apple Essential Skills Website

The next step to embracing Essential Skills is to explore the ES Website ( Community Literacy of Ontario found it to be a fascinating and comprehensive site, with multiple links and levels. We recommend taking small bites and savouring each one individually. Visit this site often to check for updates and new resources.

The ES website is hosted by Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), and all information on it was created by the Essential Skills and Workplace Literacy Initiative. The key products are the ES Profiles and a collection of authentic materials gathered from a wide range of Canadian workplaces.

You will find the Employment & Social Development Canada’s description of  Essential Skills ( that provides, among other things, the nine Essential Skills definitions. Go to for a handy link to ES information that literacy practitioners will find helpful. The page provides a brief guide to using ES Profiles, the Readers’ Guide, and authentic workplace materials to enhance your program and help students set skill development targets.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Readers’ Guide to Essential Skills Profiles ( is a great resource for practitioners who want to further explore ES in detail. The introduction alone covers everything from what Essential Skills are, to understanding and using the ES Profiles in your agency. The Guide presents an exhaustive break-down of each ES, with examples, complexity ratings, and other pertinent information. It is highly recommended reading as an accompaniment to exploring ES profiles, when specific clarification is required. Again, it is a complex document and practitioners may prefer to review it over several sittings.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you generally use literacy websites to inform your instruction? Consider the websites that you have used in the past, and think about which ones you were comfortable using and why. Do you think you can find similar tools on the ES site?
  2. After you have briefly explored some of the links on the Essential Skills website, think about which links provided the most helpful information. What pages you would consider bookmarking or printing?
  3. How do you think you could use the ES links and resources? In what ways would they benefit your professional development? Which ones would best meet the needs of adult students in terms of information, learning activities, and interaction?
  4. Share valuable best practices and resources at conferences, regional meetings, online, or email your ideas to CLO at
    . Sources such as AlphaCom provide opportunities to network with other practitioners – a particularly helpful exercise when you are working with something new. CLO challenges you to be the first!
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