Online Resources for Teachers of Young Learners
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
The world wide web is massive and honestly sometimes, overwhelming. It can be hard at times for language teachers to find the resources or website that can help them with their teaching. As we know, we as teachers want to spend our prep time wisely. For myself, I have spent my precious prep time sifting through the 'trash' of the interweb to find those treasures. Well, I am here to help! While this is not an extensive guide, this can be a helpful one for you in some of the language skill areas. So, instead of wasting your time with a long introduction, let's get into it then.
High Frequency Words - For high frequency word lists, I suggest looking at looking at the classic sight word lists for children which are Fry, Dolch, and also the New Dolch. To supplement this, I think it is a great idea to read through this article on teaching high-frequency words. You might also want to slowly incorporate academic vocabulary. If so, please look at the New Academic Word List.
Vocabulary.com- While this also has an app version of it, vocabulary.com helps students develop mastery over their words. It is like a dictionary and game in one. This website will help students develop a fuller and richer understanding of words as it exposes them to multiple usages and nuances of the word. This would probably be better suited for older young learners.
Read Write Think: Vocabulary - A section of the Read Write Think website is focused on vocabulary. In this section you can find articles but also lesson plans that focus on vocabulary learning and teaching.
Read Today - A very simple website that could be useful for absolute beginners or illiterate students. This website teaches letters, colors, shapes, and numbers in English as well as an opportunity to hear and practice spelling.
Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary and Oxford's Learner Dictionaries - These offer simplified versions of regular dictionary definitions, that are easier for English language learners to understand. Sometimes, I have difficulty explaining words, so I use these references a lot. I sometimes have to simplify the definitions the learner's dictionaries give though.
Speaking + Listening:
Newsy - A concise, and unbiased news source that provides unique perspectives. What makes this a great tool for listening is that each video includes subtitles, which makes current events more accessible to our learners. This would be better suited for more advanced young learners.
Super Simple Songs - This company has released their version of classic children's songs like Hokey Pokey, Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes, and even some new ones like Do you like Broccoli Ice Cream? Songs are a great tool for students as it lowers affective filters and are highly motivating. They also teach key vocabulary, but also a great way to teach phrases.
ESL Fast - It's not a fancy website, but it does have a large audio library for listening practice for students at all levels. It also covers a range of topics, which you can look for with the search bar on the top. There is even a section dedicated to kindergarten young learners and classroom language.
TED Talks- Captivating speeches on various topics from speakers all over the world. These speeches can be manipulated into lots of different type of activities. I have used several of these in my own class as I teach public speaking to young learners. Even if you don't teach public speaking, TED Talks are great for listening or for students wanting to practice their speaking. Their TED-Ed talks are also short, but informational videos with great visuals. Also, if you want inspiration for young learners, search for TEDxKids or TEDxYouth on Youtube.
English Media Lab: Pronunciation - Sometimes we forget that pronunciation is a part of speaking, but with this section of the English Media Lab website, teachers can find resources to help teach pronunciation with worksheets and activities.
Reading Rockets: A thorough website that targets literacy for children. It includes the basics of teaching reading, problem-solution articles, as well as reading topics to browse there. I especially appreciate the articles as they concise, clear, and easy to understand.
Vocab Profiler - Kids: Derived from ten 250-word lists of kid talk. This vocab profiler helps you decide if a text may be too complicated for your learners and identify those words that may be difficult. You can also look at the other versions of Vocab Profiler here. Additionally, this website, Rewordify, does all the work for you and simplifies texts.
Read Works: An amazing source (and free) that provides research-driven content, curriculum and tools for teaching reading. It includes e-books, and the ability to search by grade or topic.
Breaking News English: Speed Reading- This website includes news in English that is geared towards language learners but the greatest feature is the speed reading page. With texts at different levels, you can choose at what speed you wish to read the text.
Bookopolis - a kid-friendly social network that gets students excited about reading. This website allows learners to create a virtual bookshelf, rate & review books, create a reading log, along with earning badges and points. Also, it's free!
Read Theory - This website, which is free, allows you to keep track of your classes and their reading progress. This includes an adapting pre-test for every student, progress reports, and passages that are suited towards each individual student to help them practice. For teachers, there is a Teacher's Lounge section includes articles for teachers, with even an ESL section. Additionally, they have worksheets and lesson plans readily available for you.
I hope over time to add to this list. So keep coming back for an updated list of online resources!
Do you have any websites you would like to contribute? If so, add them by commenting below!