Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Health Sites For English Language Learners

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Since it was so helpful to my students, other educators, and me to develop my  Websites Of The Year lists, I’ve decided to try and develop a new list on a different topic each month.

This month I’ll be sharing a ranked list of what I think are the twelve best sites that combine health information/literacy with English Language development.

All of these sites, and hundreds of others, can also be found on my English For Beginners page under Health.

On this list, I’m only listing sites that would be easy for students to access on their own.  For some excellent lesson plans and classroom teaching resources on health, you can go to my Teacher’s Page under Health Lessons.   Of those, I particular like, and have used, Picture Stories For Adult ESL Health Literacy by Kate Singleton. (I’ve also added Staying Healthy: An English Learners Guide to Health Care and Healthy Living,  an excellent health literacy curriculum from the Florida Literacy Coalition, to this list).

Here are The Best Health Sites For English Language Learners:

Number twelve is English Med. The site is designed to help medical professionals learn workplace English.  However, I think the audio and animated cartoons are great for any English Language Learner.

Visit The Dentist With Marty is number eleven.  It’s an interactive and animated story with text and audio support sponsored by the American Dental Association.  It gives a good idea of the importance of tooth care and what happens when you go to the dentist.

Number ten is Mouth Power.  It’s an interactive and engaging game about dental health.  Animations and text with audio support is provided.

I’m ranking the LaRue Medical Literacy Exercises as number nine. It provides excellent information on diabetes, nutrition, and high blood pressure in an interactive way in multiple languages.

Number eight is Kids Health Galaxy from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  It gives an engaging and accessible overview of what a hospital patient might experience.

I’ve put Project Care in the seventh place.  It provides audio and video, along with vocabulary practice,  on several health issues.  The site is accessible to Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners.

Number six is from the National Institutes of Health and called NIDCR Student Activities.  It’s a series of closed-captioned cartoons on oral health.

Number five is the excellent Health Story List from the California Distance Learning Project.  I particularly like this site because it has a number of stories related to public health issues.

I’ve ranked The Language Guide as number four.  I think it’s the best basic English dictionary around, and its sections on The Body, The Body 2, and Medicine provide English Language Learners with necessary vocabulary.

I’ve put BrainPop Health Movies at number three.  BrainPop has made several of my lists, and it’s also the only one that isn’t free (though you can see sample movies at no cost).  You can access great animated movies in accessible English (closed-captioned, too) for a class-rate of a few hundred dollars.  I’ve found that it is well worth the cost.

Number two is Healthy Roads Media.  It has excellent and accessible videos on many diseases and in many languages.

And now, the number one ranked health website for English Language Learners is…Medline Plus’ Interactive Health Tutorials from the National Institutes of Health.   These excellent slideshows provide images, text, and audio support in accessible English explaining scores of diseases, treatments, and prevention measures.  Plus, they’re all available in Spanish, too.

Late addition:

I think Your Disease Risk is a great site for both teenage and adult English Language Learners. It’s from the Siteman Cancer Center, and leads you through simple questionnaires on various illnesses to determine…your disease risk.

What is First Aid? has a series of closed-captioned videos on the basics of first aid.

REEPworld Family English is high on The Best Websites For Beginning Older Readers list. It’s a series of stories about recent immigrants and includes excellent online follow-up activities.  They’ve just expanded their English For Health section, and it provides excellent resources for English Language Learners.  I’m adding that section to this list.

Kids Health For Kids has lots of health-related resources that are accessible to English Language Learners.

I think the best way to teach English is to find-out what people want to learn about, and then help them develop their language skills in the process of learning about that topic. This seems to be a pretty high-interest area to me. Even if it’s less personally relevant to teenage students, they can certainly answer the questions playing the role of their older parents.

This list, as with all the others I’ve made, is definitely a subjective one.  I’m certainly open to, and eager for, feedback and suggestions.   My main disappointment is that, apart from the California Distance Learning Project site, I really couldn’t find many accessible online materials on public health issues.

I hope people will find this list helpful.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. This is very interesting to hear that we can improve our communication skills and at the same time learn much about health related topics at a time in the sites given by you .Thanks for giving a great opportunity.

  2. Great list, thanks for compiling it! I have two sites to suggest that are for teachers (and health educators) but have sections with sites for students to access themselves. These are annotated lists of other sites, so any site I would recommend is listed on one of these.

    The Health & Literacy Special Collection
    http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/

    Family Health and Literacy
    http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/family/

    Thanks for sending this to the health literacy discussion list!

    Best,
    Julie

  3. Larry:

    Perhaps portions of my new relatively new and growing Web site may be a resource of value to some of the English-language learners you are trying to reach.

    Best regards,

    Paul Tracey
    President
    Learning About Diabetes, Inc.

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