an elderly man looking sad

Tom’s story is a resource for all beginner ESOL learners, including those with basic literacy needs. Learners will develop an everyday story from pictures and develop their listening and speaking skills as they do so.  Opportunities are given for role play and drilling of simple, functional language.

Level:  Entry 1 (National 2/Access 2 in Scotland) ESOL learners with basic literacy needs/A1 CEFR Framework.   

Learning hours and delivery context:

Across seven units, the town provides a minimum of 12 hours of learning in a classroom context, delivered via linked units.  These units may be used independently or as one linked topic over several sessions.  Timings are flexible and teachers can break down the units into smaller chunks of learning and build in revision as required.  The resource is suitable for community ESOL and ESOL delivered in adult learning or FE.  Additionally, the teacher notes provide suggestions on how practitioners can develop further linked learning.

Units 4 - 7 provide illustrations for four distinct narratives featuring characters who live in the town, and teachers’ notes which provide ideas and suggest frameworks for developing language skills.  Each narrative focuses on developing different skills. 

Tom’s story focuses on speaking and listening in a social context. Li’s story focuses on reading skills.  Amir’s story focus takes a whole language approach but focuses on producing a text with low literacy learners and Leon’s story provides an opportunity for learners to discuss and share opinions and points of view.

Unit 7: Tom’s story

This unit is most suitable for learners with basic literacy needs but who are consolidating beginners in spoken English.

This resource focuses on Tom, a man who lives in the town who goes shopping one day and loses his wallet. In the teacher’s notes, you are provided with a photograph of Tom and illustrations to construct his story. The flexibility of this resource means that you can either follow the teacher’s notes or take a language experience approach to input the learner’s ideas / language, to give the activities a more personalised feel.

The timings for this work are flexible.  The idea is for learners to work collaboratively to improve their use and knowledge of familiar / common vocabulary and to focus on meaning of spoken discourse as well as raise awareness and use of grammar including 3rd person, present simple and past simple if suitable for your group.

Aims: To pose a scenario and problem or discussion by learners and to give space for development of learner-generated language and ideas.


You will need:

  • A photograph of Tom
  • Map of the town
  • Tom’s sequencing pictures (cut up)
  • Powerpoint of Tom’s story
  • True / False questions
  • Tom’s items
  • Narrative (included in teachers' notes for use in Activity 3)
  • Whiteboard / IWB / pens

The suggested procedure for the lesson can be found in the teachers' notes.

Copyright - please read

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