Best Online Teaching Resources to Support Literacy in ELLs

You can advance your ELLs literacy skills with great online resources.

Pear, pair, peer, peer…so similar, but so different at the same time. This is to say: English can be a hard language to learn, even if it’s your native language!

LessonWriter creates literacy-focused lessons that support ESLs, as well as any other students that need extra literacy support. That’s why we have teachers all over the world using our platform, and why we want to support those teachers with their ELL students.

While this post was written primarily for TESOLs looking for some online resources to support ESLs, these resources are great for anyone learning a english as a second language, ELL online tutors, or even English-speaking adults looking to brush up on their literacy skills.

Here are some great online resources to use to support your ESL students—and yourself—when teaching literacy online. 

10 Online Resources for Teaching Literacy to ESL Students 

1. LessonWriter

LessonWriter is an online platform for literacy instructors and ESL teachers that lets you make a literacy-support lesson from any online content of choice. All you do is find the article you want to teach, input the text (or URL) into the platform, and press “Create” to get a full literacy lesson based on that text.

If you want to spend a bit more time on your lesson, you can choose the “detailed” option and pick every vocabulary word, dictionary definition, graphic organizers, long answer questions, grammar point, and more. LessonWriter is straightforward: if you want to teach and support literacy skills, writing skills, or advanced reading skills, LessonWriter will be the right platform for you.

2. Using English was established in 2002 and is a general English language site specialising in English as a Second Language (ESL). They have a large collection of tools & resources for students, teachers, learners and academics, covering the full spectrum of ESL, EFL, ESOL, and EAP subject areas.

3. Dave’s ESL Cafe

Dave’s ESL Cafe is a resource for individuals to find ESL & EFL teaching opportunities available around the world. But it also has a variety of teaching resources including grammar lessons, idioms, lesson plans, phrasal verbs, slang, and quizzes.

Each of these sections are then split up into various additional sections. Their lesson plans range from business English to software to writing.

4. Starfall is a free public service to teach children to read, and then expanded to include language arts and mathematics for preK-third grade students. They emphasize phonemic awareness, systematic sequential phonics, and common sight words.

They are especially effective for special education, homeschooling, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). some resources they have include animated songs, mathematics, and reading activities, and supports the production of new books, songs, educational games, and movies.

5. FluentU

FluentU is an online english education platform for language immersion. It includes video content, quizzes, and helpful information on teaching students English (as well as other languages)! While it does cost money, there are school discounts.

6. English Media Lab

English Media Lab offers free english exercises online to support interactive ESL learning. There are games, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and quizzes for individuals from 1st-8th grade.

Choose from crossword puzzles, word searches, cloze exercises, listening exercises, and many more.

7. American English

From books and lesson plans to music and interactive videos, you can explore a collection of nearly 1,000 resources at American English. The American English website provides resources for teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and encouraging conversation within the global EFL community, as well as exploring American culture.

Their resources include support for teaching reading, writing, listening, and speaking, teaching tips for TESOLs, teacher training webinars, and resources covering U.S. culture. They also have open online courses for English language teachers, students, and other professionals.

8. ESL Video

ESL Video offers free quizzes, lessons and online conversation classes for English language learners. Quizzes are offered from beginners to advanced, and supply news quizzes as well as quizzes based on popular TV shows, TED talks, and others.

Quizzes are separated by grammar topics, as well as specific topics like animals, health & beauty, travel, science, and more. They also have online teaching material with Google slides and interactive activities for online classes, choral reading support, and more. You can also make and share your own quizzes and grade your students through their site. 

9. Learning English Kids

LearnEnglish Kids is brought to you by the British Council. The platform offers free online games, songs, stories and activities for children separated into three different levels. For parents and teachers, they have articles on supporting children in learning English, videos on using English at home and information about English courses as well.

They offer information on topics A-Z, from ancient egypt, to feelings, to magic, to robot songs and more! Note of course, it is a UK site, so there will be some differences with American English.

10. BITS English Language Learning

BITS English Language Learning is a nonprofit site that provides novels, short stories, articles, and more than you can read in sections while listening to an audio version of the text. While it’s focused on adult literacy, many of the resources work well for children and teens. You can even adjust reading speeds as students improve.

The site also provides practice for English idioms, test prep, using “a-an-the” articles, and songs to read and sing along with. Check out Sherlock Holmes, the Princess Bride, or many other novel classics as your students learn to read! 

Support ESL Literacy with Free Website Resources

Whether you’re a TESOL, interacting with ESL students, or an ESL student yourself, all of the resources on this list are great options if you’re looking to enhance literacy skills.

Take the time to investigate which site (or sites) might work best for you, and feel free to mix and match these online ESL resources. 

P.S. You can try a FREE LessonWriter subscription to get started right now! 

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