Literacy in a Garden

Literacy can grow in a garden. Gardening is a high interest topic for many students. Planning a garden, working in a garden and visiting a garden involve literacy skills.

Learning materials with garden themes are available. You can start with some of the following:

Reading Materials

Alix works in a garden centre – a selection from Best of the Reader, Jobs

BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English – Reader 1 – Nine original stories about healing, discovery, survival relationships, justice and connections to the land explored through the lens of the plant world

Breakthrough: Parks and Gardens* – a collection of articles about visiting botanical gardens, from the Douglas College iCare program

Community Gardens in The Active Reader: Book 5*– a reading selection with activities

Gardening* – a Grass Roots Press photostory

How to make compost at home – An article from The Westcoast Reader, including audio and exercises

Plant a herb garden – An article from The Westcoast Reader, including audio and exercises

Start a container garden – An article from The Westcoast Reader


Alphabet Garden Theme: Creating An Alphabet Garden With Kids – ideas for designing an alphabet garden

Breaking News English Lesson: Botanic Gardens* – a news story written at four different levels with activities

English ESL gardening worksheets

The Garden Classroom: Hands-on activities in math, science, literacy, and art* – activities designed for children 4-8; useful for family literacy programs

Garden Math*- math word problems in a gardening context

Garden-Based Learning for Language and Literacy – using seed packets as environmental print and more

Gardening Show – listening quiz from Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab

Green fingers – a lesson plan from BBC Teaching English

Kayo’s Vegetable Garden – video and quiz from ESL video

The Learning Garden: Literacy and Numeracy in a College Courtyard* – curriculum from Vancouver Community College

Taking Family Literacy to the Garden – ideas from NWT Literacy Council


Do you teach idioms? Have you noticed that many idioms have garden and plant themes? Find an extensive list in Bumper crop of gardening idioms for you to pick from.


*Resources marked with an asterisk can be borrowed from the Decoda Library. Email to request a loan.

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