Practice Reading: ESL

Lesson 4: ESL



What is the ESL program?

Our ESL (English as a Second Language) program contains activities designed to help students practice their English and master common English vocabulary. It is not a complete, start-to-finish English course. Instead, it’s best used as an additional resource for students who already speak some English and have a basic understanding of English grammar.

The program is built around 1,000 common English words, which are grouped into themed categories. Each category includes resources students can use to learn new vocabulary and improve their English. You can see a complete list of words and categories here.

What languages are available?

We have resources in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Simple English

How can my students and I use the program?

The categories and words are similar to those found in vocabulary units in textbooks. You can choose to design instruction around our vocabulary lists, or have your students use our program to supplement similar units in another textbook or program. Students can also use the program for independent practice.

The learning activities are designed to help students practice a variety of skills, with each activity focusing on a few particular areas. Students can complete as many activities as they want, in any order they want. Each category currently contains four activities:

  • Word Explorer is a word cloud containing all of the words in the chosen category. When students select a word, they can hear it said out loud, see and listen to sentences that use it, and watch a video that defines it. This can be a good way to introduce students to a new group of words, or have them review words they already know.
    Helps practice: Vocabulary, pronunciation

  • Text Explorer includes a variety of simple, engaging texts. These include short stories, advertisements, articles, and letters. Learners can read on their own or follow along while listening to the texts, and they can also choose to assess their comprehension at the end of a text by answering questions. Students can even choose to read out loud and compare their pronunciation to the voiceover. Vocabulary words are highlighted to help students review new terms.
    Helps practice: Reading, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation

  • Video Dictionary features short, entertaining video clips that explore and define the words in each category. Students can watch the videos to learn new words, review vocabulary they’ve practiced, and learn alternate meanings for words they already know. These videos were originally created for adult learners, so some may be inappropriate for young children.
    Helps practice: Vocabulary

  • Fill in the Blank is a Cloze activity that lets students test their vocabulary. Students will be presented with a sentence that is missing a word. Students must read it and use context to figure out which vocabulary word best completes the sentence.
    Helps practice: Reading comprehension, vocabulary


Let us know what you think! If you’ve used the ESL program, take a minute to leave us a message here. Tell us how your students are using this program, report any problems you may encounter, and provide us with other strategies we can use to help your learners improve their reading skills.