Multi-cultural Education

Education on environmental issues is important for all Minnesotans. For increasing numbers of people in the state, English is not the native language.

Development of these free resources using environmental issues as their integrating concept was funded, in part, by state grant programs. These workbooks are intended for students in English as a second language (ESL) and limited English proficiency (LEP) classes.

Newcomers and the Environment

ESL textbooks for intermediate and advanced-level students

Eco language

This ESL workbook profiles the lives of immigrants who have come to America and now have successful careers in the field of environmental education and protection. Instructors will find these classroom-tested textbooks easy to use, with material written at a level appropriate for teaching ESL.

Newcomers Workbook
  • Bosnian
  • Hmong
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Somali
  • Vietnamese

In addition to exercises to teach the rules of language, students will get practical information about how to live in the U.S. and be a friend of the environment. The stories about real people keep them interested in the environmental issues discussed, and the exercises help them improve their English skills.

  • Exercises based on the profiles give practice with English and educate on important issues, teaching lessons on how to develop an environmentally friendly lifestyle in Minnesota.
  • A multi-lingual glossary will help students learn the new environmental vocabulary. All students will benefit from the English definitions and translations in Bosnian, Hmong, Russian, Spanish, Somali, and Vietnamese.
  • Much more than grammar. Each profile passes along personal background (Why did they come to the United States? How did they chose their profession? What information do they want to pass on to other newcomers?) and serves as an inspiration for those who use the textbook.
  • Difficulty. Both textbooks were written for adult ESL programs, but are also suitable for younger students. The Intermediate Level is written for students scoring 200 to 210 on the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS), or reading at the 2nd or 3rd grade level. Advanced Level students score 211 and above on the CASAS, reading at the 4th grade level or higher.

These textbooks will work well for you whether you are working with a class or tutoring one-to-one. In fact, anyone teaching ESL or environmental education can use these materials-the goal is to get this important environmental information to newcomers in a format that they can understand.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle WorkbookReduce, Reuse, Recycle

ESL textbook/workbook: 12 languages

Since the first edition of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was printed in 1995, over 10,000 copies have been used by ESL programs around Minnesota. Over the years, the workbook has been done in a total of 12 languages, reflecting the Minnesota's growing diversity.

This text was written with two complementary goals:

  • Create a textbook which both teachers and tutors could use to teach immigrants how to speak, read and write English. Each chapter includes 3 to 5 ESL exercises, giving students lots of opportunity to practice both written and spoken English with the information contained in that chapter.
  • Communicate information about reducing, reusing and recycling to immigrants with limited English skills, so that they would be more willing and able to participate in local recycling and waste reduction programs. More than 100 photographs help illustrate vocabulary words where appropriate, with key vocabulary words translated into 12 different languages.

The Tutor Guide explains how to use the ESL exercises effectively, and to help you get the most from “Reduce Reuse Recycle” as an ESL textbook. The exercises in the students' edition of “Reduce Reuse Recycle” can be done using cooperative learning methods, with students integrating speaking, listening, reading and writing in all of the exercises. An answer key is included.

If needed, we encourage you to write additional exercises based on the level of competency of your students. There is so much data contained in the text that is helpful and necessary for newcomers to learn - instructors shouldn't simply pass on this resource because it is either above or below the level of their students.

ESL ExercisesCommunity Power grant: EE Activities for ESL

These interactive exercises explain what happens to the garbage that we throw away. They give examples of how to reduce, reuse and recycle. They also explain household hazardous waste, how to read product labels, and how to dispose of waste properly. The explanations are in English, Hmong, Arabic and Somali, and can be heard online or printed from pdf files. The exercises are all in English, and can be used online or printed.

Funded by a 2005 Community POWER grant with financial support from the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board in cooperation with Anoka County Integrated Waste Management.


Charles or Pamela LaRue
Multi-Cultural Educational Services
832 104th Lane NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55433

Charles LaRue has been working as an ESL instructor for over 20 years. Since 1995, more than 10,000 copies of his ESL textbook "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" have been printed and used by ESL programs around Minnesota. He wrote and classroom-tested "Newcomers and the Environment."

These guides were developed with assistance from the Environmental Assistance grants program.

Learn more about other grants by checking out the online database of past awards.