your week. You might be very busy with work, classes, meals, taking
care of your children, or special events. It can sometimes be hard to find time to
study English. Making a schedule can help. Schedule some study time each day.
If you like to study with a partner or a group, set a regular meeting time. Find a
time and a place where you will not be interrupted often.
Set goals…
Use the Canadian Language Benchmarks to set goals for yourself. Look at
descriptions of a person one benchmark higher than yourself and make that
your goal.
Keep a record of your goals and your progress. Reward yourself when you
achieve a goal! One cookie 
Decide what you want to learn and when you want to learn it. For example, you
could say to yourself:
“Before the parent-teacher interview in February, I want to know 20 words and
phrases for talking to my son’s teacher.”
“Two months from now, I will use the past tense correctly when I talk about
something that happened.”
“When summer comes, I will talk with my neighbors.”
“In 3 months, I want to be able to read and understand most of the articles in an
English newspaper.”
12. How do you learn best?
Some people learn best by listening. Try listening to recorded books or
information and people talking.
Some people learn best by seeing. Try watching videos, looking at posters,
flashcards, or textbooks with pictures.
Some people learn best by doing. Try drawing pictures and diagrams and
making things with your hands, then describing what you have done.
There are many good ways to learn. Choose activities that work for you.
Tips for understanding and remembering what you read…
Before you read, look at the title, pictures, and headings. Can you guess the
topic and main ideas? This prepares your mind to learn.
Underline or highlight important ideas.
Draw pictures and diagrams about important ideas.
Write notes about the text. Read a paragraph. Cover the paragraph and
tell yourself what it was about.
Read groups of two or three words together. Groups of two or three words
have more meaning than single words.
If you don’t know a word, say the word out loud. Maybe you will know the
meaning if you hear it.
If you don’t know a word, read the sentence it comes from and try to guess the
Remember that you don’t always need to understand every word.
13. Tips for learning new vocabulary…
Write down important new words you hear and read. Keep a vocabulary
Use flashcards to practise; write a new word or expression on one side of a
piece of paper or an index card. Write the definition, or draw a picture on the
other side. Review your words regularly. You can even practise on the bus or
during a coffee break.
Use your new words in conversation and in writing.
14. Public Libraries
If you live in Winnipeg, you can borrow books for free from any branch of the
Winnipeg Public Library. If you live outside of Winnipeg and want to borrow
resources from the Winnipeg Public Library, you can get a Non- Resident Card
for an annual fee. Some rural municipalities will give some or all of this fee
back to you.
The library has a variety of materials you can borrow including books,
audio books, magazines, CDs, videos, and DVDs. Some branches have
books in different languages.
At the Library
You can search for a book on the computer terminals or ask the library staff for
help. Some phrases you can use are:
“I’m looking for books about learning English. Can you help me?”
“Where are the books for learning English?”
“Can you help me find the English study books?”
If the book you need is not available at your local library, you can have it sent
from another library.
“I’d like to order a book from another library.”
“How do I place an inter-library loan?”
15. Libraries in Winnipeg
Millennium Library St. John’s
251 Donald Street 500 Salter Street
Charleswood St. Vital
5014 Roblin Boulevard 6 Fermor Avenue
River Heights Osborne
1520 Corydon Avenue 625 Osborne Street
St. Boniface Pembina Trails
100 – 131 Provencher Boulevard 2724 Pembina Highway
St. James – Assiniboia West End
1910 Portage Avenue 823 Ellice Avenue West
West Kildonan 1-1050 Henderson Highway
365 Jefferson Avenue
Louis Riel
Westwood 1168 Dakota Street
66 Allard Avenue
Sir William Stephenson
Windsor Park 765 Keewatin Street
955 Cottonwood Road
111 Victoria Avenue West
489 London Street
Cornish Fort Garry
20 West Gate 1360 Pembina Highway
Libraries in Manitoba
For libraries outside of Winnipeg, see the Manitoba Library Directory
16. Resources to Buy or Borrow
Most large bookstores carry English grammar books and other resources.
University bookstores usually carry language study books. You can also ask a
bookstore to order in a book that they do not usually carry. You can also look at
some publishers’ websites and buy books, CDs and software online. Teachers,
language assessors, and librarians can help you pick a good book for your
Basic vocabulary
The Oxford Picture Dictionary: Canadian Edition.
*available at the library*
Toronto, ON: Oxford University
Press Canada
This is a picture-based dictionary. (The dictionary alone is about
$25.00) CDs, audio tapes and student workbooks are also available.
English for Everyday Activities: A Picture Process Dictionary
*available at the library*
Zwier, L., Syracuse, NY: New
Readers Press
This book describes the things you do every day step-by-step, with many
pictures and simple sentences. (The book alone is about 19.00) A CD and
student workbook are also available.
Conversational English and Living in Canada
Each of these books integrates the study of grammar and vocabulary with the
many other important aspects of speaking, listening, reading and writing. All
have CDs or videos available to go along with the book.
Canadian Concepts
*available at the library*
Berish, L. & Thibaudeau, S., Scarborough, ON: Prentice-Hall Canada, Inc.
This series focuses on English for use in Canadian communities. There are 6
books that range in level from a benchmark 2 (the 1st book in the series) to
about a benchmark 7 or 8 (the 6th book in the series).
17. Person to Person: Communicative Speaking and Listening, 3rd edition Richards
J., Bycina D., Wisniewska I., New York, NY: Oxford University Press
This series is very good if you want a lot of listening and conversational
practice. For self-study, it is important to buy the “class CD”, which has the
conversations and listening exercises that go with the book. In this series
there is a “starter level”, “level 1” and “level 2”. They range from a
benchmark 2 to about a benchmark 5 or 6.
Canadian Snapshots
*available at the library*
These excellent books will help you work on your speaking, listening, reading
and writing skills while learning about Canadian culture. They are based on
the Canadian Language Benchmarks. There are only 2 levels right now.
The first book is a Benchmark 3 level: Canadian Snapshots: Linking to the
Community by Angst, Bertram, Davis, Johansson and Bonkowski. The second
book is a Benchmark 6 level: Canadian Snapshots: Raising Issues by Kingwell,
Stephenson, Bonkowski and Holmes.
For Pronunciation Pronunciation for Success Meyers, C.& Holt S.
Burnsville, MN: Aspen Productions
The kit includes a book, videos, and CDs. It is very good for students
working without a teacher. It is suitable for benchmarks 5 and higher. (The
complete kit is about $120.00)
To Learn or Review Grammar
Grammar Dimensions Platinum Edition: Form, Meaning and Use Riggenback,
H. & Samuda, V (2000). Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle
This series has 4 books. They range from a benchmark 2 to 8+. The
explanations on grammar are very clear and the books give you many
chances to apply the grammar in a communicative, realistic way. (Each book
is about $38.00)
18. Standardized Tests of English as a
Second Language
Canadian Language Benchmarks Placement Test (CLBPT)
This is an assessment tool for CLB levels 1-8. Results should not be used as the
only assessment tool for hiring or post-secondary admissions. Results from the
CLBPT can help organizations make good decisions about readiness of the
learner and be included as one of several indicators for potential success on the
job, in an academic setting, or in vocational training.
In the CLBPT, the four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) are
assessed through a number of task-based activities. This is the tool used for
placement in Adult EAL classes in Manitoba. Test takers are reminded that the
assessment is not a grammar or vocabulary test. It is a test to find out what a
person can do in English. There is no need to prepare or be nervous about taking
the test. In Manitoba, after the assessment, an assessor will discuss the results
with the test taker and together they will decide which program or class is the
most appropriate for the student. CLBPT test results are used by classroom
teachers as a starting point for the lessons. All government funded Adult EAL
programs use the CLB as guide for teaching. Classroom teachers will assess
student’s proficiency periodically throughout the term. At the end of the course
or at the end of the school year, the student receives a report. It gives CLB exit
scores. If a student leaves the course before the end, he/she can ask the
teacher for exit scores.
Do CLB levels predict success?
Although CLB levels can assist in making informed decisions about readiness and
potential for success on the job and in post secondary programs, it is important
to be aware that CLB levels are only one indicator of success. The CLB was
meant to open doors; to allow immigrants access to educational and
employment opportunities that may have been denied to them due to an
unclear expectation of the level of English language proficiency required. Other
factors can compensate for lack of language skills such as supports while in
training or on the job, skill level (background knowledge in the subject matter,
trade or profession), motivation, and the opportunity to use the first language.
Academic English Program for University and College Entrance
Academic English Program for University and College Entrance (AEPUCE) is not a
test but a high level English for academic purposes course offered at the
University of Winnipeg, the University of Manitoba and Red River College. It is a
19. bridge course to university and college admissions. The course enables potential
college and university students to improve their academic communication skills.
After successful completion, students will have met the English requirements for
the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg and Red River College.
English Proficiency Tests
The following summary provides some basic information about some of the
most commonly used English proficiency tests. It is not a comprehensive list
and it is intended as an introduction to language proficiency tests and not as an
endorsement of the tests or their use. Please refer to the websites for the most
current information about costs, test sites, descriptions and scoring of the
standardized language tests.
The University of Winnipeg admission requirements are found at:
The University of Manitoba entrance requirements are on this website:
CanTEST - Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees
There are several versions of this test. The Centre for Canadian Language
Benchmarks endorses the CLB aligned versions of the CanTEST. These versions
establish a relationship between achievement on CanTEST and CLB levels 7-11.
The test is suitable for academic and professional purposes such as university
admission, profession accreditation and vocational training. It includes all four
skill areas and takes just less than three hours to complete. It is available at Red
River College (institutional version), the University of Manitoba and the
University of Winnipeg.
CELBAN - Canadian English Language Benchmarks Assessment for Nurses
This is the first national, occupation specific, CLB referenced assessment tool.
CELBAN is endorsed by most of the licensing bodies that license nurses in
Canada. There is a readiness self-assessment available online.
TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
TOEFL measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and
understand North American English as it is used in college and university
20. settings. This test is required by many universities in Canada. TOEFL has recently
changed the test to be more communicative, i.e. to measure someone’s
effectiveness in using the language. It is now the TOEFL Internet Based Test
(TOEFL iBT). There are numerous preparation courses and resources available.
TOEIC - Test of English for International Communication
TOEIC measures the everyday English skills of people working in an international
environment. There are two sections to the test, listening and reading. There are
TOEIC preparation books available.
IELTS – International English Language Testing System
This is an Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) approved test
used by universities to assess the proficiency of applicants whose first language
is not English. There is a speaking/listening section, a reading section and 2
writing tasks. Study materials are available.
CAEL - Canadian Academic English Language
CAEL assessment approximates the experience of joining a first year introductory
university course. There is an oral assessment, a taped lecture to listen to, some
reading tasks and essay writing task on the topic of the test itself. There are
practise materials online.
MELAB - Michigan English Language Assessment Battery
The MELAB consists of three parts: a composition, a listening test, and a written
test containing grammar, cloze, vocabulary, and reading comprehension
problems. An optional speaking test is also available.
TOWES - Test of Workplace Essential Skills
TOWES assesses essential skill competencies in the areas of reading text,
document use and numeracy. Test results are correlated to the 5-point scale
used in the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and by Human Resources
and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to determine the complexity or
difficulty of tasks associated with specific occupations. TOWES is different from
other tests because it uses authentic documents - such as catalogues, order
forms, labels, and schematics - as source material. Questions range in difficulty
and mimic actual workplace tasks by having the test taker assume the role of a
worker who needs to use information embedded in documents. To support the
development of essential skills, the creators of TOWES have developed
curriculum and training plans designed to address skill gaps.
21. CPE - Certificate of Proficiency in English
Cambridge ESOL exams include a range of assessment tools. The exams are
linked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages,
published by the Council of Europe. There are several general English tests as
well as the CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), an advanced exam, and the CPE
(Certificate of Proficiency in English) which is a very advanced level exam.
Cambridge also has a skills-based assessment called CELS (Certificates in English
Language Skills), which provides modular assessments of the four English
language skills (listening, reading, writing, speaking). There are some Business
English certificates and the YLE (Cambridge Young Learners English Tests) which
is assessment of English of children between the ages of 7 and 12.
CELPIP - Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program
The CELPIP-General Test is designated by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
Canada (IRCC) as proof of English language proficiency for those applying for
permanent resident status in Canada under the following immigration streams:
• Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP),
• Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP),
• Canadian Experience Class (CEC),
• Start-up Visa Program, and
• Various Provincial Nominee Programs.
For specific language requirements, please visit the IRCC website at
The CELPIP-Academic Test assesses a higher level of English language
proficiency. This test is made up of the following sections:
• Listening
• Speaking
• Academic Reading and Writing
All components of the CELPIP-Academic Test are computer-delivered. The test is
completed in just one test sitting, offering a unique test-taking experience that
requires no additional appointments with a human examiner. The CELPIP-
Academic Test uses the English variety spoken in Canada.
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22. Websites for Learning English
There are many excellent language learning websites on the internet. When you
learn on-line, you can progress as fast as you want to, and learn at any time of
the day. You can study for 10 minutes one day and 4 hours the next day. You can
listen, speak, read, and write. You don’t have a teacher to guide you, but you can
make everyone you meet your teacher if you ask people questions. Now you can
make the world wide web your library!
The following list of websites are recommended. There are many more that you
will find once you start looking, these have been chosen because they are well-
organized and have good opportunities for you to practice independently. Try as
many of them as you can and return to the ones you like as often as you can.
General English language study
Language learning activities for all levels
Language learning activities for all levels
Create learning quizzes and memory cards
Find free on-line language teachers using the “italki” site
Interesting things for EAL learners to try
A one-stop resource for language learning
Language learning activities for all levels
News stories developed into language learning (U.K.)
Language learning activities for all levels
23. Language learning activities for all levels
Language learning activities for advanced level
Language games and activities
English On-Line: Live and Learn and LINC Home Study
To use English On-Line and LINC Home Study you must first register. See website for
eligibility and other details.
Large selection of EAL learning resources, library card needed
News stories developed into language learning lessons
Language learning quizzes
Language learning activities for all levels
Workplace language
Watch short Canadian videos to practice listening skills
24. Audio and video activities with transcripts and lessons at all levels
Audio and video activities with transcripts and lessons at all levels
ESL listening lab
9,000 short video clips with lessons
Current CBC Radio clips
Audio activities with lessons
News stories developed into language learning (U.K.)
Radio listening
Movie trailers and activities
Speaking / Pronunciation
Audio lessons and pronunciation activities
Videos and pronunciation activities
Phonetics website
Minimal pair practice
25. Guided reading with audio and activities
Guided reading with audio and activities
Writing / Grammar/ Spelling
Health professions
26. Free Apps
Pronunciation Power 2 -
Dictation Dragon
SpeakAp - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aventusoft.speakap&hl=en
Iowa University Phonetics lab –
27. Canadian Language Benchmarks
The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) is used for teaching and testing in many
adult EAL schools in Canada. The CLB describes what people can do in English. For
example, if you are at a CLB level 1, you can write your name and address. If you
are at a CLB level 4, you can write a paragraph about your future plans. If you are
at a CLB level 8, you can write a business letter.
The Canadian Language Benchmark Placement Test
Newcomers who want to take an EAL class will first take the Canadian Language
Benchmark Placement Test (CLBPT). The test usually takes 2-1/2 or 3 hours. It has
three parts: a listening/speaking test, a reading test, and a writing test.
Listening/speaking test:
You will discuss some familiar topics with a Canadian Language Benchmarks
Assessor. You may also listen to a CD and tell the assessor what the speaker said.
You will read words, sentences, paragraphs, and longer texts and answer
multiple choice questions.
There are three parts to the writing test. In the first part, you will copy some
information. In the second part, you will write a paragraph. In the third part, you
will develop your ideas more in an essay.
Can Do Statements
The next few pages describe what EAL learners can do at each CLB level. Make
goals for yourself. As your English improves, the number of new things that you
can do in English will increase.
Decide for yourself now what you think your English levels are. If you think your
levels are 3, look at the things a level 4 person can do and practice. If you think
your levels are 7, look at the things a level 8 person can do and practice, practice,
You can download the complete Can Do Statements at
You can Practise English on Your Own!
28. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 1 Listening 1
I can greet people: I can understand greetings:
• Hello! • Hello!
• How are you? • How are you?
• I’m fine, thank you. • Please come in!
I can understand questions:
I can ask some questions:
• What is your name?
• What time is it? • How do you spell it?
• Pardon me? • What is your telephone
I can give some information:
• M-A-R-I-A. I can understand information:
• 555-6729.
• I am from Colombia.
• I’m from India.
• It’s ten o’clock.
29. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 1 Writing 1
I can read the alphabet. I can write the alphabet.
I can read some words that I see I can write numbers.
I can write my name and address.
I am learning the sounds of letters.
I can write my telephone number.
I can read a short sentence with the
help of a picture.
I can fill out a simple form.
I can read:
I can write a short list.
• Name
• Address
• Phone number
30. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 2 Listening 2
I can answer greetings: I can understand more instructions:
• Can you show me some ID?
• Hello, I’m fine. How are • Please write your name on
you? the line.
• Nice to meet you. • Go upstairs to Room B5.
• Could you repeat that
I can ask for help: please?
• Speak slowly, please.
I can understand parts of
• Can you help me please?
• I understand numbers and
I can give information: letters.
• I understand the time.
• I can talk about my • I understand some of the
family. words.
• I can describe things.
• I can answer questions
about myself.
31. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 2 Writing 2
I can read words that I see often. I can write in a birthday card.
I can read a simple greeting card. I can copy prices at the store.
I can read a simple form. I can fill out a simple application
I can read the amount of a bill.
I can write a cheque.
I can match a list to pictures or real
things. I can copy information from a
I can read very simple, step-by-step
instructions. I can write complete sentences about
myself and my family.
I can read a simple text and answer
questions. I can describe a picture.
I understand simple maps, labels and My spelling and handwriting are easy
diagrams. to read.
32. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 3 Listening 3
I can say a few simple sentences I know when a greeting is formal or
about familiar, everyday topics: my informal.
work, family, daily activities, health,
the weather, etc. I can understand short sentences
when you speak slowly.
I can answer simple questions with
single words or short sentences. I can understand questions about
I can ask for help or permission.
I can understand instructions
I can ask short, routine questions. including place and measurements.
I use words like ‘yesterday’ and I can follow directions in the street.
‘today’, but I don’t always use the
correct verb tenses. I can get the most important words
in a story.
I know a few words about health and
feelings. I understand when a person asks me
for something.
I can give basic information about
familiar subjects, such as family, I have trouble understanding people
weather or daily activities. on the phone.
I can connect parts of sentences, for
example, with ‘and’ and ‘but’.
33. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 3 Writing 3
I can read and understand a short I can write a short note or message.
story or simple news item.
I can write short, simple sentences
I can follow simple instructions with about my family or a familiar place.
1 - 5 steps when there are pictures
to help me understand. I can fill in a short, simple form.
I can read about the weather. I can write an invitation.
I can understand a store flyer and I can write a greeting.
make a list of key points.
I can copy information from lists or
I can read words I know in a new schedules.
I can describe my daily routine.
I can sound out words in English.
I can read some new words.
34. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 4 Listening 4
I can introduce two people to each I can understand a conversation on a
other. familiar, everyday topic when you
speak slowly.
I can participate in conversations
that are about what I need and what I know what you are talking about
I have done. because I understand some words
and phrases.
I can ask and answer many simple
questions. I can understand many simple
I can use short sentences to buy
something or talk to the doctor. I can follow simple oral instructions.
I can give someone simple I can use connecting words like
directions. ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘first’, ‘next’ and
I can use the past tense with many
common verbs. I can follow instructions to find
something on a map or picture.
I have enough vocabulary for
everyday conversation. I can understand a short phone
message if I know what the topic is.
I use some connecting words
between my sentences, like ‘and’, I ask people to repeat when I don’t
‘but’, ‘first’, ‘next’, and ‘because’. understand.
I can use the phone for a very short
People usually understand me, but
sometimes I have to repeat.
35. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 4 Writing 4
I can read a simple story of 2 - 3 I can write a paragraph about a
paragraphs. personal experience.
I can read simple news items. I can write a paragraph about my
future plans.
I can follow simple instructions.
I can write a short note, message or
Sometimes, by looking at a whole letter.
sentence, I can find out what a new
word means. However, most of the I can fill out a simple application
time, I use my dictionary for new form of up to 20 items.
When I write, I can use whole
I can get information from charts sentences.
and schedules.
I can copy information from
I use a bilingual dictionary. dictionaries, catalogues or manuals.
I can understand if I read silently. I can take slow, simple dictation with
I still read slowly. several repetitions.
I can spell and punctuate my
It is easy to read my printing or
I can use whole sentences with few
36. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 5 Listening 5
I can join in conversations on familiar I can understand conversations if people
topics. speak slowly.
I am beginning to use longer sentences, I can follow simple, repetitive and
but sometimes I hesitate or pause. predictable speech.
I know a lot of common, everyday I can catch many words and phrases in
vocabulary and some idioms. informal conversations at a normal speed
in audio recordings and on the radio. I
I use connecting words between my can follow the general idea if the subject
sentences, like ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘first’, ‘next’, is personally relevant.
and ‘because’.
I can understand a range of common
I can use the phone for a simple vocabulary and a few idioms.
conversation, but I still find it difficult.
I often have to ask people to repeat,
I feel comfortable using English with especially when they speak quickly.
people I know in social settings.
I can identify the situation, emotional
I can use formal and casual language. state and relationship of speakers.
I ask for clarification when I don’t I can understand a simple, predictable
understand. phone message.
I catch some inferred meanings in advice,
offers, compliments and suggestions.
37. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 5 Writing 5
I can understand the main ideas, some I can write a paragraph about an idea or
details and some inferred meaning of a an opinion and give details. I can write a
text 2 - 3 paragraphs long. The topics are short letter, note, or email using
familiar and personally relevant. appropriate language.
I can read information that I I can fill out an application form with 20 -
receive regularly, such as a gas bill, or 30 items.
some items in a newspaper.
I can take a phone message with 5 - 7
Usually, I have to read something more details.
than once to understand it.
I can write a paragraph with a main idea
Sometimes, by looking at a whole and supporting details.
sentence, I can understand what a new
word means. However, most of the time, I can write sentences with good control
I use my dictionary for new words. of simple structures, spelling,
punctuation and vocabulary.
I can follow instructions with
7 - 10 steps. Sometimes I need the help I can write a paragraph describing an
of pictures. event or an incident.
I understand facts and some inferred I choose language and content that are
meaning in everyday texts, such as appropriate and relevant to the occasion.
memos and e-mails.
I can locate specific details in extensive
directories, charts and schedules.
I can use tables of contents, indexes and
I can see the connection between
paragraphs. I can predict what will come
My vocabulary is mostly concrete, but I
know some abstract, conceptual and
technical words.
38. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 6 Listening 6
I can participate in small group discussions I can follow a conversation about a familiar
where I express my opinion and ask for topic at a pace slightly slower than normal.
I can listen to a short instructional talk and
I can provide accurate and detailed remember 7 - 10 points.
I can pick out the main ideas, key details
I can interrupt politely when it’s necessary. and inferred meaning from listening texts of
up to 10 minutes.
I can keep a conversation going and can
hold my own when speaking to a group. I can understand some idioms.
I use a range of vocabulary, including I can understand the mood and attitude of
idioms, phrasal verbs, and common the people I am listening to.
I can understand short sets of instructions
I can explain a process or sequence of or directions and follow the sequence of
events. the steps, even if they are not in step-by-
step form.
I can use a variety of complex sentences.
I still often ask people to repeat what they
I sound fluent when I speak, and I speak at have said.
almost normal speed.
I can understand a short, predictable phone
Although I make mistakes, people don’t message.
usually have trouble understanding my
grammar and pronunciation.
I know how to express and respond to
regrets and excuses in a variety of
situations. I can make, cancel, or rearrange
an appointment. I can give my reasons or
I use eye contact, tone of voice and volume
familiar to Canadians.
I am comfortable talking on the phone in
familiar situations, but I sometimes find it
hard to talk to strangers.
I can change my style of speaking for
different situations and people.
39. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 6 Writing 6
I can read a text written in plain English I can write a detailed description or
that is 3 - 5 paragraphs long and a little comparison of people, places, objects
difficult. I can understand the main idea, and routines. I can describe a simple
key details and some inferred meanings. process.
I can scan an extended chart or schedule I can write a short letter, note or e mail
for specific information. I can compare using appropriate language and layout.
information from different texts.
I can fill out a longer application form
I am beginning to understand the with 20 - 30 items.
writer’s purpose, intent and attitude.
I can take a phone message with 5 - 7
I can read handwritten notes, memos, details. When I write, I have a clear
letters and schedules. message.
I can learn new information from a text I include details to support the message.
on a familiar topic. The text is well-
organized and sometimes has pictures. I think about who I am writing to.
The dictionary I use is for ESL learners, I can take notes from a short
but it is only in English, not my first presentation without missing important
language. details.
I read mostly about facts and things I can I can write simple sentences with only a
see, but I sometimes read about abstract few errors in spelling, punctuation and
or technical issues. vocabulary.
When I see a new word, I can sometimes I can write a structured paragraph in
guess its meaning from the context. which I give an accurate description,
comparison or sequence of events.
I am able to predict what will happen
next in the story and retell or summarize
the story.
40. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 7 Listening 7
I can participate in a small group I can understand the main points and
discussion and express my opinions, important details of a conversation as
feelings and reservations about a topic. well as inferred meanings.
I can express and respond to gratitude, I can identify the situation, relationship,
appreciation, complaint, disappointment, mood and attitude of the people I listen
dissatisfaction, satisfaction and hope. to.
I can give clear instructions and I can understand a formal or informal
directions related to moderately conversation on familiar topics at a
complex, familiar, technical and non- descriptive level, especially if I am
technical tasks. involved in the conversation.
My vocabulary is expanding, and I know
I am comfortable speaking about almost
more idioms.
any topic that comes up in normal
conversation. I can predict consequences and
I am comfortable speaking formally or
informally, on topics involving problem- I can understand more complex, indirect
solving or decision-making. I can make a questions about personal experience,
detailed comparison. familiar topics and general knowledge.
I can research, develop and deliver a 10- I can understand routine, work related
minute presentation. conversation.
I can use a variety of sentence structures I can understand a phone message if I am
and idioms. familiar with the topic.
I sound fluent when I speak.
However, I sometimes require slower
When I know that people do not
understand me, I can correct myself or speech, repetition and rewording,
rephrase what I said. especially on unfamiliar topics.
I am comfortable talking on the phone I might still have trouble understanding
about familiar and routine matters. I can native speakers when they speak quickly to
take a message for someone else and one another.
pass it on with specific details.
I use a number of strategies to keep the
conversation going. I can change the
41. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 7 Writing 7
I can read authentic text that is I can respond in writing to appreciation,
1 - 2 pages long and moderately complaint, disappointment, satisfaction
complex. and hope.
I can locate and integrate, or compare I can write personal and routine business
and contrast information from a variety letters.
of visually complex sources.
I summarize longer texts without losing
I read for information, to learn essential information.
English and develop reading skills.
I write coherent paragraphs on familiar,
I am also beginning to read for pleasure. concrete topics with clear main ideas and
some supporting details.
I can follow everyday instructional texts
containing 10 - 15 steps. I have a developing sense of audience.
I use an English dictionary for ESL I can write 2 - 3 paragraphs to narrate a
learners. Mostly, I use it for confirmation sequence of events or give a detailed
and to be precise. The language I read is description.
both concrete and abstract, dealing with
facts, opinions and feelings. I have fairly good control over complex
structures, spelling and sentence
When I see a new word, I can sometimes mechanics although my sentences may
infer its meaning by the context or by sound ‘foreign’ to English readers.
the use of prefixes and suffixes in the
word. I can write down 7 - 10 points from a
clear, pre-recorded phone message.
I can paraphrase and summarize the
main points of a story. I can complete moderately complex
forms (40 items).
I can write a report comparing two
products or describing a process.
42. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 8 Listening 8
I am comfortable speaking about almost
any topic that comes up in normal When someone is speaking, I can
conversation in social situations or at understand the main points, details,
work. purpose, and attitude.
I can manage a conversation, check I can recognize different levels of
comprehension, encourage others and formality.
handle minor conflicts.
I can understand some technical
I am able to address large groups or conversations, especially about my line of
participate in group discussions. work.
I can speak on familiar topics at both
I can understand abstract and complex
concrete and abstract levels (15 - 20
ideas on a familiar topic.
I recognize other people’s moods,
I can present information, give
instructions, propose and recommend. attitudes and feelings.
I can provide descriptions, opinions and I can understand many local idioms and
explanations. expressions and can follow detailed
stories of general interest.
I can synthesize abstract complex ideas
and hypothesize. I can follow detailed and extended
instructions if they are clear and
I can ask questions, analyze and compare coherent.
information in order to make decisions.
I can usually understand phone
I have an expanded inventory of messages, even on unfamiliar, non-
concrete, idiomatic and conceptual routine subjects.
People rarely have trouble
understanding me.
I am comfortable talking on the phone.
43. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 8 Writing 8
I can follow main ideas, key words and I can write routine business letters and
important details in a text of personal and formal social messages.
2 - 3 pages on a familiar topic.
I can link sentences and 3 - 4 paragraphs
I can read popular newspapers, to form coherent texts to express ideas
magazine articles, popular easy fiction, on familiar, abstract topics with some
as well as academic and business support for main ideas and an
materials. appropriate sense of audience.
I can find relevant points in a text, but I can write down a set of simple
sometimes I need clarification of idioms instructions based on clear oral
or cultural references. communication or simple procedural text
of greater length.
I can locate and integrate several specific
pieces of information in a table or a I can fill out complex forms.
directory, or across paragraphs.
I can extract key information and
I am able to follow an extended set of relevant detail from a page-long text or
multi-step instructions for an established 10 - 15 minute oral presentation, and
process. write an outline or a one-paragraph
summary. I reduce information to the
I read in English to get information, to main points with no major omissions.
improve my English and develop my
reading skills. I demonstrate good control over
common sentence patterns, grammar,
I use a unilingual dictionary for
and spelling. I have occasional difficulty
vocabulary building.
with complex structures and style.
I can read about abstract, conceptual or
I can write an effective resume and cover
technical topics.
I can infer the writer’s intention in
I can write an incident report or memo
messages containing general opinions
and assessments.
44. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 9 Listening 9
I can provide and exchange important When someone speaks clearly and in a
information in social and academic familiar accent, I can understand a broad
situations or at work. I can prepare a 15 - range of general interest topics and
30 minute formal presentation. technical topics in my field. I sometimes
miss some details and may not always
I can help to manage a discussion or understand humour, infrequently-used
debate in a work meeting or academic idioms, and cultural references.
I can separate facts from opinions and
I can participate in business meetings,
identify a speaker’s purpose and point of
discussions, and debates on complex,
view; sometimes I
abstract, conceptual and detailed topics
can understand a speaker’s personal
to analyze, solve problems and make
attitudes and emotions.
I can provide clear, multi-step I can identify the roles, relationships and
instructions for familiar technical or non- status of speakers in formal business and
technical processes academic settings.
I can ask questions to get detailed and I can understand key information from 15
complex information and respond to - 30 minute complex discussions,
questions with needed information. presentations, and training sessions at
work or in academic and social situations.
I am comfortable speaking face to face,
in groups, and on the phone , with I can understand information and
managers, professors and other paraphrase or summarize the key facts
authority figures. and details at work or school.
I speak at a normal or fast rate with only I can understand lengthy suggestions,
occasional errors in grammar, vocabulary recommendations and proposals for
or pronunciation. solutions to problems.
I can combine a few pieces of detailed
oral information to follow multi-step
instructions for a familiar process or
45. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 9 Writing 9
I can read a wide variety of authentic I can write formal and informal notes or
multipurpose texts: newspaper articles, emails to schedule, cancel or reschedule
short stories, novels, academic materials, business or academic appointments.
manuals and business documents.
I can write a coherent essay or report of
I can read clearly written texts of 3 - 5 typed pages to present information
3 - 5 pages on abstract, conceptual and on a researched topic.
technical topics.
I can summarize and convey the main
I can identify and explain a writer’s intent ideas of an article and support them with
and point of view. details.
I can fill out complex and detailed forms
I can read formal advisory, instructional
with over 40 pieces of required
texts on familiar processes and
procedures: policy and procedure
manuals, equipment installation I can write summary reports of data, lab
manuals, user product guides and health inspections or meetings.
and safety advisories.
I can write outlines or summaries of
I can locate and integrate information material taken from several sources.
across paragraphs or sections of texts to
correctly interpret and follow I use paragraphs but my writing still lacks
instructions flexibility in tone and style;
for a familiar process or procedure.
Occasionally I still make errors in
I can understand flow charts, graphs, grammar and spelling.
pictographs and diagrams and explain
them to others in an alternate way. I use accepted formats for formal and
informal documents such as letters,
I can use several complex sources of essays, reports, emails.
information (reports, charts, graphs,
emails) to complete academic or I can proofread and make revisions to my
business tasks own work; sometimes i need input from
I can find a specific piece of information
through a complex search using on-line
search engines and libraries.
46. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Speaking 10 Listening 10
I can obtain, exchange and present When people speak at a normal rate, I
information, ideas and opinions for can understand most general interest
important social and academic tasks or at and technical topics in my field. I
work. occasionally miss a topics change and
may not always understand cultural
I can prepare a 20 - 40 minute formal references and humour, especially when
people speak quickly.
I can manage routine meetings and
I can identify and explain the personal
discussions or debates in a small familiar
attitudes, emotions and intentions of
speaker to one another and to the topic
I can actively participate in business being discussed.
meetings and in social and academic
discussions on complex, detailed and I can understand 30-60 minute complex
abstract topics. discussions, meetings, presentations and
training sessions and extract detailed
I can persuade, counsel, assess basic information, ideas and opinions.
needs, or evaluate detailed information
in one-on-one routine situations. I can follow and evaluate the
organization, development and reasoning
I can provide complex multi-step of a detailed argument.
instructions for familiar procedures and
processes in demanding and sometimes I can understand and critically evaluate a
stressful situations. lot of “unspoken” information. I can
follow extensive and detailed oral
I can respond appropriately to perceived instructions and carry out multi-step
hostility, blame, putdowns, sarcasm, lies
complex instructions for a familiar
or condescension.
procedure or process.
I speak fluently and accurately; any
errors in grammar, vocabulary and
pronunciation are not a barrier to
47. Canadian Language Benchmarks
Reading 10 Writing 10
I can read a wide variety of complex I can write effectively for most academic
multipurpose texts in printed or and business tasks and for most
electronic format: charts, tables, forms, audiences: detailed minutes of meetings,
letters, and research papers. conferences and symposia; faxes,
memos; email and reports.
I sometimes have difficulty with
infrequently-used idioms and cultural I can write a complex, research paper or
references. I can understand 5 - 10 pages formal report of 10 typed pages. I can
of dense complex texts on abstract, write to inform, express opinions and
conceptual topics, some of which may be ideas, communicate solutions and
new to me. decisions, present an argument, and
I can interpret and convert data from
documents such as questionnaires, I can fill out complex forms with over 50
surveys, schedules, programs and items of required information.
I can understand and summarize I can reproduce complex information and
complex instructional texts on familiar ideas from several sources to prepare
processes and procedures, even when reports, summaries or abstracts for other
they are not sequential: legal and people to use.
administrative procedures; scientific and
I organize my writing well with only
experimental procedures.
occasional minor errors in grammar,
I can locate and interpret information vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.
from several complex texts, forms,
graphs: standard legal contracts, formal I can edit and proofread the work of
reports, surveys, complex tables and others.
other documents. I can transfer the data
to other business or academic forms or
I can search through several displays of
complex information and integrate
explicit and implied information.
I can follow and critically evaluate the
development of complex arguments.
48. For more information
please contact:
Manitoba Labour and Immigration
Immigration and Economic Opportunities Division
9th Floor – 213 Notre Dame Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B 1N3
Telephone: 204-945-6016
Toll free: 1-800-665-8332
Website: immigratemanitoba.com