Here’s one more list I thought would be helpful to students and teachers alike. Though my focus is on English Language Learners, I think native-English speakers of a variety of ages could find these sites useful, too.
This list, though, will be a little different from most of the others because I won’t be ranking a group of ten-or-twenty sites. Instead, I’ll be listing one-to-three sites for each “sub-category” I’m creating under the topic of “Reference.” I’m just listing the ones I think are best for English Language Learners (and others), but it also depends on what they are needing/looking for. It’ll be clearer after you see the list.
For Beginning and Early Intermediate English Language Learners, The Language Guide is clearly the best place to go. It’s easy to navigate, and has excellent images, audio, and text.
For students who are getting a little beyond the Early Intermediate stage, I’d recommend Harcourt’s E-Glossary. It begins to introduce simple academic vocabulary with images, text, and audio. I particularly like the fact it shows words in context, and “speaks” the sentences, too.
For Intermediate and Advanced English Learners, I think Answers.com works best. Once you type in the word you’re looking for, click “Word Tutor” and it will provide audio to a sentence using the word in context.
Visuwords is a unique, and fun, way to find synonyms in a visual display. It’s free, and it also functions as a dictionary.
I know some people have issues with Wikipedia, but I’ve found the Simple English Wikipedia to be a great resource.
Depending on the information students are needing on countries of the world, both Fact Monster: Countries and Infoplease Countries are good for basic data.
National Geographic People and Places provides a broader overview of different countries, including the United States, and includes a lot of good images, too.
FACTS ABOUT THE 50 U.S. STATES:
America’s Library from the Library of Congress gives a very short and accessible overview of each state.
For more detailed information, I’d suggest students visit Fact Monster: The Fifty States or Infoplease: States.
I have links to all these sites, and many more, on my English For Beginners Page under Country & United States Information, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Thesaurus.
You can find my other year-end lists at Websites of the Year.