San Jose City College
  Recommended Lab Practice for ESL 302

ESL 302L is a .5-unit lab course designed to help you excel in ESL 302, Introduction to College Reading and Writing. The following software programs and ESL Lab activities will support your efforts to achieve college-level reading and writing skills. Your course instructor may also recommend alternate activities, Internet exercises, or course-related media materials that will enhance your skills.

Advance your Writing and Grammar Skills

Focus on Grammar 4 or 5
Take steps to remedy your own grammar troublespots. Scroll through the programs and identify units you need to study. Your ESL 302 instructor may also make recommendations. To improve grammar and writing skills, complete the following parts of each unit.

The Exercises under Practice for each unit
From Grammar to Writing (submit your writing for an instructor's comments)
Grammar Out of the Box
Review Tests (Be sure to first set your profile at the top of the page so that you and your instructor can track your scores.)

Writer's Resources (for lessons on essay development)

The contents of this interactive program consist of four sections: Writing Process Lessons; Writing Elements Lessons; Rhetorical Patterns Lessons; and Grammar | Punctuation | Mechanics Lessons. The Rhetorical Patterns section gives helpful examples of different types of essays: cause/effect, comparison/contrast, definition, persuasion, etc. Helpful lessons on all of the elements of essays such as introductions, thesis statements, transitions, conclusions, etc., are very clear and instrumental in learning to write essays.

Longman English Assessment (Assessment icon on the desktop).
Take the Written Structures Test to guage your writing level. The test will tell you if your writing skills are low-, mid-, or high-intermediate or advanced level.

Advance your Reading Skills

Longman English Assessment (Assessment icon on the desktop).
Take the Reading Test to gauge your reading level. The test will tell you if your reading skills are low-, mid-, or high-intermediate or advanced level.

Focus on Grammar 4 or 5 [Reading section of units]
Select units that cover grammar points you find difficult. Scroll to the Reading section of the units and complete the Reading activities in those units.

Reading Explorer 4: select 6 to 8 units of interest, or your instructor may assign specific units.
Borrow the text and the CD-Rom. (If necessary, get help in the lab for playing the audio and video files.)

Before Reading:
      Scan the two chapters in the unit and choose Reading 1A or Reading 1B to read and listen to.
      Complete the "Before you Read" questions. (PLEASE DO NOT WRITE IN ANY LAB BOOK.)
Read and listen
      Read 1A or 1B
      Listen to the reading (Play audio file) and read along.
After Reading
      Answer the comprehension and Vocabulary questions (on paper please).
      Go to "Explore More" at the end of the chapter.
      Watch the video.
      Type the SUMMARY of the video, using the vocabulary from the box.
      Extra challenge: Write out the answers to C. Think About It.
      If the theme of the chapter was interesting to you, read the alternate reading passage and complete the comprehension and vocabulary exercises.
      Follow the same directions for each of the units you study.
      If you have questions about any part of this activity or your work, see a lab instructor.

Inside Reading 3 or selected chapters from Inside Reading 4
Borrow the text with a CD-Rom in the back to master the academic word list in context.

Before Reading:
      Scan the Table of Contents and find six units that interest you.
      Select Reading 1 or Reading 2 in a unit you have selected.
      Skim the passage: Quickly read the title, the introductory paragraph, the first sentence in each paragraph and the concluding paragraph. Look at pictures and their captions.

      Open the Oxford Genie on the desktop to look up new words as you read.
      Read the entire passage carefully.

After Reading:
      On paper, answer the Reading Comprehension Questions and the Step 1 Vocabulary Activities: Word Level.
      Play the student CD-Rom and master the vocabulary for the unit you have just read.
      If time allows, do Step II Vocabulary Activities: Sentence Level (on separate paper please).
      If you are reading Book 4, work with a partner or small group to actively engage in the vocabulary exercises and discussions.

Circle of Friends Reading Group (for independent learners who love great literature)

Select a short novel by John Steinbeck to read with your group: Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, Of Mice & Men, or The Pearl.

To help with understanding the elements of the novel, read the SparkNotes for the novel (the links above) to comprehend the Context, Plot, Characters, and Themes & Symbols.

Set a schedule and meet weekly with your group members. Decide how many chapters to cover during each meeting.

Read the designated chapter(s) and each group member will write 3 to 5 discussion questions on each chapter to bring to the meeting. Try to formulate at least one question for each chapter that relates to one of the literary elements you read about (context, plot development, characterization, themes and symbols).

Each time you meet, choose a group leader to lead the discussion. Discuss the questions presented.

After you finish the novel, print off the Study Questions and the Review Quiz for the novel you read (in Sparknotes linked to titles above). During your last meeting answer the questions and take the quiz together, sharing and justifying your answers.


Conference with a lab instructor on reading and writing assignments for ESL 302. The lab instructor may help you in the following ways:
      Discuss prewriting techniques such as listing, outlining, clustering, etc., to help you generate and organize ideas.
      Use the Revising Checklist for Essays, to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your essay: introduction and thesis statement,
        body paragraphs, concluding paragraph
      Suggest revision strategies for better content and organization.
      Suggest editing strategies to avoid and correct your most common grammar and word choice errors.
      Suggest a lab assignment to improve your grammar.

Please Note: The lab instructor will not correct your paper for you. The purpose of the conference is to make you a better editor and enable you to make the necessary revisions and corrections discussed during your conference.

Impromptu workshops: Come to the lab with a small group of classmates and request a brief workshop with the lab instructor on grammar or writing problems you are having.

Use a software program listed above to practice the grammar you need to master.

Online Practice

Go to and open the Edit Grid on San Jose Writes. Identify the elements of writing with which you are having difficulty: Rhetorical Problems: Thesis, Topic Sentence, and coherence; Problems with Sentence Boundaries and Punctuation; Problems with Grammar, Syntax, and Connecting Clauses; and Problems with Lexical Choice. Open the teacher icon for lessons and interactive practice on your specific difficulty.

For further practice on, select a skill for improvement:
      Vocabulary / Master the Academic Word List, sublists 7 and 8.

For help with essay writing online:
The Process of Writing and Types of Writing
      Developing a thesis Statements
Prewriting, Writing and Revising 
      Essay Check List    

Please Note:
When studying online at home, keep track of your time on your  lab time sheet. Record four hours only on each time sheet. Turn them in at the end of each month.  The last day to turn in a time sheet is Friday of the15th week (the week before final exams).

Check your Moodle page often. This is where your ESL 302 instructor will post your course assignments and information.

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