ESL or Early Language Learners


From Larry Ferlazzo's Blog and Site:

As a companion list to The Best Sites For K-12 Beginning English Language Learners, I thought I’d put together a short list of my similar choices for Intermediate English Language Learners.  I’ll also be creating lists focusing on older ELL’s, too.

I thought that lists like these might make it a little easier for teachers, particularly newer ones — newer to teaching or newer to using technology in their teaching. Then, at their leisure, they can explore all the other more specialized “The Best…” lists.

Of course, links to all the sites on these lists can also be found on my website, along with thousands of others.

I’ve included nine sites here (there’s a tie for first place).

Here are my picks for The Best Sites For K-12 Intermediate English Language Learners:

Number eight is Wordmaster. It’s a great game from the BBC. In it, you’re shown a sentence with a word missing (indicated by a blank). Then you have to click on an on-screen keyboard to type the correct word “hangman” style. You can ask for clues, and you’re competing against the clock. You can also choose various levels of difficulty, and the game has thousands of words. And after you’ve either guessed the correct word or the timer is up, you can have the sentence read to you.

I’ve put the Audio Slideshow Gallery at Reuters at number seven. The photos are excellent, they have very short captions, and the narration, though it isn’t an exact recitation of the text, is accessible. They do an audio slideshow each week summarizing key news events.

Number six is the California Distance Learning Project - Adult Learning Activities.  This site covers many topical issues with follow-up activities, though some of its stories are also a little dated.

Sing Snap is number five.  It’s a online karaoke site — great for speaking practice.   It’s easy to use, free-of-charge, and, if you don’t want to record, you can just listen to others sing while the screen shows the lyrics. Using a webcam is an option, but unlike many Web 2.0 sites, you can still use it if you just have a computer microphone.

Number four is Listen and Write. A user first chooses a text he/she wants to hear read to him/her. Many of the choices are from the Voice of America, and are both high-interest and accessible. Their levels of difficulty are also indicated. Then the story is dictated to you, and you have to type it correctly. You can choose the speed of the reading and how often it’s repeated. When you type only the correct letters actually show-up on the screen, and you can ask for hints.

Number three is Into The Book. This is an absolutely incredible resource designed to help students learn reading strategies - visualize, predict, summarize, etc. For the past couple of years it had only been partially completed. Now, however, all its exercises were finished. Users are led through the process of learning each reading strategy with interactive exercises.

The Everyday Life Project is number two. It’s sponsored by the Goodwill Community Foundation in North Carolina, and it has extraordinary interactive exercises for Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners.  Its activities on food, money, work, shopping and maps are excellent.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s a tie for first place.

For lower-and-mid-level Intermediate ELL’s, U.S.A Learns is number one.   It’s an incredible website to help users learn English.  Even though it’s primarily designed for older learners, it seems very accessible to all but the very youngest ELL’s.  It’s free to use. Students can register if they want to save their work and evaluate their progress.

For higher-level Intermediates, I’d recommend BITS Interactive Resources. It has nineteen “sets” of five different excellent reading activities focusing on “signs, details, matching, gist, and gap.”

I know others might feel differently about the sites I’ve placed on this list, and their ranking.  Feel free to offer feedback and make other suggestions.  I’m all ears!

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

The Verb Project: Great resources for beginning ESL students.

Minnesota Adult Basic Education or ESL Site- Great quizzes for many levels of English learning levels.

Repeat After Us is an online library of copyright-free English texts and audio recordings. The purpose of Repeat After Us is to provide ESL students with a place to read and hear proper pronunciations of English words.

ESL TED Talks is a blog created by Douglas Evans that has lessons he’s created for English Language Learners using TED Talks.

Here are my choices for The Best Online Resources For Learning About Eid al-Adha 

Festival of Sacrifice is a slideshow from The Wall Street Journal.

Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid al-Adha is a slideshow from The Guardian.

The Eid Al-Adha 2009 is a photo gallery from the Charlotte Observer. 

Worldwide Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha 
is a slideshow from China View.

The CBBC Newsround has a feature on Eid-ul-Adha around the world.

Forvo can best be described as an audio wiki for word pronunciations.

WordSteps is a resource for learning the vocabulary of your choice of nine languages.

Voxy is an interesting approach to helping ESL students learn English. Voxy uses current articles from world news, pop culture, and sports to to help students acquire language.

Lingus TV is a website featuring videos to help viewers learn conversational Spanish.

Hello World provides games and activities for students to develop their knowledge of foreign languages. Hello World has games and activities in nine languages including Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese.