This is just a quick post to share some of the great resources I use in my reading and writing classes. But, these resources are not just for teachers. Students interested in reading more in English, EAP students, and those preparing for TOEFL or IELTS will find the following sites both interesting and very useful!
Newsela is perhaps my favorite resource. It offers news stories on a range of issues at 5-levels of difficulty, including the original article. Beyond news, Newsela offers biographies, famous speeches, and primary source documents from American history. Sign-up for an account to give your students access to the articles. There are a lot more LMS-style options for paid accounts, but even the free basic access is great!
JSTOR is a major academic journal publisher and JSTOR Daily is its blog component. They offer engaging, short, research-based posts on really interesting topics. All posts include useful links to related articles and citations! Some of my recent favorites include:
- ‘Stranger Things’ and the Psychic Nosebleed
- How Does the Language of Headlines Work? The Answer May Surprise You.
- What did Manhattan Look Like in 1609?
- Could Immigration Save Middle America?
Voices of America (VOA)
VOA is a news service sponsored by the US Government. It is broadcast via radio and TV to countries world-wide, and its website has very interesting content. Most of this content is written in Special English – a simplified English, which means it is highly accessible to most students. They have a very large site with many sections. Some of my favorites include the main news site and these:
- Learning English
- The Making of the Nation – US History Series
- US Election 2016
- The Making of the Constitution
Aeon has highly engaging essays. These essays are often long explorations into a subject and are great for EAP students and those wishing for a challenge. Here are some recent good ones:
- English is Not Normal by John McWhorter
- Is Motherhood Gendered? by Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
- Reporters Ask: ‘What Would Einstein Do?’ by Thomas Levenson
- Hot Stuff (about hot peppers) by Kendra Pierre-Louis
What If? by XKCD
Ever wonder how many tea bags it would take to turn a lake into something that tasted like a regular cup of tea? Ever wondered how many seconds you could survive on the surface of the sun? How about how many humans a t-rex would need to eat to meet its daily caloric intake? What If? explores these and more in very scientific ways! This site is wonderful for many EAP students, especially prospective scientists.
I have written about the ways I use TED Talks on this blog in the past. TED is a great resource for engaging talks on a range of subjects. One of the benefits of the site is that they offer interactive transcripts. You get not only the text but the ability to click on any word and be shown that part of the video. However, you do not need to use the video to use TED. The texts themselves are interesting and make for great reading resources. Furthermore, most TED Talks are translated into multiple languages. For readers, this gives students the ability to read in English and do their own comprehension checking in their language. They can note differences in understanding, vocabulary, and so on.
(thanks to a reader for pointing out my oversight on not including this in the original post!)