Online Sites You Might Like for Your Class


by Val Baggaley
ESL Instructor at Bow Valley College

Val Baggaley has been teaching ESL at Bow Valley College in Calgary for 20 years. Fifteen years ago, she fell in love with literacy and has stayed there as much as possible ever since. She currently teaches a CLB 3L class but her real passion is teaching the very beginners. 

There are lots of websites out there, but I thought I’d highlight a few less familiar ones. Although not perfect, the materials I am going to talk about do allow the learner some repetition of already learned concepts. For beginners and learners without much formal education, I believe that online learning is more about reinforcing and maintaining the learners’ existing language skills.

One of my favourite sites that CLB1L to 3L can use independently (once they’ve been shown it a few times) is Games to Learn English. Each game has several different vocabulary themes within each game type. This allows repetition for the student so that they become familiar with how to play each game. Other games on this site are word order games. The games range from quite easy (below) to longer scrambled sentences.

Games to Learn English: Fast Vocab
Games to Learn English: Fast Phrases

Recently, I came across two video series I hadn’t used before: Sound Grammar and ESL Video. The characters are adults and they talk in natural language but are perhaps too fast for anyone below a CLB2L class. If you are looking at it together with the class, there are simple self-correcting quizzes under each video.

Sound Grammar
ESL Video

Finally, Storybooks Canada is a really lovely reading site. I suggest using the site for in class together as it takes scrolling or pushing complicated buttons, but the stories are so lovely that I think they are worth it. The stories feature characters from different African countries.

Storybooks Canada: "Children of Wax"
Storybooks Canada: "Decision"

I hope some of these sites are useful to you and your class. Which sites are your go-tos during COVID-19 times?

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