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Celebrating an ESL Library Milestone

June 24, 2020

“Are there plans to update the ‘Conjunctions’ lesson from the old 2012 format? It’s an ugly incongruity, being the only sheet in the Grammar Worksheets not to have been updated.”

—Jason Bond

ESL Library 1.0–4.0

Today, we are celebrating a major milestone at ESL Library, and we wanted to share it with all of you! Back in 2013, when Robyn (creative director) joined our team, the publishing team began a major reconstruction project that involved rewriting, redesigning, and reediting our full content library. Tara (head writer) and Tanya (head editor) knew it was going to be a massive undertaking to revisit every lesson, resource, and flashcard in our library in addition to adding new materials every month. What we didn’t realize is that it would take 7+ years to achieve our goal!

This week, we uploaded that final ugly, incongruent lesson. And now, it's time to celebrate this milestone and share a bit about the journey.

The Lingos

Del Lingos, 2002

Rewriting & Editing 1,000+ Lessons

Before sending our existing ESL Library lessons (1.0) to design, our writers and editors worked through each lesson that needed a makeover to ensure that the content was in good shape. This included:

  • rewriting or updating the lesson content for accuracy, validity, and relevance
  • adding assessment tasks, quizzes, grammar notes, and more speaking and listening tasks
  • rewriting answer keys and teachers’ notes
  • editing with our very own style guide
  • creating versions with Canadian spelling and usage (and editor’s notes for US versions)
  • aligning our content with common standards such as CLB, WIDA, and CEFR
  • merging our Young Learner site with ESL Library and adapting the content
  • updating publication dates and version numbers
  • rerecording audio to match the new content

Redesigning 1,000+ Lessons

Comparing some old lessons to new lessons

After the rewrites and edits were done, our lessons went off to our designers for more TLC. This included:

  • improving the layout
  • improving or redrawing the illustrations
  • updating the font
  • ensuring consistency within each section
  • adding student versions

Redrawing 2,000+ Flashcards

Comparison of old flashcards to new ones

Along with revamping all of our existing lessons, we redrew and added to the 3,000+ images in our Flashcard Library during this timeframe. This included:

  • developing a new, simple flashcard style suitable for language learning
  • ensuring consistency across all genres and categories
  • filling gaps in many flashcard sets
  • making our images much more inclusive

Then Came Digital…

In addition to remastering our entire print library (and merging our young learner site with ESL Library), we've been digitizing our content for the past three years. This meant that as updates continued with our printable versions, we've had to add or update the digital versions as well.

We currently have 1,000+ digital lessons and resources as well as a digital Flashcard Player, and we look forward to celebrating another milestone when our full library has been digitized.

Next Steps

Since 2013, many of our lessons have gone through several minor and major updates, with version numbers now sitting at 4.0 or higher! In addition to expanding our library with new printable and digital content every week, here are some other things the publishing team is working on behind the scenes:

  • digitizing remaining lessons and resources
  • adding UK versions for our most popular lessons
  • adding video content
  • adding more assessments
  • developing teacher-requested content
  • tagging content with additional standards and competencies
  • making plans for US/CAN/UK digital versions
  • developing ready-made courses

Though our small but mighty publishing team can’t all get together for the real celebration that this milestone deserves, this post will forever remind us that everything is possible when you have a hardworking team working together on a project they love. A big shout-out to everyone who helped out on various parts of this restoration project over the years. And to our heavy lifters (Tanya, Robyn, Saori, Jessica, Ann, and Tara), we did it! 

This post is dedicated to all of the teachers who encouraged us to stay the course. Thank you!

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Comments (2)

Shawn H.(Teacher)

I am so grateful that I found ESL Library! What a tremendous resource! Thank you!

Reply to Comment

Tammy W.(ESL Library Staff)

We work hard for our teachers and we're delighted that you are delighted!

Thanks for the sweet words :)

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