A couple of years ago I posted The Best Basic Sites For K-12 Beginning English Language Learners. For every other “The Best…” list I’ve revised, I’ve just made changes to the original post. However, even though there are a number of changes in this revised list, I’m leaving the older post as it was since there are still some good sites on it.

In a few weeks I begin teaching Beginning English Language Learners again after a bit of a break — I’ve been teaching either Early Intermediates or Intermediates for the last few years. I’m generally going to be pretty strategic about what I ask them to do in the computer lab for reinforcing activities (and for creating their own online content). However, I also wanted to identify a short list of sites I encourage them to periodically explore.

This “The Best…” list is the result.

Let me know if you think I’m missing any from this list, or if you think any that I’ve included should be taken off….

Here are my choices for The Best Ten Basic Sites For Beginning English Language Learners (Revised) — and they’re not listed in any order of priority, except for the first one:

English Central, of course, is the favorite of many ESL/EFL teachers. I’ve written about it constantly, and continue to be amazed by the site. In fact, this Tuesday morning it’s coming out with a major upgrade, which you can read about at David Deubelbeiss’ blog. And, in the unlikely even you don’t know what English Central is, here’s a short video explaining it:

Student Sites For Oxford University Press has the companion sites to all of the Oxford ESL/EFL titles. It’s a gold mine.

Cambridge University Press has a similar page. They have a smaller selection of textbook sites, but they are really exceptional.

Henny Jellema’s Online TPR Exercises has got to be on this list. You’ve got to see this site to believe it. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating the exercises. However, as he cautions, it’s critical to combine using his online activities with real-life Total Physical Response lessons.

U.S.A Learns is 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. It’s a joint effort of the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), Internet and Media Services Department and the Project IDEAL Support Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

Starfall has to be on this list, too, for its extraordinary beginning reading activities.

Kiz Club also has a great collection of accessible stories.

For other reading activities, I’m sort of cheating by listing the Fiction Stories and Non-Fiction section of my website and counting it as one for the purposes of this list. There are links to thousands of “talking stories” there. I’ve been a bit lax in keeping up some pages of my student site, but these should be relatively up-to-date.

Strivney is a free newer site for beginning readers (it has a special section for English Language Learners) with 1,000 interactive exercises and games. You need to register for most beyond the sample exercises, but it’s super easy to do so. The site also has printables you can use to reinforce the online activities.

ESOL Courses has a good, basic introduction to English.

Minnesota Adult Basic Education has a very impressive and comprehensive site.

Dance Mat Typing from the BBC is an excellent site for students to learn typing and reinforce their English.

BBC Bitesize Literacy has lots of engaging English activities.

Language Guide is a superior online dictionary.

Into The Book has interactive exercises that reinforce students learning how to apply reading strategies.

Fotobabble is my favorite all-purpose Web 2.0 site. Students can grab any photo off the web, or upload their own, and record a one minute narration that goes along with it. It can be used for speaking practice, as a formative reading assessment with students reading a weeks apart so they can see their improvement — the list is endless,and I’ve posted many times about how I use it with students.

Feedback is welcome.

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