This list highlights what I think are the fourteen best sites for readers who have advanced their reading (in English) beyond the beginning stage. The sites here are accessible to a wide range of readers — from Early Intermediate to Advanced. They are also appropriate for English Language Learners and native-English speakers alike.
Except for one site on this list (number eleven, which is obviously more appropriate for kids) all these sites should be engaging to younger, older, and adult students.
These links can also be found on my website, which has eight thousand categorized educational links. All the links on the site are verified once each quarter so that “dead” ones are removed, and new resources are added frequently. Soon, I will develop a separate page on my website only containing direct links to the sites on each of these lists. Right now they are scattered throughout various categories, though many can be found on my Favorite Sites section. My website is designed for self-access by students, so the future “Best of..” page will be set-up the same way.
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As I’ve mentioned in my previous lists, I believe the best way for students to strengthen their reading skills is by finding high-interest content that they want to read about. So you won’t find many “drill-and-kill” reading comprehension exercises on this list, though there are tons of those sites on the Internet. Some of the resources on this list, though, do have a number of exercises that I think are helpful and that my students enjoy.
And, now, here are The Best Websites For Intermediate Readers:
Number fourteen is Time For Kids. Their news stories are accessible and informative, though older readers probably want to skip the game section.
Number thirteen is the only site on this list that costs anything — Brainpop. This past fall they added closed-captioning to their animated movies and by doing so made it an engaging for students to develop their reading skills. Brainpop has a few hundred of these movies on numerous topics. It costs a few hundred dollars each year to subscribe, but it’s worth the cost. It also has about thirty movies always available for free.
I’ve ranked Houghton Mifflin’s Science Discover! Simulations at number twelve. Their fifth and sixth grade simulations have been particularly interesting to my Intermediate English Language Learners.
Number eleven is PBS Kids News Flash Five. This site is the one cleared geared to children. It focuses on current events, and its closed-captioning makes it a good tool for reading development.
The Voice of America Special English News is number ten. Though the presentation is rather dry, the topics, language used, and audio support make this a very accessible site to Intermediate readers.
Number nine is the CBBC Newsround. This is another site that provides high-interest content on current events in an accessible way.
Number eight is another extraordinary site from Henny Jellema called, simply, Four Stories. It’s a little hard to describe the creative way his exercises strengthen the reading abilities of students. You’ll just have to check them out.
The Learning Edge is number seven. This is a well-designed online newsletter that provides information on high-interest topics with text, audio support, and animation.
Learning Resources is number six. This link will take you to its new and its old site. Both cover high-interest news stories with follow-up activities, though some of the stories might be a little dated.
Number five is the California Distance Learning Project — Adult Learning Activities. This site, too, covers many topical issues with follow-up activities, though some of its stories are also a little dated.
Number four is BITS Interactive Resources . It has nineteen “sets” of five different excellent reading activities focusing on “signs, details, matching, gist, and gap.”
Number three is the Web Language Lab (be sure to click on the British flag when you get there to turn the page into English). This site covers many current topics with engaging follow-up exercises.
Awesome Stories is number two. It has an incredible number of accessible high-interest stories. Schools and classes have to join, but you can do it in less than a minute, and it’s free. And much of the site is accessible even without registering. It, too, has recently begun providing audio of its text.
And, now, for very best website for Intermediate readers…. it’s, without a doubt in my mind, 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. In the course of examining sites for inclusion in this list, though, I found that all its exercises were finished. Users are led through the process of learning each reading strategy with interactive exercises.
The World Stories Project is “a growing collection of traditional and new stories representing the 21 most commonly spoken languages by children across the UK. These stories can be read, listened to and downloaded in English and their original language.” It also has an extensive collection of teacher resources, including lesson plans. And it’s all free!
Resources from GCFLearnFree are on more “The Best…” lists that you can shake a stick at, and today they’ve unveiled another new great one. It’s focused on Reading Comprehension, and has 140 different texts, all with audio support, along with questions related to them.
Newsmart uses articles from the Wall Street Journal to promote learning English as a second language. It’s a slick site, and it’s free.
Users pick an article, and then there are color-coded portions in it for vocabulary and grammar. Click on it, and you are given a question about the in-context grammar or vocabulary issue. You then accumulate points and badges.
I hope you’ve found this list helpful.