As a companion list to The Best Sites For K-12 Beginning English Language Learners, I thought I’d put together a short list of my similar choices for Intermediate English Language Learners. I’ll also be creating lists focusing on older ELL’s, too.
I thought that lists like these might make it a little easier for teachers, particularly newer ones — newer to teaching or newer to using technology in their teaching. Then, at their leisure, they can explore all the other more specialized “The Best…” lists.
Of course, links to all the sites on these lists can also be found on my website, along with thousands of others.
I’ve included nine sites here (there’s a tie for first place).
Here are my picks for The Best Sites For K-12 Intermediate English Language Learners:
Number eight is Wordmaster. It’s a great game from the BBC. In it, you’re shown a sentence with a word missing (indicated by a blank). Then you have to click on an on-screen keyboard to type the correct word “hangman” style. You can ask for clues, and you’re competing against the clock. You can also choose various levels of difficulty, and the game has thousands of words. And after you’ve either guessed the correct word or the timer is up, you can have the sentence read to you.
I’ve put the Audio Slideshow Gallery at Reuters at number seven. The photos are excellent, they have very short captions, and the narration, though it isn’t an exact recitation of the text, is accessible. They do an audio slideshow each week summarizing key news events.
Number six is the California Distance Learning Project – Adult Learning Activities. This site covers many topical issues with follow-up activities, though some of its stories are also a little dated.
Sing Snap is number five. It’s a online karaoke site — great for speaking practice. It’s easy to use, free-of-charge, and, if you don’t want to record, you can just listen to others sing while the screen shows the lyrics. Using a webcam is an option, but unlike many Web 2.0 sites, you can still use it if you just have a computer microphone.
Number four is Listen and Write. A user first chooses a text he/she wants to hear read to him/her. Many of the choices are from the Voice of America, and are both high-interest and accessible. Their levels of difficulty are also indicated. Then the story is dictated to you, and you have to type it correctly. You can choose the speed of the reading and how often it’s repeated. When you type only the correct letters actually show-up on the screen, and you can ask for hints.
Number three is 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. Now, however, all its exercises were finished. Users are led through the process of learning each reading strategy with interactive exercises.
The Everyday Life Project is number two. It’s sponsored by the Goodwill Community Foundation in North Carolina, and it has extraordinary interactive exercises for Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners. Its activities on food, money, work, shopping and maps are excellent.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s a tie for first place.
For lower-and-mid-level Intermediate ELL’s, U.S.A Learns is number one. It’s an incredible website to help users learn English. Even though it’s primarily designed for older learners, it seems very accessible to all but the very youngest ELL’s. It’s free to use. Students can register if they want to save their work and evaluate their progress.
For higher-level Intermediates, I’d recommend BITS Interactive Resources. It has nineteen “sets” of five different excellent reading activities focusing on “signs, details, matching, gist, and gap.”
I know others might feel differently about the sites I’ve placed on this list, and their ranking. Feel free to offer feedback and make other suggestions. I’m all ears!