Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 18, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Resources For Reading Instruction


This is the seventh post in a weekly series I’m creating that will highlight the Best “Best” lists in a particular topic I have posted over the years.

The previous posts in this series have been:

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Tools For Learning About Art & Creating It

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Tools For Teaching About Economics & Jobs

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Resources For Teaching About Health

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Useful Multilingual Resources

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Online Learning Games

“Best” Lists Of The Week: Resources For Writing Instruction

These will be lists I’ve also recently reviewed and revised so they are up-to-date.

You can find all my nearly 2,000 continually updated “Best” lists here.


Here are the lists I’ve revised and updated that share resources on reading instruction (I’ll be publishing a separate collection on vocabulary instruction):


The Best Posts On Students Reading Aloud Individually In ESL Class — But I Need Your Help Finding Research On The Topic

The Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers

The Best Websites For Beginning Older Readers

The Best Websites For Intermediate Readers

The Best Sites To Teach ELL’s About Libraries

The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories

The Best Sources For Free & Accessible Printable Books

The Best Sites For Creating Sentence Scrambles

The Best Resources On The Study Finding That Reading Books Makes You Live Longer

The Best Resources On Which Is Best – Reading Digitally Or Reading Paper?

Best Posts On Books: Why They’re Important & How To Help Students Select, Read, Write & Discuss Them

The Best Collections Of Funny Signs (For Use In English Classes)

The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading

The Best Articles & Sites For Teachers & Students To Learn About Phonics

The Best Fun Videos About Books & Reading

A Beginning List Of The Best Folklore & Myth Sites

The Best Resources For World Read Aloud Day

The Best Resources For World Literacy Day

The Best Posts & Articles About Why Book “Leveling” Is A Bad Idea

The Best Resources On “Close Reading” — Help Me Find More

The Best Resources On Close Reading Paintings, Photos & Videos

The Best Resources For Banned Books Week

The Best Sites For Learning About The Alphabet

A Beginning List Of The Best Posts & Articles On Accelerated Reader

The Best Videos & Articles Where Athletes Explain How Reading & Writing Well Has Helped Their Career – Help Me Find More

The Best Resources For Learning About Balanced Literacy & The “Reading Wars”

The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension – Help Me Find More!

The Best Resources On Reading Fluency (Including How To Measure It)





March 7, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Meta-Analysis Identifies Instructional Strategies To Help Struggling Adolescent Readers


What instructional strategies can best assist struggling adolescent readers?

A new study, A Synthesis of Reading Interventions and Effects on Reading Comprehension Outcomes for Older Struggling Readers, seeks to answer that question. It’s behind a paywall (there are different ways to access papers behind a paywall that may or may not work).

Based on my quick review of the study, three instructional strategies seem to stand-out for their effectiveness:

Reciprocal teaching (including a specific reference for ELLs) in cooperative learning groups, explicit reading strategy instruction,  and the use of graphic organizers.

One other interesting part of the study was that their description of “reading strategies” for comprehension seemed similar to the ones identified by the National Reading Panel.  Here’s how the paper listed them:

Good readers used the following skills and strategies: (a) reading words rapidly and accurately; (b) noting the structure and organization of text; (c) monitoring their understanding while reading; (d) using summaries; (e) making predictions, checking them as they read, and revising and evaluating them as needed; (g) integrating what they know about the topic with new learning; and (h) making inferences and using visualization

I’m adding this info to The Best Posts On Reading Strategies & Comprehension.

Thanks to Evidence In Brief for the tip. Here’s a comment that they make about the study:

The findings suggest that secondary readers benefit more from socially and cognitively engaging instruction than from additional reading periods or technology.

January 28, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

Using “The Diary Of Anne Frank” With ELL Newcomers!

Students in my high school English Language Learner Beginner’s class start the day with fifteen-or-twenty minutes of reading a book of their choice (see The Best Resources Documenting The Effectiveness of Free Voluntary Reading).

Of course, their options can be somewhat limited because of their English-proficiency, but they do have many choices:

* The classroom library has many different English books geared towards primary age children, as well as a smaller number of simple bilingual books in different languages.

* They can access huge numbers of online English books that provide audio and vocabulary support to the text on either Epic! or Raz-Kids. Students can use either their phones or desktop computers we have in the classroom.

* My class has four peer tutors (students who had been in my ELD Beginners class four years ago, but who have now been reclassified – they volunteered over the summer, too – see Guest Post: Advanced ELLs Write About Their Summer School Experience Tutoring Newcomers). So four students can outside and read to, and receive assistance from, the peer tutors.

These three alternatives are not too shabby. However, there are still some big holes in them.

One, students between the ages of fifteen-and-twenty-one (the ages of my students) don’t necessarily want to read simple books, or plow through higher-level books that require them to look-up the definition of every-other-word (even if they just have to click on it). Our students are just as intelligent as every other student in the school – they just don’t know English.

Two, ELLs, like other young people, generally prefer paper books to eBooks (see The Best Resources On Which Is Best – Reading Digitally Or Reading Paper?).

One way I’ve dealt with those two challenges is to get English editions of books popular with our adolescent mainstream students (“Always Running,” the Harry Potter series, etc.) and then buy copies of them in different home languages. I then ask students to open both copies on their desk, try to read the English version, and then glance at the other version when they don’t understand the word.

Yes, I know, I’m sure many just read the version in their home language when they are at home, but that’s okay. I want to encourage students to develop a love of reading, they’re developing their English skills when they use the two versions at school, and assisting them to use their home language helps English acquisition, too (see The Best Resources Explaining Why We Need To Support The Home Language Of ELLs).

Using this strategy this year, however, has been challenging.  We have many new Afghani refugees who speak Farsi, and since Iran doesn’t recognize copyright outside of their country, it’s more difficult to find Persian language versions of books that can be bought in the U.S.

I did find, though, Persian versions of The Diary of Anne Frank (I was privileged to be able to visit The Annex in Amsterdam last summer!).  I’m assuming that’s because at least some versions are in the public domain.

So, I bought English, Persian and Arabic editions of the book.

The Farsi and Arabic students have loved the book, and most have been reading them during our Independent Reading Time – not to mention talking about its content.  I showed the Brainpop movie on Anne Frank as well as other accessible videos (see The Best Sites To Learn About Anne Frank) to the class, and the Spanish-speaking students (who had been reading “Always Running”) all clamored to get their own copies.  Happily, there is a simplified version that has the text in English on one side of the page and Spanish on the other.

Now, pretty much everyone is pretty focused during the reading time.  Obviously, with that level of interest, a next step could be to go beyond reading for pleasure time and use it for other language-learning activities.  Unfortunately, though, I haven’t been able to find a Hmong version, and, without that for those students, I can’t do any whole-class activities.

But, really, that’s okay.  I’m quite happy that most of my Beginner students have found a book they want to read and talk about….


January 27, 2018
by Larry Ferlazzo

New & Engaging NY Times Grammar Interactive


The New York Times periodically publishes a new installment of its engaging (though fairly high level) grammar interactive they call “Copy-Edit This,” and they just published a new one.

They hadn’t made them accessible in one place, however, and that’s why I linked to all of them in The Best Interactive “Copy-Edit This!” Grammar Quizzes In The New York Times.

Today, though, they finally decided to link them together.  However, instead creating a common “tag,” now each one has a link to the previous one but not to any others.  A bit odd, but I guess it works.

December 17, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Visualizations Of Story Arcs

There are several neat visualizations showing the outlines of the most popular stories in the world.

I thought I’d bring some of them together here.

You can find related links at The Best Digital Storytelling Resources.

Here’s what I have so far:

I have to begin with this popular video:

How to tell a great story, visualized is from TED Talks.

The 7 universal story plots that still entrance audiences is from Sparkol.

The Six Main Arcs in Storytelling, as Identified by an A.I. is from The Atlantic.

The 6 Emotional Arcs of Storytelling, Why You Should Use Them, and Which One is Best is from No Film School.

The Shapes of Stories is from The University of Vermont.

22 Rules To Phenomenal Storytelling (Infographic)

Storytelling tips from the experts at Pixar

7 Storytelling Structures to Improve Your Presentations (Infographic) is from Entrepreneur.


December 14, 2017
by Larry Ferlazzo

“ReadWorks” Make Another Big Improvement – Audio Support For Comprehension Questions

I’ve written a lot about ReadWorks, a free and excellent site that lets teachers create virtual classrooms and makes texts very accessible to students.

My past posts have included:

“ReadWorks Digital” Came Online Today & It Looks Great!

“ReadWorks” Now Provides “Same” Texts At Different Level

“ReadWorks” Adds Highlighting & Text Annotation

Today, they announced that – in addition to providing audio support for the text in their articles – they have added an audio feature for their comprehension questions.

Here’s a video about it:

How to provide audio for question sets and vocabulary from ReadWorks on Vimeo.

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