Free ESL Online Resources

Welcome!  This wiki offers links to free ESL materials from all over the world for all levels of students. It is organized for non-credit students, literacy and levels one through nine, at City College of San Francisco,  but may be helpful to any ESL student.

 All of these links should be free and not require signing in or registering. Please request to be a writer on this wiki so you can help create this resource page, add more links and organize them . Please comment on individual links and make recommendations for lessons. Comments are in *red.

  • Low-levels: Literacy  and Higher

Vocabulary, reading, practice using a mouse
Practice the alphabet, numbers, things in the classroom, months, fruit, vegetables, animals... new exercises each week. Kurt Robinson's site.
*This CCSF site has good matching exercises and computer mouse practice
Learn the alphabet and read short words.
*For kids, but lots of useful practice with letters and sounds

Listening, Reading
letters, numbers
Good for parents and kids

Listening, vocabulary
letters, numbers, colors, food and more

Letters, Vocabulary, Listening, Reading
Words and and spelling games

alphabet, letters, colors, numbers, dialogs, games 
 *For kids. Make English learning fun!

Writing letters, words
The Early Childhood Education Network
For preschool kids, but good practice for literacy students

Vocabulary, Listening
lots of vocabulary words
"Change the site to Chinese, Japanese or Spanish.  It has topics from A-Z

Civic Center Campus literacy resource page.

  •  Beginning Low 1 and Higher

*Good for learning words.

Vocabulary, listening, pronunciation and spelling  
Study vocabulary about family, work, and health. 
*Click the English Practice Button

Spelling practice     
Make your own spelling lists. Listen to the words and write them.  Practice your spelling.
*Half of the activities are free
*Good for spelling and listening at any level.  Hear any word in a sentence

Reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar
Watch videos and see lessons.  Learn new words. 
*Click Start Now to skip the introduction and skip the registration.
*Great multimedia site, lots of useful on-the-job videos.

Vocabulary, grammar, listening, and games
Play games, study grammar, and learn new words.
*Beginners can click Easy Things for Beginners 
*Lots of activities for many levels here, including readings with audio from VOA in special English.

Listening, vocabulary
Listen to basic vocabulary with translation into many languages.
*Good for learning words and their translation, but it can be confusing.
*Translation includes French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Hindi, Mandarin (simplified and traditional characters), Japanese, Korean, and Thai.

Vocabulary exercises for lower levels.  Click on a link and then match the word to the picture.


Watch videos to help you learn better pronunciation

Reading, Grammar, Listening   
Read stories and take tests.   Lauri Fried-Lee's site.
*From beginner to intermediate English.  
*Click on Student Writing to learn about other students in San Francisco

Listening, Pronunciation
Interviews on the street with many interesting native speakers. From absolute beginner to advanced!
*Great videos of speakers with lots of different accents, including American, Canadian, and British.  Do the exercises to help learn the vocabulary in the videos.  
*Practice pronunciation using the microphone on your computer.     

Reading, Listening
Read the story one time, then click continue.  Click the play button (upper right) to read and listen.
*Stories are read slowly.

  •  Beginning High 3 and Higher

Listen and type or just click “show” to see. Beginning, Intermediate, and advanced levels.
Good online dictations


Reading, listening, vocabulary, writing
Dialogs with audio. Stories with audio, vocabulary and cloze. Grammar and dictation exercises. 
*Watch out for ads at the top and on the sides that seem like part of the page.
*This site has Chinese translation.

Listen to conversations and interviews.  You can read the words and take tests. 
*People from all over the world post audio and video on many topics.

Listening and vocabulary
Listen to conversations. The people speak very slowly. 
*Listening is ok, but there isn't a transcript.  You can't read the words or follow the learning guide if you're not a paying member.

Practice listening and learn vocabulary.
*This dedicated teacher's site has great audio clips and quizzes, and he has made some nice videos.

Listening, Vocabulary, Grammar
Watch videos and do exercises.  Lots of life skills and on the job English.  
*Sign on as a visitor for free access.  
*These videos don't play well on my machine, but they are funny and have full text.

Listening, reading, grammar
Listen to shows, read the texts, read short stories, take grammar quizzes. John Robinson's site.
*This CCSF site has lots of articles from VOA and other sites and interesting indexed articles about, art, science, architecture, English conversation and pronunciation. There is also a student blog site by Mission Campus students.
*Simple Basic English Grammar exercises for study and review.

Grammar and reading
Readings and  grammar practice. Morris Bibliowicz's site.
*This CCSF site has students' stories, photo journals, links to readings about American states, and grammar exercises.

Grammar and vocabulary
Take short tests. 
*Huge site.  Lots of exercises.  Bilingual quizzes in 50 languages!  Cool video links to Youtube and special English blogs.
  •  Beginning High 4 and Higher

Listening, Speaking and Pronunciation
Listen, read, and practice speaking from podcasts
Interesting, lots of phrasal verb practice

Listening and vocabulary
Listen to songs and news.  Links to other websites too. Rick Kappra's site.
*This CCSF website has many inspiring stories.

Listening, reading, vocabulary, spelling
Listen to new stories and read the words.  There are some videos, too. 
*California Distance Learning Project.  This site has many articles that are interesting for Californians.

Listening and grammar
Edict Virtual Language Centre
Sing karaoke to pop songs and practice the grammar.
*Lots of good karaoke songs,

Listening and vocabulary
Listen to songs and learn vocabulary.
*Some news and people articles with exercises and a lot of music by many popular artists with lyric sheets

Grammar, reading, vocabulary, puzzles
This site, from the University of Victoria. Readings come with  questions and tasks.
*Clear, concise grammar lessons.  Level 4 students should check out level 200.

  •  Intermediate Low 5 and Higher 

Grammar, reading, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, slang/idioms
Lots of language practice and information about studying ESL
*Many quick exercises. This is a good fit for intermediate students.

Grammar and idioms
Study and take quizzes. 
*Watch out for pop-up ads and ads at the side and on top.

Study slang, idioms, and phrasal verbs. 
*Huge site for teachers.  Students should click Stuff for Students at the top.

Grammar, reading
This site is from the University of Victoria. Readings come with  interactive questions and tasks.
*Clear, concise grammar lessons.  Level 5 students should check out level 330.

Learn English grammar with lots of exercises and tutorials.
*Avoid the ads at the top and on the sides.

Reading, vocabulary
Popular newspaper offers news in simple English, crossword puzzles, and audio.  
*Not a free site, but it does have free samples of current news articles and a free two-week trial, which requires registration, if you want to see the complete articles.

Listening, Reading.
News in British special English. handouts, games, lesson plans
*Click on the lessons at the left.  Avoid the ads.

Listening, Reading
365 stories with audio
*One for every day of the year!
  • Intermediate Low 6 and Higher

Listening, Pronunciation:
Listen and watch videos, then practice pronunciation.
Business English, Travel English , Social English, Media English, Academic English, Young Learners.
Cool! New! This requires registering, but it's easy!

Listening, reading, writing, speaking
Play word games, listen, and read. 
*English for academic purposes.  Good if you are planning to take credit courses.

Listening, Reading
Intermediate and advanced, audiobooks, songs, radio dramas
*Cool site

Listening, Reading
Longer news stories with transcripts and audio.

Grammar, reading, vocabulary
This site is from the University of Victoria. Readings come with interactive questions and tasks.
*Clear, concise grammar lessons.  Level 5 students should check out level 410.

Listening, reading
 The Learning Edge, a Canadian website with interactive newspaper stories.  Lots of job articles.

Free Rice
Study vocabulary. For every correct answer, a donation of rice is made to hungry people!
*Study ESL and help feed the world!
  •  Intermediate High 7 to 8 and higher

Listening, vocabulary
Listen to programs about different topics. Read the words too.
*Huge site with lots and lots of resources.  Look for special English.

Grammar, reading, themed reading, vocabulary
This site is from the University of Victoria. Readings come with  interactive questions and tasks.
*Clear, concise reading and grammar lessons.  Level 7 students should check out level 490.

Listening, grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation
General and business British English, recipes, crosswords, travel, news.  
*Good news source.  The audio is a good way to hear that British accent.  Follow the audio program The Flatmates.

Learn academic English vocabulary.

Vocabulary, phrasal verb practice
Study vocabulary and see typical mistakes.

Vocabulary, listening and grammar
Listen to conversations, play games.  There is also a section on business English. 
*Find lots of activities for young people in Listen And Watch.  Students interested in business and work can find it in LearnEnglish Professionals.  Sign up to get a free newsletter.
*It is difficult for me to catch British English because of the accent although it sounds classier than American English. And also the grammar and spelling are slightly different so it makes me confused. I like the British sites the least. 

  •  Advanced  9+

 Videos on learning language:
KQED Education has launched ESL Insights, a blog that offers a space for ESL educators to explain what they do, share ideas and resources and engage in discussion about what inspires them and what challenges them. Posts are written for and by ESL practitioners.
This week, read the fascinating interview with Lera Boroditsky, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University , who was the opening speaker at the annual statewide CATESOL conference held in Oakland in 2012.
She talks about how “Learning another language is not just a matter of learning to speak differently, it is also learning to think differently.”
This connection between words and thoughts goes to the heart of teaching language, and poses questions for ESL teachers about cultural understanding.

To share your views, please visit Languages and the Way We Think - Talking with Lera Boroditsky

Free online reading: Newspapers, Magazines, Books and more. 


NPR. National Public Radio
*Though not strictly an ESL site, here is a great listening resource for the higher levels

News, Video, Listening
Newsy - Multisource Video News
Here is one  good listening website for higher level students - it has short news videos with transcripts below

Themed Reading, Vocabulary
This site is from the University of Victoria. Readings come with  interactive questions and tasks.
*Clear, concise grammar lessons.  Level 9 students should check out level 570.