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UsingEnglish.com - UsingEnglish.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Check this site for things you need to help for ESL/ELL students. You will find lesson plans, reference links, grammar practice, reading comprehension work, tests, word lists for specific...more
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Check this site for things you need to help for ESL/ELL students. You will find lesson plans, reference links, grammar practice, reading comprehension work, tests, word lists for specific tests, vocabulary offerings, professional articles, and more. The site is easy to searchand well organized, present exercises and tests in a consistent and easy to read format. The "question bank" offers difficult grammar points in a poll format, with results constantly renewed; some answers are obviously wrong, but grammar, too, has its debatable points! With free membership registration, teachers get access to even more activities, exercises, quizzes, games, a newsletter, and more. NOTE: There is a Forum (bulletin board) feature on this site. If your school does not permit students to use such tools, be sure to spell out the consequences as you tell students to avoid that area.

tag(s): grammar (216), idioms (44), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Regular classroom teachers will want to use this site with ESL and ELL students fwhen they need a quick review on a specific grammar point. Use the professional articles for your own edification as well as links to other topics of interest.

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English Teaching Program - Jason

Grades
9 to 12
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This site provides scripts for English practice of dramatic scenes, short plays, idioms, and trivia. The subjects are definitely sophisticated and most appropriately used with high...more
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This site provides scripts for English practice of dramatic scenes, short plays, idioms, and trivia. The subjects are definitely sophisticated and most appropriately used with high school aged ESL/ELL students. Be aware - this website was obviously created by a non-native English speaker. You will notice some minor grammar and spelling errors.

tag(s): idioms (44), speaking (24), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share the multimedia section of stories with the entire class. This site is very useful to encourage language learners and hesitant speakers to complete communication projects and gain confidence in public speaking.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Electronic Books for Beginners - Jessica N. Rivera

Grades
1 to 3
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This site shows teachers and students how to create their own e-books of their own stories (or their favorite stories, by another author) using the computer. Very ...more
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This site shows teachers and students how to create their own e-books of their own stories (or their favorite stories, by another author) using the computer. Very young students also learn computer skills and accompanying vocabulary. Students learn to compare the paper and digital books and also learn to produce books using a digital camera and PowerPoint. They learn to add graphics using various programs and to type in the words of the story. This website includes four detailed lesson plans including standards, assessment, and step by step instructions. It also highlights extension activities, resources, homework ideas and more. NOTE: Some of the links to support materials are no longer active, but there are many alternative choices still available.

tag(s): photography (160), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Try these plans in your primary grade classroom, using their own writings or a class favorite. Since the lesson plans require a lot of one-on-one instruction, why not create learning centers that relate to writing or other language arts topics. Have one of the centers be this small group lesson with the teacher or teacher assistant. The other centers could include independent reading or writing, comprehension activities, spelling practice, grammar games on independent computers, or whatever fills a need in your language arts class. This would also be an ideal activity for a big buddy/little buddy pairing with older elementary students, creating the project together.

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The Story Connection - Dianne de las Casas

Grades
2 to 6
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This website offers printable (retold) stories by Dianne de las Casas. She offers quite a collection, and adds new stories each month. The stories come from all around the world. ...more
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This website offers printable (retold) stories by Dianne de las Casas. She offers quite a collection, and adds new stories each month. The stories come from all around the world. Other offerings on the site include holiday stories, fingerplays, play scripts, activities to do with stories, and puzzles. Don't forget to check out the extensive suggestions under Resources such as Story telling games. These help teachers and parents know what to do after they've all read a story together. Teachers, school librarians, and even parents can sign up for a free monthly newsletter about using stories in education; The Story Connection Express. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Use the activities in class after reading one of her stories from a country you have represented among your ESL or ELL students. Have your students write their own story activity suggestions after you have used a few of Dianne's. Be sure to include this link on your class website and in your letter home to parents. Suggest that they read just one short story and find accompanying activities for the family to do.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Season Sequence Stories - Crayola

Grades
K to 4
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This mini-lesson plan teaches children sequence, observation, season awareness, and creative expression. The children either make multiple drawings or cards which capture the outdoor...more
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This mini-lesson plan teaches children sequence, observation, season awareness, and creative expression. The children either make multiple drawings or cards which capture the outdoor scene of the present season. They also put the cards or drawings in sequential order. Children who can't write can dictate their comments to the teacher. As the children share their sequential stories with each other, they all practice listening skills, learn new vocabulary, and understand differences in points of view. Children can also take their classmates' pictures and cards and rearrange them and tell or write new stories.

tag(s): drawing (78), seasons (37), sequencing (31)

In the Classroom

Use this activity in response to a field trip or outdoor excursion around the school. This lesson allows ESL and ELL students who can't express themselves as well as the rest of the class to be full participants. Teachers might want to review pertinent meta-questions before taking a trip, such as "What is the name of that?," "How do you spell that word?," and "Can you repeat that?" before going outside the classroom.

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What's in a Name? - Judi Hayes

Grades
2 to 6
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This simple lesson plan helps a regular elementary class learn and understand international student's names. The website features several intriguing activities used to learn the meanings...more
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This simple lesson plan helps a regular elementary class learn and understand international student's names. The website features several intriguing activities used to learn the meanings of names. One activity challenges students to write a poem about the person with the "unusual" name. It also helps the foreign student accept his/her original name by focusing briefly on their culture during this activity. This lesson easily adapts to having American students choose names their ancestors might have had, depending on their country of origin. For students who can't read, this lesson works as a way to help them learn to write their names. Some of the activities are PDF and require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): poetry (227)

In the Classroom

Make a list of the names of all your students. For students who can't read, display photos of the children instead. Compare the American names the international students have chosen with their original names. For students who write using a different alphabet, have them write their names on the board and explain the equivalents with the help of a teacher. Foreign language teachers can also use this lesson plan in reverse when choosing foreign names for their language students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Literactive - Entertainment & Information Industries Ltd

Grades
K to 3
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This site assists beginning readers by providing screen sized, illustrated stories with limited rhyming vocabulary. You are required to go through a free registration. You can play...more
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This site assists beginning readers by providing screen sized, illustrated stories with limited rhyming vocabulary. You are required to go through a free registration. You can play rhyming games with the newly-learned words. The site also has a sections of stories for ESL and ELL students, guided reading for kindergarten students, downloadable traditional picture books, e-poetry, and many learning activities! Some of the topics of the learning activities include Match the Sounds, Sequence Game, and several others. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): guided reading (47)

In the Classroom

Provide this link in your class newsletter and on your class website, so parents can reinforce the reading skills you are teaching their children in school. Share the activities link with your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have your students explore the activities with a partner on your classroom computer center or cluster.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Loud Lit - Loudlit.org

Grades
1 to 12
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature....more
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature. You are given the options of listening to the literature, listening and reading the literature, or downloading the literature to an MP3 player. The number of items available for public use is constantly increasing. The current contents include novels, poetry, classic children's literature, a few historical items, and classic short stories. Some examples of the available literature includes A Tale of Two Cities, The Little Match Girl, The Gift of the Magi, The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, and countless others. A separate column lets you know about newly recorded items. This site requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): declaration of independence (13), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), literature (275), poetry (227)

In the Classroom

This site is helpful for many subjects and grade levels. Have students use this website when they have to memorize poetry, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. ESL and ELL students and many learning support students will benefit from the option of "reading" in multi-media format. Use the audio stories with younger students for listening skills. During a poetry unit, why not have students choose one of the poems to read and listen to? Have the students analyze and write in their journal about what they think the poem means. Then have the students share the original poem and their own opinions with the class, making this activity a listening, reading, writing, and speaking lesson. If you are into podcasting, encourage students to create some of their own poetry readings with commentary.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Meg Cabot - Meggin Cabot

Grades
6 to 12
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This official website for author Meg Cabot is a tool to encourage journal writing. It has journal writing tips, downloadable journal pages, a bibliography of other journal selections,...more
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This official website for author Meg Cabot is a tool to encourage journal writing. It has journal writing tips, downloadable journal pages, a bibliography of other journal selections, an opportunity to journal with the author, and more. This website requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): writing (358)

In the Classroom

Use this site to encourage daily writing. Help students improve their sentence structure and use grammar painlessly through frequent personal writing. ESL and ELL students will enjoy journal-writing as a safe place to practice without corrections. Some journal-writing can also take place on classroom blogs, though you may want to keep uncorrected student blogs behind passwords until students are comfortable with the more public setting.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Self-study Grammar Quizzes - Internet TESL Journal/ teacher contrbutors

Grades
6 to 9
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This website offers various interactive quizzes all related to grammar. Although written for ESL/ELL students, this is a good practice site for middle school students who have trouble...more
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This website offers various interactive quizzes all related to grammar. Although written for ESL/ELL students, this is a good practice site for middle school students who have trouble remembering grammar basics. All of the quizzes are interactive, with the answers underneath each question for immediate feedback. It encompasses a wide range of grammar-related rules, everything from "a or an" to "active-passive voice." This would make a good review or independent study site.

tag(s): grammar (216), punctuation (43)

In the Classroom

Choose which of these quizzes would most benefit your students and make the links available from your teacher web page for them to access the quizzes quickly. As students work independently on them, you can do individual support and final testing with them as they finish each section. The "Other Quizzes" section offers some challenging quizzes that ask students to identify sentence problems and various other questions.

Why not use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share the more challenging quizzes with your class. Divide the class into teams, project the questions on the screen, and see which team can answer the most questions correctly. This is great review before standardized testing.

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Awesome Comics Webquest - Grammarman.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This complete unit gives ESL/ELL students get an opportunity to create (write and draw) a new comic character for the Grammarman comic series. (See TeachersFirst's...more
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This complete unit gives ESL/ELL students get an opportunity to create (write and draw) a new comic character for the Grammarman comic series. (See TeachersFirst's review of the broader Grammarman web site for other activities that may require less time). Students are able to research the history of comics, drawing, manga, super heroes, character development, and more. Throughout the webquest, students can check out what other students have created. After going through the 8 stages of the webquest, reading, writing, and drawing, your students can submit the finished product to the student pages so others can enjoy their creation. Notes for teachers summarize each of the 8 steps and make suggestions about how to use this webquest in a shorter time period. Eager comic creators who aren't ESL/ELL students will also enjoy a modified version of this quest. This website requires FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), drawing (78), grammar (216)

In the Classroom

Share this webquest on laptops or a classroom computer cluster for students to accomplish the "quest." Use this project in an ESL/ELL class as a cumulative review of each student's specific grammar problem. Pair ESL students with a native speaker to work on the research and drawing. This creative activity is sure to excite ESL/ELL students and native English speakers.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Grammarman - grammarman.com

Grades
5 to 12
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This online version of Asian-created Grammarman regularly appears in foreign newspapers. Before reading, students can click on each character under Bad Guys or Good Guys to get the...more
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This online version of Asian-created Grammarman regularly appears in foreign newspapers. Before reading, students can click on each character under Bad Guys or Good Guys to get the character's background. The people of "Verbo City" need help with grammar problems when Grammarman comes to their rescue. Both still and movie versions of the various episodes feature his triumphs over bad grammar. This site is a refreshing break from grammar exercises and quizzes for all students (ESL, ELL, special education, and in the regular classroom). Downloadable Grammarman Dominoes allow students to carry the characters in their pockets and play a game with each other. You may notice some slight spelling or vocabulary differences, because this website was created using British English.

tag(s): grammar (216)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous grammar website to use with all students. Use your interactive whiteboard to share the "grammar story of the week." Challenge your students to find the grammar errors and help Grammarman "save the day." Use the free, downloadable templates to have students create their own Grammarman comics featuring their personal grammar "demons." Have another teacher judge the entries and allow the "winner" to wear the Grammarman "cape" for the week (or earn a homework pass).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Skip's Radio Scripts for Language Learners - Skip Reske

Grades
6 to 12
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating...more
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These adapted radio scripts assist ESL/ELL students with learning how to use articles and grammar correctly, increase vocabulary, and improve reading comprehension. A highly motivating site, students can see photos of old movies and even enjoy clips from the movies as they work with the scripts.

tag(s): grammar (216), movies (64), radio (27)

In the Classroom

This website is particularly useful if your ESL/ELL students want to perform a portion of a play. If your students are having difficulty with article usage, try a different approach to teaching the skill in the context of drama. If you have access to DVDs of the films used, you may want to play a few clips for the students.

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Word Reference - wordreference.com

Grades
2 to 12
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up...more
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This series of free translating dictionaries allows students to search to/from English in these languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and German. Once a definition comes up in English, there are links to other dictionary pages where the word appears in a sentence. You can click on the audio button to hear the word spoken in both languages. This feature is only available in more commonly used words

There are also immediate clicks to other languages, so a student could check the same word in Spanish and French very easily. In addition to the translation dictionaries, there are also "English Dictionaries" (non-interactive) available in Portuguese, Polish, Romanian, Czech, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic (coming soon). Many of the foreign language dictionaries will increase in volume as the site developers add more vocabulary.

Be aware: this site does include minor advertisements. There is a link to Language Forums. It is probably best to advise students to stay away from the forums.

tag(s): chinese (48), dictionaries (56), italian (33), japan (61), japanese (42), korea (15), portuguese (18), russia (38), russian (26)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites on your classroom computers for use by ESL/ELL and foreign language students or for use when studying derivations and word families in English (compare the same word across several languages to see how close they can be!). Students can take an active role in vocabulary preview work by using this site in prior to reading. Be sure to list this site on your class webpage so students can access this information both in and out of the classroom.

If you are introducing new vocabulary words to your foreign language class. Have them use this site to find the appropriate translations. Then have the students work in cooperative learning groups to create online vocabulary guide books using a tool such at Bookemon (reviewed here). Have the groups share the online books on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to keep the links for future students to use the guides, as well.

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Chuala - Chuala

Grades
4 to 12
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This site allows students to practice pronunciation in 10 languages, including English, European languages, and Mandarin Chinese. After a free registration, you can put in a search...more
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This site allows students to practice pronunciation in 10 languages, including English, European languages, and Mandarin Chinese. After a free registration, you can put in a search term for lessons. It's a bit difficult to guess search items, so looking at the entire list in any given language is a good way to start. Currently, English has 298 items. You are also able to contribute lessons.

One helpful document is the Chuala inventory which allows instructors to quiz ESL students on their pronunciation by having them pronounce 144 distinct items. They can then search the lessons for practice, recording, and making comparisons on these phonemes.

Some of the lessons take the whole language approach and appear as dialogs, discussions, or Q and A. Most, however, have students practice distinct sounds only, with no context. One advantage of the program is that you can select lessons by distinct language area. For example, American English students can hear examples of American English rather than British English. You can also request that other lessons be created. This site requires Flash and enabled Javascript. Get Flash and directions on enabling Javascript from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): chinese (48), pronunciation (44)

In the Classroom

Set ESL/ELL or speech/language students up with this site on a classroom computer cluster or in a lab to practice phonemes they can't hear or pronounce (see safety notice below). You MUST have a microphone or use a computer that has one built in. Use the inventory to make initial ESL/ELL evaluations as well as periodic progress checks. Students may like the site so much they'll want to practice at home.

This website could be very useful to French, Spanish, and German teachers (or teachers of other world languages). Use this site to learn new vocabulary and improve pronunciation of world languages.

Safety concern: This site requires FREE membership to use the audio tools and access content. Membership includes social networking tools, such as "friends" and "messages," and requires an email address. You may want to set up a single class account for in-school use, entering your "extra" email address to avoid unsafe use of the site by your adventurous students. If you KNOW how they are logging in (with your account), you can remove any friends or other unauthorized contacts. The problem with this approach is that you will not know which student has done what. If you do permit individual user accounts (according to your school's policies, of course), have parents and students sign an agreement that spells out permissible behavior and consequences -- and get your principal's OK!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Garfield's Comic Creator - National Institute of Health

Grades
2 to 6
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles...more
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Garfield's Comic Creator is a simple site that helps students create their own comic strips using Garfield characters. Students can choose between talking bubbles and thinking bubbles as well as adding various backgrounds and accessories. Click on the ?-Box to learn more about how to use this program. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory activity for talking and thinking bubbles, as well as for dialog, by sharing your own example. Students could also use these to summarize a piece of literature or even have Garfield explain a science or social studies concept. Have students print and hand in their completed work for a quick writing sample or assessment tool. The comic strips could be used in any subject area for review or enrichment.

This is also an excellent tool for counselors or emotional/autistic support teachers to use with students. Sometimes students are less threatened to write about fears, conflict, and other issues (rather than say them aloud). ES teachers can use comics to help students learn positive ways to express feelings.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Silly Books - sillybooks.net

Grades
K to 6
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This site offers animated books with audio (some authored by children), jokes, cartoons, interactive games, and more. Some books are in Spanish, as well. Prepare to mark this site in...more
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This site offers animated books with audio (some authored by children), jokes, cartoons, interactive games, and more. Some books are in Spanish, as well. Prepare to mark this site in your Favorites when you see the extensive content. Its name doesn't reflect its depth. Many books have the text displayed, and as each word is spoken, it is highlighted. Students will learn new words used in context, since the stories feature rich vocabulary.

NOTE: The link to "Stumble It" connects to a very intriguing but random way of finding similar web sites, but it has its safety concerns for younger students. Read more about it in our TeachersFirst Edge review of Stumble Upon before you permit your students to use it.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), listening (91), literature (275), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Have your promising writers submit books for possible publication at this site (with parent permission, of course!). SillyBooks does the illustrating and audio. Make sure you click on the Catalog link to view the vast listing of books to which your class can listen. Use the expression-filled books on your projector or interactive whiteboard as choral reading readers (turn up the speakers!). Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further reading practice. Spanish teachers, there are a few Spanish-language books available to read and hear. Learning Support and ESL/ELL teachers will love the chance to build student vocabulary as they read -- and perhaps even want to write a story of their own.
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Story Nory: Kids Audio Stories - Blog Relations: Matthew Lynn and Hugh Fraser

Grades
K to 5
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This site offers over 100 audio stories, downloadable to mp3 players or playable from your computer using Flash. It also has constant updates, news about new offerings, and several...more
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This site offers over 100 audio stories, downloadable to mp3 players or playable from your computer using Flash. It also has constant updates, news about new offerings, and several complete books available as well. The stories available include animal stories, poems, fables and legends, modern stories, and some holiday stories. A few stories include an animated video. The text of the story is included, so students can follow along during the audio reading The audio quality is high, so enthusiasm will be contagious! This site does have some small unobtrusive advertisements. Be aware - this website is a blog, so students can add comments about a story (using first names only), if this is within your school policies. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): folktales (65), listening (91)

In the Classroom

Beginning readers will enjoy this site as much as more capable readers, listening intently to the high quality presentation. Share this site with parents in your class newsletter or from your teacher web page. Use it also when you read Alice in Wonderland, and when you teach the concept of "series" stories (try the "Bertie" stories). ESL/ ELL and learning support students will benefit from reading and hearingstories at the same time. Project the story on an interactive whiteboard or projector with small groups of readers so students can follow along and even highlight words during the audio reading.
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Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab - Randall Davis

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers audible everyday conversations with adult and children's voices for ESL/ELL students. There are three levels of difficulty. Each story (conversation) includes before,...more
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This site offers audible everyday conversations with adult and children's voices for ESL/ELL students. There are three levels of difficulty. Each story (conversation) includes before, during, and after listening information. Note: some content, such as "Dating Woes," "The Ideal Woman," and "Personal Problems" may not be appropriate for younger students. Preview! There are some small Google ads, but they are not objectionable. This site requires Windows Media Player or Real Media and Acrobat Reader. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (91)

In the Classroom

Consider using some of the listening exercises to help all students learn to become better listeners or to discuss the concept of "main idea." Turn up your speakers (and use a projector to display the "quiz script," if you wish) to share the stories and questions or assign stories for student listening in a center. Use the follow-up questions to assess listening skills.

Be sure to follow your school district's guidelines for students posting information online if they will be responding to the blog feature on this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Zoom Playhouse - PBS Kids

Grades
1 to 5
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More than 40 complete play scripts of the mini-dramas featured on Zoom Playhouse appear on this site. Each play includes casting, stage directions, and props. A photo shows the Zoom...more
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More than 40 complete play scripts of the mini-dramas featured on Zoom Playhouse appear on this site. Each play includes casting, stage directions, and props. A photo shows the Zoom cast from this popular educational show. A link on the side allows you to search to see what the local PBS station has on its docket for today, and a daily "highlight" focuses extra attention on one selected script. Some of the script stories include Anansi, Beeping Sleauty, Oliver, Stone Soup, Three Little Bears Cha Cha Cha, and numerous others.

tag(s): plays (37), readers theater (17)

In the Classroom

Use these very short plays with your class for extra reading practice and to teach them what a "play" is. Either project the plays on an interactive whiteboard or print the plays for your class. Divide your class into small groups and assign each group a different play. Then have the students present their plays to the class. What an excellent activity to practice reading and speaking skills. Students will begin to understand character development by seeing them act out their lines; use these plays as a jumping off board for talking about key elements in drama. ESL/ELL students always benefit from reading, speaking, and acting out the same words; the context of a play makes it easy and fun for everyone.

Another ideas: encourage your students to write their own mini-plays after they've tried out a few of the ones here or select scripts that survive well in an audio-only format and have students record them as podcasts for home listening and sharing with others.

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