Whether you teach online or in a classroom, you know the value of having dependable free ESL resources that you can count on in any situation.
This week, I reminisced about my early days of online teaching with a friend who also tutors Cambly. We got on the topic of resources, specifically the free ESL resources we always use with students in class.
Then it occurred to me that it took a long time to compile this list of resources, and I wish I had access to a blog or document such as this one when I started teaching online.
So, I thought I would share my top nine free ESL resources for teachers to help you all to skip the endless digging through the pages of Google looking for the perfect resource.
9 of The Best Free ESL Resources for Teachers
Bookmark this blog, save the link, or simply keep it in your second tab during class so you’re never stuck on what to say next!
Epic is the world’s leading online children’s subscription book service that offers immediate, on-demand access to over 40,000 high-quality illustrated books and chapter books for children under 12.
Epic is the perfect service for you if you primarily teach children online or teach in a physical classroom because you can bring Epic Books everywhere with you; all you need is your login information!
You’ll never have to worry about inattentive kid’s in your classroom ever again because Epic has a story for everyone’s English level.
With Epic’s free subscription, you get access to one book per day. For USD 6.67, you can receive unlimited access to Epic’s books, audiobooks, and videos. The unlimited option is perfect if you teach kids every day because it gives you peace of mind knowing that you always have an engaging lesson at your fingertips.
BusyTeacher has been a true life-saver for me, especially when I was just getting started with online teaching and had no idea how to compile a lesson plan on my own.
BusyTeacher is a website where English teachers can share their printable ESL worksheets, ESL lesson plans, and ideas for lesson activities with other teachers entirely for free.
They have over 17,000 worksheets and lessons for just about everything, including grammar, vocabulary, speaking, reading, listening, writing, and pronunciation.
Plus, BusyTeacher has some great articles focused on providing us, as English teachers, with some tips and tricks for the job.
First of all, I’m absolutely in love with ThoughtCo’s website design and resource sections. There’s something so minimalistic and inviting about the whole site.
ThoughtCo is a premier reference site with a 20+ year focus on expert-created education content, and it’s a great place for English teachers to turn for professional development guidance.
There is a section on ThoughtCo’s website called “Resources for Educators,” where you can use their guides to help you grow as an educator. Find inspiration for encouraging struggling students, writing assessments, and establishing trust with parents so that both you and your students can succeed.
I got the motivation from ThoughtCo’s website to write this blog about how to be an effective online tutor.
ThoughtCo’s collection of blogs and articles have plenty of ideas for dialogue, conversations, and class management.
4. Breaking News English
Breaking News English is a free website with thousands of ready-to-use interactive ESL lesson plans, worksheets, graded news articles at pre-intermediate and intermediate-plus, listening activities, online quizzes.
There is a lesson plan for every student you can imagine, covering a wide variety of topics, and the lessons range throughout seven English levels, from beginner to advanced.
They release new free lessons two times per week, so you can always find a new exciting lesson to keep your students entertained.
LearnHip is the perfect resource to use with your regular students and new students alike.
LearnHip is a website with interactive games, puzzles, activities, and exercises to learn and teach English and other subjects online.
I especially enjoy LearnHip’s random question generator. So much so that I usually have this open in the next tab whenever I’m teaching. It’s a great resource to turn to when you don’t know where to take the conversation next or when you’ve finished your curriculum for the day and still have 5-minutes of speaking time with your student.
Every English tutor needs LearnHip in their life, trust me.
6. Games to Learn English
Games to Learn English is a free games website on a mission to make learning English fun!
There are many different games in varying categories, including vocabulary, phrases, tenses, prepositions, etc. It’s the perfect resource to use with your young learners who get distracted easily.
As soon as I open this tab, all of my kid’s students instantly perk up and stare at the screen. It’s like magic.
Englishgrammar.org is perfect to have in your second tab when speaking with your advanced ESL students to feel prepared for all of their grammar questions.
“It just sounds right!” isn’t a good enough explanation to give your advanced students, and I understand that it’s hard to remember every last English grammar rule, but englishgrammar.org has helped me look up an answer for a student in the blink of an eye.
It’s saved me a lot of embarrassment; let’s just say that.
Plus, they have downloadable lessons, exercises, and tools to help you prepare for all of those challenging grammar questions that catch you off guard.
8. ESL Video
If you’re anything like me, I love using short videos to entertain and educate my students. It helps them develop their English listening skills and gets them comfortable hearing more English voices than just mine.
Sure, you can probably use YouTube and sort through the endless amounts of video content trying to find short videos with slow-speaking English speakers.
But none of us have time for that.
ESL Video has thousands of videos and exercises sorted by ability level so that you can find the exact video for your student’s needs with a straightforward search.
A little pro tip: I especially love their TedTalk section for my intermediate to advanced students to encourage an engaging and thought-provoking conversation.
9. Engoo Daily News
Engoo Daily News is a website that publishes multiple articles a day about, you guessed it, world news!
Their website has thousands of high-quality articles that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced English students. You can even choose articles based on categories such as business, culture & entertainment, health, etc.
Each article introduces new vocabulary before reading the piece, and then they provide you with some engaging questions to ask your student afterwards.
It truly is the perfect resource to use with any student because it allows them to practice their reading, speaking, and listening! Sometimes I’ll even have my student write out an answer to a question, so we’re covering all bases.
There you have it, that’s my top nine free ESL resources for teachers on the internet
Do you have any resources that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
Be sure to check out The Cambly Wire, the Cambly Tutors blog, where I write a little more in detail about each of these resources, and where other tutors and I provide free weekly advice to English tutors.