ESL Resource Guide

Just because an English language learner seems to be comfortable speaking in a conversational context does not mean that he is able to successfully function in an academic language environment. In fact, conversational competence is something ESL learners master much more quickly than academic competence. This is due to the higher-level vocabulary and concepts that are linked to academic learning vs. the more repetitive and familiar topics used in conversation. No matter if you’re a student or a teacher of ESL, you can find some worthwhile links within this collection of over 40 helpful resources that include general resources, self-study links, ESL lesson plans, learning strategies, games, blogs and more that will help ESL students develop their English language academic skills.


General ESL Resources

Are you curious to know what it’s like to be an ESL student? Would you like to connect with other ESL teachers around the world? Find information about these ESL topics and more in the section below.

12 Ways to Support ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom – Learn what ESL teachers know about simple strategies to support English language learners in the classroom.

Teachers Experience the Needs of English Language Learners through a Math Simulation – To really understand the needs of ELLs, you have to experience what they experience. This article details how teachers had an ELL experience via a math simulation.

Dave’s ESL Café Help Center – Have you ever had a pressing ESL question but you don’t have a colleague you can ask at that moment? Follow this link to connect with ESL teachers from around the world, 24/7.

Merriam Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary – This online American English dictionary is helpful for English language learners. Users can find definitions and hear the correct audio pronunciation of a word.


ESL Teaching Resources

Utilize the following resources to teach your content-area curriculum while supporting each English language learner’s development and meeting their educational needs.

English Vocabulary Word Lists – Discover a large collection of English vocabulary word lists with various online games that use the words from the word lists. This resource is great for increasing the English vocabulary of ESL learners.

American Rhythms – Use music to help students learn English. Download songs and lyrics for free to use within your classroom.

ESL Kid Stuff – Find ESL lesson plans for preschoolers to teens. Lesson plans are organized by theme and are in alphabetical order.

Everything ESL – This site houses a large collection of K-12 lesson plans that are specifically geared to ESL students.

Using English – Choose from over 900 downloadable PDF lesson plans and handouts to support ESL learners.


ESL Reading Resources

When an English language learner tries to read and understand material, barriers exist such as lack of vocabulary knowledge and a poor ability to read at a pace that promotes comprehension. Check out the resources below to support the reading skills of your ESL students.

English Club – This link provides resources for an introduction to reading and for reading practice for ESL learners.

7 Essential Reading Strategies Your ESL Students Must Know – These seven reading strategies can help your ESL students learn to comprehend and respond to what they read.

Reading 101 for English Language Learners – Learn about the ELL instructional strategies that are based on the five components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary.

Reading Lesson Plans – These lesson plans – reading and comprehension, vocabulary and idioms, discussion topics – can be used in English conversation classes or one-to-one lessons for upper intermediate and above learners.


ESL Writing Resources

For English language learners, writing is no easy task due to their limited vocabulary, inaccurate verb tense usage and unorganized structure when writing. Utilize the resources below to help your ESL students become more confident about their writing skills.

Improving Writing Skills: ELLs and the Joys of Writing – Find out how to differentiate writing activities in the ESL classroom so that students will not dread the process. Specific lesson ideas are included.

How to Scaffold Writing Instruction for English Language Learners – Check out insightful tips from writing teachers of ELLs at the secondary level that will help you bridge writing gaps.

Write On! Writing Strategies for the ESL Classroom – Learn how to teach writing strategies that can help English language learners experience success.

The Writing Recipe: Essay Structure for ELLs – Discover an effective way to teach ELLs how to structure a five-paragraph essay via this video lesson.

ESL Flow – This site offers resources for teaching all stages of the academic writing process in way that works for ESL students.


ESL Language Resources

Browse the following resources to find links to lesson plans for all things grammar, strategies for engaging reluctant speakers and videos for helping learners develop their speaking vocabulary.

Eva Easton: Authentic American Pronunciation – This site provide lessons on sounds, stress patterns, contractions, irregular verbs and much, much more.

ESL Elementary English Lesson Plans – This bank of lesson plans is fun and motivating for elementary learners and includes audio and video resources.

Five Tips for Getting the ESL Student Talking  – Lack of confidence, shyness and other reasons can keep ESL students from talking. Find out how to engage them.

English Beginner Video Slide Lessons – This free ESL online video lab is perfect for learners who are just beginning to study English. The videos help learners develop vocabulary and practice listening and speaking.

Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab    – Find a wide variety of pre-listening, listening and post-listening activities designed to aid ELLs with the development of their communication skills.


ESL Study Resources

Learning a second language is never easy, but high-quality study resources that English language learners can access easily can help tremendously. The self-study resources below can help anyone start improving their English language skills.

New ESL Blues – Find games, tutorials, quizzes and explanations that can all be used as helpful study resources.

ESL Notes – This site provides movie guides, each with a synopsis and outline of major characters, vocabulary references and questions for discussion. The idea is to help advanced ELLs learn new vocabulary, idioms and expressions in an American context before viewing the movies.

ESL Gold – Discover study material galore such as grammar, vocabulary, writing and reading resources. – Consider this as your go-to for tons of ESL study guides that are organized by categories such as vocabulary, conversation, pronunciation and holidays.

Learn English Online – This site helps students learn English with exercises for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners on grammar, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and listening.

5 Minute English – Look under the “Question and Answer” section of this website to find quick and easy explanations for confusing things about the English language.


ESL Games

Enhance ESL student learning in an entertaining and fun way that helps them learn without thinking about learning. Browse the following links to find games that are appropriate for a range of ages.

ESL Games for Kids – When searching for ESL games that are fitting for children, look no further than this site. Here you’ll find high-quality games that will engage children in learning English.

Trace Effects – The object of this seven-chapter video game is to learn about American English and culture. ESL learners who are ages 12-16 will enjoy this interactive 3-D multimedia learning adventure.

Hangman Games for ESL Students – Over 15 different hangman games to help ESL students become more familiar with vocabulary words and spelling related to various topics.

ESL Games   – These ESL games are designed for adult English language learners. Find grammar games, vocabulary games and more.

Ernie’s Activity Page – Browse these fun game ideas to find one that will work well for a group of English language learners.

Ventures Arcade – Find plenty of helpful games for ELLs, including crosswords, fill-in-the-blank and guess-the-word games.


ESL Blogs

Whether you’re teaching ESL to children or adults or your interest is in becoming a private ESL tutor, you’re sure to find a blog below that “speaks” to you.

Inspiration Lane – Within this blog, which functions as an online magazine for ESL classes, you’ll find daily readings and interactive language activities.

The English Blog – Use this blog as a go-to for video clips, cartoons and the latest news that can be used as instructional tools for English language learners.

Teaching ESL to Adults – If you’re teaching an adult class of ELLs or you plan to offer private tutoring services in this area, check out this blog from an ESL tutor.

Teach ESL to Kids – Shannon Sensei, the author of this blog, previously taught ESL in Japan. Her blog includes helpful resources – games, crafts, lesson plans – for teachers of young ESL children.

Azar Grammar   – Teachers contribute to this site by writing posts on ESL topics of interest to educators. In addition, find links to grammar resources, teacher’s guides and more.