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ESL Computer Literacy Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kandi Young

Kandi has degrees in Communications, Human Services, Education and Computer Science. She is a Business, Marketing, and Technology instructor with a Master's degree in Education.

This lesson plan is designed to help ESL students develop computer literacy by practicing word processing skills. Students will create a document and learn common formatting terms and uses, as well as use software tools and editing features to provide and receive feedback.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to do the following:

  • Develop computer literacy skills by creating a document using word processing software
  • Recognize common uses of specific formatting
  • Apply formatting appropriately to a variety of documents

Length of Lesson

1 to 2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Pose and respond to specific questions with elaboration and detail by making comments that contribute to the topic, text, or issue under discussion.


Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.


  • word processing software
  • document
  • formatting
    • bold
    • italics
    • underline
    • font color
    • highlight color
    • text style
    • font size
  • paint format
  • alignment
  • paragraph spacing
  • comments


  • Handouts with common formatting icons, associated names, and function
  • A well-formatted document and one that is not well-formatted
  • List of potential documents to create (e.g., movie poster, missing pet flier, invitation, short story, letter, pamphlet)
  • Access to computers with word processing software (Microsoft Word, Google Docs)
  • Printer (if digital sharing is unavailable)


  • Begin class with discussion about your ESL students' experiences using computers and word processing software:
    • What is word processing software?
    • Which programs, if any, have you used before?
    • What types of documents can you make?
    • What are some benefits to using this software instead of handwriting a document?
  • Distribute handouts with common formatting icons and their descriptions.
  • Show students the well-formatted and poorly formatted samples, and get feedback. Ask students to refer to their formatting handout to use the proper vocabulary to discuss the document.
    • Which do you like and why?
    • What formatting made this look good/bad?
    • Would you use different formatting for different types of documents? Explain.

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