These free online ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) resources for children are a great starting point for those of you that go by the acronym TESL, TESOL or TEFL or maybe for parents or carers looking to boost their child’s vocabulary and language skills with regard to having English as a second language or as an additional language (EAL). The resources all offer a variety of fun and engaging material including free games, animations, songs and printable worksheets. We intend to create our own set of free children’s resources to help with teaching English as a second language so please send us your comments and suggestions for the type of printables, worksheets, games, etc., that you’d like to see.
Our Top 5 on-line suggestions for on-line ESL resources and materials are:
The British Council’s Learn English Kids website is a colourful ESL/ESOL resource that combines music, story-telling, games and crafts to help young children learn English as a second language. Topics are wide ranging and include numbers, sport, seasons, traditions, pets and even dinosaurs so whether you’re a teacher that focusses on TESL or a parent who’s keen to improve reading, writing and speaking skills this website can’t fail to assist you. There’s also a dedicated ‘Teens’ section which provides older material for teenagers, plus there’s a ‘Little Kids’ section which helps teach very young children.
Another bright and engaging site, Starfall is perfect for young kids who are learning English as a foreign language (EFL) or English as an additional language (EAL). (Some content can only be accessed with a subscription but there are PLENTY of free learning tools for children too). With clearly labelled learning areas on the website such as ‘ABC’, ‘Learn to Read’ and ‘I’m Reading’ young children of pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and reception age can all benefit. We particularly like the vowel and consonant animations in the ‘Learn to Read’ section which most children will find fun and educational.
Many classrooms around the globe already use Reading Bear and it’s easy to see why. The website provides teachers and learners with a free on-line teaching program which simply and systematically introduces the main phonetics of written English using clear and friendly videos and graphics. There are around 50 presentations covering over 1000 items of vocabulary to help young children with learning English as a second language (ESL) or as an additional language(EAL). Great for working alone, in a team, or whole class … they say “There is nothing else like it, free or otherwise” and we totally agree.
Look for the Say The Sounds box at the bottom of the Phonics Made Easy page. You’ll find some audio files that clearly play the 44 sounds that the 26 letters of the alphabet make. Perfect for early learners of English the alphabetised selection also breaks down each letter into sounds (phonemes), letters that represent the sounds (graphemes) and examples of the sounds in words. There’s a section on blending sounds too. If you’re a teacher of English as a second language (TESL, TEFL or TESOL) we think this could be a simple but powerful tool in helping to teach the spoken sounds of the English language.
You may know that Piece of Cake is a phrase or saying that means something is easy to do. Well ‘Piece of English Cake’ is a website dedicated to helping ELL students to learn how to read and speak English. Choose from beginner, intermediate or advanced and take advantage of their well constructed program which covers many phonics topics including consonant digraphs and blends, prefixes and suffixes, long and short vowels, hard ‘c’ and soft ‘c’, etc. There are matching games, colourful photo slide-shows, reading comprehension tests, fun puzzles and loads more ESL resources on this website.
Guide to Acronyms:
ESL – English as a Second Language
ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages
EAL – English as an Additional Language
EFL – English as a Foreign Language
ELT – English Language Teaching
TESL – Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TEFL – Teaching English as a Foreign language