Literacy Workbook Series

About our workbooks

The workbooks featured in this catalogue were developed to fill the need for engaging, adult-appropriate literacy materials in the John Howard Society of Manitoba’s basic literacy program.

This series is designed to give adult literacy learners information about topics of interest while at the same time helping them to develop essential literacy skills such as reading, writing, numeracy, communication, critical thinking, and document use.

John Howard Society literacy workbooks are available free of charge as PDFs in electronic format. Some workbooks can be downloaded using links below. If you have questions, contact our Literacy office at 204-775-1514, or email

For more information on the series see additional information at the bottom of this page.

Meth Booklet Study Guide

This workbook is composed of questions about the content of The Meth Booklet created by ANKORS in Nelson, B.C. (see the booklet here) and about the reader’s personal experiences with meth use. The questions can be used as the basis for self-reflection, discussion and writing.

Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Meth Booklet Study Guide.

Blended Families: Benefits and Challenges

Topics of lessons include the following: What is a Blended Family? What are the Challenges of Being a Parent in a Blended Family? Children also Face Challenges in Blended Families; Parenting Styles and Roles; Household Rules and Responsibilities; Relationships between Ex-partners Stepparents, and Extended Families; Personality conflicts in any Marriage; When Your Kids Dislike Your Partner ; Cultural and Religious Differences; How Will We Handle Our Finances? Where Will You Live?

Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Blended Families Workbook.pdf.

Gangs: Learning About Them, Living Without Them

Table of Contents
Sample Chapter

Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Gangs, Learning About them, Living Without Them.pdf.

Getting a Job: Finding (and Keeping) Meaningful Employment

Table of Contents
Sample Chapter

Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Getting a Job, Finding (and Keeping) Meaningful Emploment.pdf

It’s Your Country, Too: On Voting, Volunteering, and Making the World a Better Place

Table of Contents
Sample Chapter
Full workbook available here: [Workbook] It’s Your Country, Too: On Voting, Volunteering, and Making the World a Better Place.pdf

Math: What’s the Point?

Table of Contents
Sample Chapter
Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Math: What’s the Point?.pdf

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

This workbook addresses the immediate effects of abuse on a child as well as the long-term effects on that person as an adult. Fourteen lessons cover areas such as memories, coping, parenting, and breaking the cycle. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.pdf

All My Relations (an Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Manual)

The reader is introduced to Aboriginal traditions and beliefs. Twenty-one lessons cover areas such as medicines, ceremonies, celebrations, medicine wheel, foods and feasts. A brief historical overview is included as well. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] All My Relations.pdf

Children and Parenting

This workbook comes in two versions–community or our institutional program version. Lessons address childhood development, parenting skills, families, and issues related to prison. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Children and Parenting.pdf

Eating Right: A Food and Nutrition Manual

The twenty-seven lessons in this workbook introduce the reader to the different food groups, the body’s nutritional needs, shopping, meal planning and food handling. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Eating Right: A Food and Nutrition Manual.pdf

Get Out & Stay Out

This workbook was revised to appeal to those being released from prisons outside of Manitoba. It has also been expanded to include topics beyond coping with physical needs. Relationships, decision making, and reconciliation are explored. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Get Out & Stay Out.pdf

Getting Along: A Guide to Healthy Relationships

The goals of this workbook are to help build good relationships and to recognize troubled ones. This information is helpful for all relationships, not just romantic ones. Some areas covered include trust building, communication, honesty and loyalty. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Getting Along: A Guide to Healthy Relationships.pdf

Hurting People: A Victim Awareness Manual

This book encompasses victim awareness, stages and causes of victimization, thinking errors, victims’ rights and the cycle of victimization. This manual includes twenty-four lessons. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Hurting People: A Victim Awareness Manual.pdf

Learning to Talk and Listen Better

This workbook contains practical ideas for dealing with conflict, communication, and relationships. The reader will explore self-concepts, emotions, listening, & tips for speaking with people. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Learning to Talk and Listen Better.pdf

Living with Pain and Loss: A Manual on Grieving

This is a workbook for anyone who has experienced a loss, be it a bereavement, a serious illness, or a loss of freedom. The lessons were written to provide help with understanding what has happened, how different people are affected, what may change, and who may be able to help. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Living with Pain and Loss: A Manual on Grieving.pdf

Relapse Prevention

This is information adapted from the relapse prevention model for treatment of addictions. The workbook addresses problem recognition, lapses and relapse, prevention, coping, high risk situations, support systems and professional guidance. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Relapse Prevention.pdf

Repairing the Harm (an Introduction to Restorative Justice)

These lessons assist people in understanding the impact that crime has on victims, their families, the community and offenders. Based on the principles of restorative justice, this book explains how to repair the harm caused by crime, and how the entire community benefits. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Repairing the Harm (an Introduction to Restorative Justice).pdf

Staying Sober

The twenty-two lessons in this workbook look at some of the harmful effects that alcohol and other drugs have on people. The manual also discusses harm reduction and some of the treatment options that are available to people who misuse drugs. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Staying Sober.pdf

Stress, Anxiety and Depression

The reader is introduced to stress, anxiety and depression as normal emotions as well as disorders. 14 lessons provide information on coping, treatment, and where to turn for help. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Stress, Anxiety and Depression.pdf

Understanding Anger

This is our most widely used workbook. It presents eight sections: an introduction to anger, stress, self esteem, responses to anger, expressions of anger, controlling anger, resolving conflict, and related issues such as violence and the family. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Understanding Anger.pdf

Writing Made Easy

Twenty-nine lessons teach basic English grammar skills. The lessons include instructions on nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, connectives, and contractions. Short stories, maps and poems are used to engage the reader. Full workbook available here: [Workbook] Writing Made Easy.pdf

Additional information

Each workbook in the literacy series contains written lessons followed by exercises designed to enhance literacy, strengthen reading comprehension, and build analytical and problem-solving skills. These workbooks were written to appeal especially to incarcerated learners, but we have found that many non-incarcerated individuals also find them quite useful.

Learners at about a grade 7 or 8 level (Stage Three under Manitoba’s Stages Literacy Framework) will be able to read these books quite comfortably. Lower level readers can also benefit from the books with the assistance of a tutor or study partner. Depending on the level of the learner these books can be excellent for independent use; however, some interactive or research activities, particularly in the newer books, will be most fun and effective if done with the help of a tutor or at least a supportive friend or family member.

It should be noted that while some of these books cover topics often addressed by counselors and in treatment programs, the purpose of this series is educational, not therapeutic. Readers will no doubt learn valuable information about such topics as substance use, parenting, and anger management; however these books should not be considered a substitute for accredited treatment programs in these areas.