Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Websites To Learn About Various Religions (& English)

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'religion' photo (c) 2011, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

I know the title of this latest “The Best…” list is a bit awkward, but I couldn’t come-up with anything better. Religion can be a pretty tricky subject to discuss in class, but it’s obviously an important subject for English Language Learners to become more familiar with, and to develop the English language ability to talk about.

In many situations I’ve found that having students in class share about their own beliefs is a great way for others to learn about religion and develop their language skills.

In addition to the sites on this list, I have other “The Best…” lists for many religious holidays, including (but not limited to):


The Best Places To Learn About Christmas, Hanukkah, & Kwanzaa

The Best Sites For Learning About Easter & Passover

The Best Sites To Learn About The Hindu Festival of Holi

The Best Sites To Teach & Learn About Ramadan

The Best Sites To Learn And Teach About The Hajj

The Best Sites For Learning About Diwali

The Best Sites For Learning & Teaching About The Day Of The Virgin Of Guadalupe

The Best Online Resources For Learning About Eid al-Adha

I’ve also found a number of good sites on the Web that are accessible to English Language Learners. Here are the eleven sites I’ve found to be the best. You can also find other sites that didn’t make this list on my website under Religion.

Here are my picks for The Best Websites To Learn About Various Religions & English (I don’t, however, rank them in order of preference):

The Language Guide For Religion provides good basic vocabulary instruction, but also omits quite a bit. But it’s a good start.

BBC Religions is an excellent source of information. Much of it is only accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners and above.

Primary Resources — Religion has great Flash and Power Point presentations that are good for Beginning and Early Intermediate ELL’s.

CBBC News Around is a source of very accessible resources to English Language Learners. This particular link will lead you a special report on “What Is Islam?”, but typing the world “religion” in the search box will provide you with scores of other useful articles.

REfuel has eight simple “talking books” about Christianity.

Stories Of Krishna: The Adventures Of A Hindu God comes from the Seattle Art museum and has audio and animated (along with text) stories.

Buddhist Tales have a series of engaging animations with audio, but no text.

What Are The Six Major Religions Of The World? from Woodlands Junior School provides excellent and accessible explanations of….the world’s six major religions.

The Six Major Religions comes from a group called Learning Alive in the UK and has similar resources to the Woodlands School.

The Split Horn is the PBS webpage for the film of the same name. It’s about a Hmong Shaman and his new life in the United States.

(I’m also adding World Religions to this list)

Teaching Tolerance has some nice, simple lesson plans on religion:

Taking a Closer Look at Religions Around the World

Understanding Religious Clothing

The New York Times Learning Network has pulled together all their great lesson plans related to related. You can find them at Resources: World Religions. They’d have to be modified to be made accessible to English Language Learners, but there are a lot of good ideas in them.

“Holiest Sites In The World” looks like a useful and impressive site. The title is self-explanatory.

Buddha’s birthday celebrations is a series of photos from The Sacramento Bee. Here are similar pictures from The Boston Globe.

Hindus honor the Mother Goddess is a photo gallery from The Sacramento Bee.

Hindu Festivals is a slideshow from The Atlantic.

The World Of Religion is an excellent infographic.

Sacred Stories is a series of animated books with audio and subtitles that shares stories from many of the world’s major religions. It’s very accessible to English Language Learners, which is one of the main reasons I’m so enthusiastic about it.

The World�s Muslims

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

As usual, all feedback is welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

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

One Comment

  1. Larry: I’ve found in interviewing ELLs over the years that religion is a topic of high interest for some of them, particularly students from conservative religious families. It seems to me that any topic of high interest for students shouldn’t be avoided, even if it can be tricky to teach it in public schools. “This is Where I Need to Be” is a collection of oral histories of Muslim students in New York City schools (http://www.publishspi.org/Book.asp?bid=55) that might be of interest to some of your readers who decide to take up the topic of religion in class. I recently read and blogged about the resource and thought that it seemed accessible to ELLs. (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2008/05/ordinary_and_muslim.html)

    Regards,

    Mary Ann Zehr
    Learning the Language
    http://www.edweek.org/go/ltl

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