Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

February 19, 2015
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Vocapic” Is A Multilingual Site For Learning English, Spanish or French Vocabulary


Vocapic is a simple and free bilingual site that lets you learn either English, Spanish or French vocabulary.

First click on the top right to indicate the language you speak now, then move down to indicate the language you want to learn. You can then choose word categories where you are provided a word in audio and text and then asked to choose the correct response among three images. It works very well if you are a Spanish speaker and want to learn English.

There’s a section on the left of the home screen which indicates that if you click on it you will learn simple words. However, that doesn’t appear to work for learning English words.

I’m adding the site to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English.

November 13, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Spanish-Language Instructional Math Video Collection

'All About Math' photo (c) 2008, aleonmail - license:

Yesterday, I posted how I was working with our Geometry teacher to help support math instruction for my Beginning English Language Learners.

As part of that post, I referred to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Today, that talented Geometry teacher, Wendy Jennings, found a collection of about fifty Spanish-language instructional videos for Algebra 1 and Geometry. They’ve been created by the Northeast Arkansas Education Cooperative, and can be found on their site and on their YouTube channel.

No matter what language they’re in, any math video is going to be “Greek” to me. But, Wendy likes them, so I’m adding the collection to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Math, Social Studies, & Science.

Here’s a sample:

January 6, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Nice Bilingual Interactive On Citizenship Preparation

Pumarosa has long been on The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English list.

Now, though, Paul Rogers, the site’s creator, has decided to allow free access to its Civics and U.S. History section. Because of that, I’m also adding the site to The Best Websites For Learning About Civic Participation & Citizenship list.

Paul also sells some very good text materials that go along with all of his online interactives. You can find out more by contacting him at

June 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo

Vocre Looks Like A Nice Translating App For iPhones

Vocre is the latest in an increasing number of SmartPhone translating apps that can help you communicate in another language. It can come in handy if you just have to communicate something to an ELL student in their native language, or if you need to communicate to family members.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me.

Here’s a video about it focusing on its business applications:

May 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Wow! Voice Of America Dramatically Redesigns & Expands Its Learning English Features

Voice Of America has long been known for its many English-learning features, especially what they called “Special English.” However, relatively recently (I can’t be sure exactly when, but I just discovered it today) they dramatically redesigned and expanding their offerings. And, boy oh boy, they are terrific!

Where should I start?

First, they now have a very attractive page where you can access all of their leveled interactive exercises, as well as their “Special English” news stories.

Their Go English site has long had specific excellent English-learning bilingual programs in Chinese, Farsi, Russian and Indonesian. But now they’ve also added Vietnamese.

The VOA Newsroom videos have all been integrated with English Central, which, in my opinion, is the best site on the web for learning English. What was particularly surprising to me, though, was that you don’t have to register on English Central in order to watch, listen, and practice speaking (and get graded on it) with all the videos. Maybe that’s the way English Central has been all along, or maybe its a new development just for VOA, but I had always assumed the speaking feature was only available once you sign-in to the site. Not having to register just makes it that more accessible.

And they also have a brand new Learning English main site.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff….

I’m adding all these sites to The Best Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced English Language Learner Sites.

I’m adding the new Vietnamese site to The Best Multilingual & Bilingual Sites For Learning English.

April 28, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

New Translation Apps For Smartphones

Here are some “new to me” smartphone apps I’ve found for translation. Though the last one is not iPhone-related, I’ll still add them all to The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me:

SayHi Translate is an iPhone app that translates what you speak into a language of your choice. It’s very similar to Google Translate, though has fewer choices. It may have some advantages, though — it seemed to work more accurately than Google Translate when I tried it out this morning. It costs 99 cents. I’m going to have my students try-out both next week and give me feedback on which one they like better.

7 Language Translation iPhone Apps for the Digital Traveler is a useful post from Mashable.

The Microsoft Translator app for Windows Phone has recently added an augmented reality feature to translate signs, menus, etc. You just point the phone at it.

April 25, 2012
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

Big News If You Work With Students Who Speak A Language NOT Supported By Google Translate — Especially Hmong

The quality of online translation systems is obviously dicey, but they can be very useful to teachers, students and parents. As I’ve previously posted, Google Translate (the most popular tool) has been found best for longer pieces, while Microsoft and Yahoo appear to be best for text with less than 140 characters.

Of course, none of these tools are useful for the huge number of languages that are not supported by them.

Hmong, the primary language spoken by many students and families here in Sacramento and elsewhere, has been in that list of non-supported languages.

Until this month.

Now, with a push from the Hmong community
in Fresno, California, Microsoft Translator (also known as Bing Translator), has just begun supporting the Hmong language.

Here’s how Microsoft describes the process
that was used to add Hmong to the system, and the ability to use a similar system to add others:

“All these years, the language has been preserved, despite efforts to eradicate it,” said Will Lewis, a Microsoft program manager who worked on the Hmong translator. “Now, the irony is that in the United States, a country where they’re free to speak it, the thing that never happened in Hmong history is happening; some children are not learning Hmong.”

The translator uses a statistical model to find patterns and assign probability to words in context. Since November, when the project started, community members and researchers have fed a computer with hundreds of documents in the two languages, as well as with entries from an online Hmong-English dictionary. Since dictionaries offer no context, community members entered sentences for each word.

A similar concept could be applied to benefit other minority and indigenous languages, most of which aren’t covered by automatic translators such as Microsoft’s Bing Translator or Google Translate, Lewis said. Less than 100 languages — mostly the dominant, widely-used ones — are currently covered, out of the more than 7,000 languages world-wide.

I’m adding this info to:

The Best Reference Websites For English Language Learners