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English as a Second Language (ESL)

The Library Now Has Free Telephone Stories in 15 Languages!

June 7, 2014 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Do you enjoy listening to stories? Have you heard of Dial-a-Story? Toronto Public Library has a FREE phone line 416-395-5400 you can call 24 hours a day and listen to recorded stories in 15 languages.

Recently we added a new language - there are now stories recorded in Tagalog!

It is a very popular service - only in the year 2012 the Dial-A-Story service received  251,917 calls!

Every day there are different stories to listen to in each language and they are divided by age - stories for younger children (7 and under) and for older children (up to 12).

 

You can listen to Dial-a-Story in the following fifteen languages:  

 

  • English Dialastory1
  • French
  • Cantonese
  • Gujarati
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Tagalog
  • Urdu

 

The newest language that will be added to the story phone line later in 2014 is Persian!

The library will also will continue to add new stories in the languages we currently have.

For example this year 6 new Portuguese stories were recorded and there are plans for new Spanish, French and English stories.

So listen to a story in a language that you know or even in a new one. It is fun to hear how a different language sounds. We all experience this daily in our multicultural city of Toronto.

 

Dial-a-story Helps  You Practice English as a Second Language (ESL)

Listening to stories in English and French is also a great way to practice your listening comprehension and vocabulary if you are learning English or French as a Second Language.

Among the stories that are recorded and rotated on the phone - there are also many stories recorded for special occasions such as Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month, Aboriginal Month, Christmas, Summer Reading Club.

If you are a newcomer - your family can enjoy stories in your heritage language as well as practice English.

 

Borrow Books and Other Materials in Your Language from the Library

In addition to stories by phone, you can of course find children's and adult books in many languages (we call them multilingual collections) at some of the branches of Toronto Public Library. Please visit your local library for more information, call our Answerline service at 416-393-7131 or browse the library's list of multilingual collections by language to find out which library has materials in your language.

 

Read Other Related Blog Posts from Library Staff:

 

So why not call 416-395-5400 for and enjoy some wonderful storytelling!

Free Multilingual eBooks Available for Download on OverDrive

December 9, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

TPL eBooks Campaign

Have you seen our advertising campaign for free eBooks from the library?
Have you ever used OverDrive to download eBooks or eAudiobooks?

With a Toronto Public Library card, you can access our OverDrive database to download eBooks for FREE! Visit the website for more information.

If you are downloading eBooks for the first time, we have many resources available for your support:

Getting started with eBooksNeed Technical Help with eBooksEBook Programs

 

NEW! Do you read in another language?

Recently, Toronto Public Library has expanded their digital collections to include multilingual eBooks in Spanish, French (Canadian), Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. You can now download eBooks in your native language!

*More languages will be added in time. 

Spanish Interface OverDrive
[Screen shot of OverDrive's eBooks in Spanish]


Download a bestseller today! If you require further assistance, see eBook FAQs.

 

Multicultural Films at The Toronto Public Library

October 2, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you miss the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year? TIFF was the highlight of the city from September 4-14, 2013 and you can read what our blogger, Alyson, had to say in her Toronto International Film Festival post. Last year our blogger, Melanie, wrote a great post about TIFF and Exploring the World in Movies.

 

There are many great films featured each year and with a Toronto Public Library card, you can borrow some of these great films and watch them in the comfort of your own home! Take a look at some of our highlights:

  A Monster in Paris Flower Drum Song Inescapable Lore Princess Kaiulani


For more staff suggestions, Download the Film Watcher's Guide to Multicultural Films at the Library!

Last year's list can be found here: Download the MULTICULTURAL FILMS LIST

If you see a title you like, search for it through our library catalogue at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca and place a hold on it with your library card! If you have any questions, please call our answerline at: 416-393-7131

 

Do you have a library card?

Toronto Public Library CardHave you just arrived in Canada? Visit a library near you to obtain your free library card so you can start borrowing free ESL books, CDs and so much more, right away. Just remember to bring an ID and proof of address in Toronto (such as a bill or rental lease). If you don't have a document yet with your new Toronto address - library staff can mail to you a library postcard that you can bring back, confirming your address.


Newcomer Artist Award Opportunity

August 16, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

NEIGHBOURHOOD ARTS NETWORK ANNOUNCES THE TELUS NEWCOMER ARTIST AWARD!

Have you recently moved to Canada?

Are you a professional artist?

Are you a resident of the City of Toronto?

If you’re a recent new immigrant and a professional artist, you can apply for $10,000 in funding being offered by the Neighbourhood Arts Network and TELUS.

TELUS Newcomer Artist Award


Administered by the Neighbourhood Arts Network and Toronto Arts Foundation, this prize is specifically geared for an individual artist who is a newcomer to Canada, a resident of the City of Toronto and making a positive impact in their community through their artistic practice.

Deadline is Sept. 10, 2013


You are eligible if you are:

  • An individual artist
  • A newcomer to Canada (having moved to Canada within 1 to 7 years)
  • Over the age of 18
  • A current resident of the City of Toronto (Must have lived in Toronto for a minimum of 1 year)
  • A Neighbourhood Arts Network member (You can sign up for our free membership prior to applying at www.neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org)

 

For more information on the Art selection process or contact. Please visit the Neighbourhood Arts Network website.

CLICK HERE FOR AN ONLINE APPLICATION

or

DOWNLOAD MS WORD DOCUMENT APPLICATION FORM

ESL Summer Classes, Learn English with Mango and More

June 4, 2013 | Iana | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

ESL section at the libraryThe ESL summer brochure of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) just came out and here is the good news for English language learners in Toronto this summer! You can attend summer  ESL (English as a second language) classes between July 2-26, 2013.

The choice of classes during the summer is more limited that the rest of the year, but there are still 23 locations spread across the city that you can attend ESL classes, while enjoying summer. Download the pdf version of the Adult ESL Summer Program 2013 brochure. (At the end of summer - check your local library for the next ESL brochure with the busy Fall class schedule by TDSB.)

To register:

  • Simply go to the ESL location of your choice on the first day of class.
  • Remember to bring a proof of residency in Canada.

Please note that those classes are FREE for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, convention refugees, refugee claimants, Live-in Caregiver program participants, Canadian experience class participants, provincial nominees. All adults, 18 years and older, are welcome. "Visitors" to Canada can attend classes for $7 per hour.

For any questions about these ESL classes - contact the TDSB ESL program: www.ESLtoronto.ca or 416-338-4300. The Toronto Catholic School Board (TCDSB)  - another public school board in the city may be offering free  ESL classes in the summer - for more information: 416-397-6600 or www.tcdsb.org/adulted.

 

Mango Languages icon - online learning centre

 

 

If you prefer to study from the comfort of your home or on your mobile devide, especially during one of those hottest and most humid summer days in Toronto - why not try the online ESL courses offered by MANGO? With your free Toronto Public Library card - you can login to Mango at any time. Then choose between a "basic" and "complete" ESL course.

Mango offers customized ESL courses for fifteen languages! These are: ESL Spanish, ESL Brazilian Portuguese, ESL French, ESL Russian, ESL Mandarin, ESL Cantonese, ESL Italian, ESL Arabic, ESL Japanese, ESL Vietnamese, ESL Polish, ESL Korean, ESL Greek, ESL German, and ESL Turkish.

How to find the "Mango" database at the library? Visit the Toronto Public library's website and simply type "MANGO" in the search box, then click on the Mango icon and enter your library card number.

 

  Watch this "Getting a library card" video,  TPL's youtube channel.

 

 

Have you just arrived in Canada? Visit a library near you to obtain your free library card so you can start borrowing free ESL books, CDs and so much more, right away. Just remember to bring an ID and proof of address in Toronto (such as a bill or rental lease). If you don't have a document yet with your new Toronto address - library staff can mail to you a library postcard that you can bring back, confirming your address.

 

Families at the libraryToronto's libraries are open all summer long and are air-conditioned (so helpful in the hot humid days  of July)! They have welcoming spaces and staff, and are usually located nearby (98 busy branches to choose from, and a bookmobile!).  

Each library branch has some ESL materials on the shelf,  and many more can ne requested from the website catalogue. The largest ESL centre is at the Toronto Reference Library. For more on that, read our previous post: Learning English at Toronto Reference Library: The largest ESL collection in Toronto.

 

How to find more summer ESL classes in the community:

  •  Call 211 or search the 211Toronto website for ongoing ESL classes (and other community resources) offered by newcomer agencies.
  • Talk to a summer LSP settlement worker at 20 branches of Toronto Public Library. They provide information for newcomers, including ESL.
  • Just arrived in Canada? Visit a YMCA Language Assessment and Referral Centre to get your English language tested and be referred to the appropriate class level (book your appointment with the YMCA assessment hotline at 416-925-546).

 


Picture Books on Learning English

March 14, 2013 | Debby | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...


Public libraries are a wonderful place to discover many different books on a variety of topics. The picture book format may have been written for children, but these valuable books can also be enjoyed by people of all ages. 

Learning the English language has it's difficulties and there is no shortage of books and stories that highlight these frustrations. The following is a small list of picture books that underline and focus on the distress and irritations in learning a new language.

 

Carmen Learns English by Judy CoxCarmen Learns English by Judy Cox is about Spanish-speaking student, Carmen, who has newly-arrived in the United States from Mexico. Carmen is apprehensive about going to school and learning English, until friends show her new English words. 


I Hate English! by Ellen LevineI Hate English! by Ellen Levine is about young girl, Mei Mei who moves to New York from Hong Kong with her family. Mei Mei finds it difficult to adjust to school, while learning the alien sounds of English and does not understand the need to learn a new language.

 In English of Course by Josephine Nobisso
In English of Course
by Josephine Nobisso is about Italian-born, Josephine, who tries to tell her new American class about her life in Italy, in English of course. Through multicultural miscommunications, Josephine makes herself understood.

 Marianthe's Story, Painted Words and Spoken Memories by Aliki 

Painted Words by Aliki is a book of two stories. One is the telling of Mari's starting school in a new land, and the second describing village life in her country before she and her family left in search of a better life. Mari's paintings are used as the medium for her narration as she struggles to understand a new language at school.

   

Uncle Rain Cloud by Tony JohnstonUncle Rain Cloud by Tony Johnston is about young Carlos, who tries to help his uncle, frustrated and angry at his inability to speak English, adjust to their new home in Los Angeles.

 


My Name is Yoon by Helen RecorvitsMy Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits is all about Korean-born "Yoon" who dislikes her name written in English, and refers to herself as "cat," "bird," and "cupcake," as a way to feel more comfortable in her new school and new country. As she learns the meaning of her Korean name, she begins to accept her place in her new home.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi is about new student, Unhei, and her name that nobody can pronounce. After Unhei moves from Korea to the United States, her new classmates help her decide what her name should be by putting their suggestions into a jar.

 

 
All these books and more are available at the 98 Toronto Public Libraries throughout the city. For more information on where to locate these books, please click on the book image or visit our main page at www.torontopubliclibrary.ca


Related Blog Posts:
Also have a look at one of our New to Canada blogger's post on Discover Canada in Children's Picture books for more picture book choices!


What's your favourite picture book?

Online Resources for Newcomers

February 16, 2013 | Melanie | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

How do I properly dispose of my old CD player? How do I get that pot-hole on my street fixed? Where can I get the flu shot?

These are some of the questions many newcomers may have when they arrive in Toronto, but many people may not know where to look.

The City of Toronto website is a great resource for finding answers to your everyday questions. Here are a few of my favourite City of Toronto online resources.

 

WASTE WIZARD


Waste Wizard is a great online resource for finding out how to properly dispose of unwanted items. I use this resource quite frequently because many times I'm not sure whether something goes in the garbage or recycling bin. I guarantee that once you start using it, you won't be able to stop!

Waste Wizard

311

311 is a muncipal information service that provides access to information about non-emergency city services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can access 311 either by phone (just dial 3-1-1), or through their website (www.toronto.ca/311). If you have a question, and you don't know whom to ask, start with 311! If they can't answer your question, they'll be able to refer you to someone who will.

You can use 311 to request information for anything from tree pruning to water service, and even for road and weather conditions. Once, I even used 311 to report a dog I thought to have been abandoned. Whatever your question is, 311 will connect you with the right city service.

311

 

Did you also know that Toronto Public Library has some great online resources for newcomers and English language learners? You will need your library card to access these databases, but once you're logged in, you'll find a wealth of information to help you settle into your new life in Toronto.

Here are some of the best databases for newcomers and ESL students:

 

IELTS

Road to IELTSThis IELTS database helps you to prepare and practice for your IELTS test by providing links to reading, listening, speaking, and writing practice tests. This database may come in handy, especially now that skilled workers and professionals who immigrate to Canada must provide proof of language proficiency.

 

MANGO LANGUAGES


Mango
Mango Languages is another great resource that provides online English language learning courses tailored for speakers of Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and other languages. If you're interested in learning a third or fourth language, Mango also provides language learning courses for fifty other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Hindi, and even Pirate!

 

MY CANADA

My Canada is an online resource that will help you learn more about Canada's history, geography, government, and culture.

STUDY SKILLS SUCCESS Study Skills Success

This online resource will help you develop the skills you need to learn English. Study Skills Success offers courses on English reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Once you've mastered these four language skills, you can also try out their grammar, vocabulary, critical thinking and research courses.

 

LEARNING EXPRESS LIBRARY

Learning Express Library is your one-stop shop for practice tests, exercises, and skill-building courses on subjects ranging from math and science, to social studies and reading comprehension. Learning Express Library also provides online courses on job and career skills, including how to write a resume, tips for successful job interviews and job search information. But wait! There's more! Learning Express Library also provides TOEFL practice tests, as well as Canadian citizenship practice exams.

Learning Express Canada

 

BUSINESS WRITING

Business WritingAnd last but not least, the Business Writing online resource is a great online learning tool for small-business owners, job seekers, and professionals alike. This online resource provides you with online courses for developing a variety of business and career related skills, including how to write a report, how to apply for a job, and even how to successfully share your ideas with colleagues.

 

So how do you access these wonderful online databases? It's easy! just follow these instructions:

  1. Go to www.torontopubliclibrary.ca
  2. Click on "Articles and Online Research."
  3. Click on "A - Z list of all databases."
  4. Search for your desired database from the list, which is in alphabetic order. Once you've found the database you're looking for, click on the orange "Access Online" button.
  5. Type in your library card number and PIN.
  6. Click on the orange "Continue" button
  7. Start learning!

 

Do you find these online resources useful? Which online resources have you used to help you settle in Toronto? Let us know!

Dial-a-Story During the Winter Season

February 2, 2013 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you looking for warm things to do on a cold, wintry day?
Have you heard about Toronto Public Library's Dial-a-Story service?

If you love listening to stories, phone: 416-395-5400, FREE, 24 hours a day, to hear stories recorded in 14 different languages, as well as English.

Dewey_books


A full list of languages on Dial-a-Story include:
Cantonese, English, French, Italian, Gujurati, Urdu, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Russian, Tamil, and our newest addition, Korean.


There are different stories every day and you can choose from stories for younger children (7 and under) and for older children (up to 12).


Experience the magic of storytelling! 


Dial-a-story-little-girl

Don't forget to have a look at our other services while you are there:
Hear-a-Story in various languages on our KidsSpace website
Read-a-Story from one of the recommended links
Tell-a-Story with the interactive tool available on our KidsSpace website

And all of the fun programs available for Newcomer children!


Related Blog posts:
Dial-a-Story: A great way to practice listening skills!
Every Day is "Family Literacy Day" at the Library!


Learning English at Toronto Reference Library: The largest ESL collection in Toronto

January 15, 2013 | Iana | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Did you know that the Toronto Reference Library is home to the largest public collection of ESL (English as a Second Language) materials in Toronto?

 

ESL centre at TRL 4th floor[A view of the Languages and Literature Department and the Information Desk, 4th floor, Toronto Reference Library. Behind the desk there is a large reference collection of ESL and Languages Learning materials - books and CD/DVD sets that you can browse and "sign-out" to use at the library. Staff at the desk will be happy to help you with all your questions.]

 

While every branch of Toronto Public Library has a smaller ESL collection of materials that can be borrowed, and while many learning materials can be reserved ("placing a hold") through the library website catalogue - the ESL centre at the Toronto Reference Library is by far the largest one in our 98 library branches and offers unique and rich materials for all learning levels.

 

It is located on the 4th floor of the Toronto Reference Library (Bloor/Yonge subway, 789 Yonge Str.) - and is part of the "Languages and Literature Department". You will find there many books, CDs and DVDs on various skills like pronunciation, listening, reading comprehension, grammar, English for work (for a full list of all fourteen categories of languge skills see further below); course books, dictionaries, exam preparation such as TOEFL and IELTS. Some of the materials in the ESL centre can be borrowed to use at home, some are "reference" and can only be used at the library. There are tables equipped with CD and DVD players so that language learners can practice and study with the latest reference materials.

 

If you take the beautiful glass elevator or climb up the stairs to the 4th floor of Toronto Reference Library - you will find helpful staff and a cosy, well-light, welcoming space busy with visitors and learners at any time of day - there are recent immigrants, international students, teachers and many others who regularly use the languages collections and the "A/V desks".

 

ESL collection at Toronto Reference Library[Partial view of the largest ESL collection in Toronto - 4th floor, Toronto Reference Library.]

 IN THIS LARGEST ESL COLLECTION YOU CAN FIND:

  • Materials for use IN LIBRARY only (they have location "Audio Desk" in the catalogue).
  • Materials that you can TAKE HOME (these are "circulating" books to be borrowed).
  • CDs, DVDs, videos and cassettes.
  • A selection of ESL books for TEACHERS.

 

The materials on the shelves are organized in fourteen ESL (14) categories to help visitors find and select the appropriate books for their language level and the skills needed, in such a large collection.  

 

These are the fourteen ESL categories:

  1. Easy Readers
  2. Communication and Life Skills
  3. Job-Related English
  4. English through pictures
  5. Grammar
  6. Idioms
  7. Writing Skills
  8. Pronunciation
  9. Reading Improvement
  10. Spelling
  11. Tests - TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, CAE, MELAB etc.
  12. Vocabulary
  13. Multi Skills
  14. Listening Skills

 

TESTS OF ENGLISH as a FOREIGN LANGUAGE:

If you plan to continue your studies at university, you would need to pass the IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, CAE, or other tests. The ESL centre at the Toronto Reference Library has many books and audiovisual courses (sets of books and CDs/DVDs) to help you prepare for these tests.

 

ESL centre at TRL 4th floor 2 [Partial view of the Languages & Literature department with the biggest ESL collection in Toronto. There are A/V desks equipped with CD and DVD players for practicing ESL and other "Languages Learning" materials.]

 

TOURS, ESL READING CIRCLE, LANGUAGES LEARNING, MULTILINGUAL BOOKS

There are other related services offered through the Langages and Literature Department:

  • Tours of the ESL Collection and Languages & Literature Department - teachers can call for an appointment at 416-393-7085.
  • ESL Reading Circle @ Toronto Reference Library - a free drop-in program at the Beeton Auditorium on selected Fridays, 2-3.30pm. Practice your English by reading with others from great books and sharing your ideas about them. Check on the website or call Anwerline (416-393-7131) for upcoming dates. For this current season the dates are: March 8, March 22, April 5, April 19, 2013.
  • Book a Librarian - free personalized appointment with a librarian for 30-60 minutes for research or library information - you can get questions answered at a time convenient to you. For example: how to find ESL materials, books in your language, find citizenship information etc.
  • Multilingual collection - the largest in Toronto - the Languages & Literature Department also has books in more than 60 languages - that can be borrowed and used at home (and you can conveniently return them to your closest local TPL branch).
  • "Languages Learning" and "French as a Second Language" collections - along with the ESL materials, you can also find "Languages Learning" materials to help you learn and practice many other languages - for example French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Greek, Hungarian, Hindi, Tagalog and many others. Some of those materials you can borrow, some can be used at the library only ("reference").

 

CONTACTS:

The ESL centre (and the Toronto Reference Library) is open Monday to Thursday 9.30 to 8:30; Friday 9:30 to 5:30; Saturday 9:00 to 5:00; Sunday 1:30 to 5:00 (open Sundays from September to June). Call the Information Desk at 416-393-7085 for more information.

    

For more articles about learning "English as a Second Language" at the Library - please read our earlier posts from the New to Canada blog:

 

 Visit the ESL centre and good luck with your studies!

Audio clips of Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

September 13, 2012 | Debby | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you studying to take the Citizenship test? The questions in the citizenship test can be found in the information from the free study guide, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

In the last few months, Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) has added a new free audio version of the study guide to the CIC website. These files can now be downloaded to your computer or played directly through an audio player on the website.

Discover CanadaThere are many ways that you can access the information from this guide:

1. Ask at your local Toronto Public Library for a free copy. Find your closest branch.

2. Read it in HTML or PDF format on the CIC website

3. Download or Install the text onto a mobile device

4. Order your own copy

5. Listen to it online or download the MP3 files

 

Audio clips are narrated in sections by notable Canadians listed on the website

 

If you need more help:

You can also look at sample study questions to help you prepare for the test:

Questions provided by Citizen and Immigration Canada
Questions provided by Toronto Public Library

 

Check out our other blogs on Citizenship:

Canadian Citizenship Test preparation - new classes @ your library and more citizenship information.

Citizenship, ESL, Educational and Career tests, online and always available for sample questions, information, and help.

Library Settlement Partnerships at Toronto Public Libraries, who help with newcomer services.

 

Welcome! This blog is written by librarians and provides information and resources available from the library and around Toronto to new residents of Canada. For more information see the Library's Help for Newcomers website

Your comments, posts, messages and creative content are welcome, provided they encourage a respectful dialogue and comply with the Library's mission, values and policies.
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