Digital Resources For EL Students
March 30, 2020
New America’s Education Policy Program is closely tracking how school closures are impacting students and their families around the country. We have written about online learning in the wake of COVID-19, the struggles of childcare providers and early educators, the implications for incarcerated students, and more.
Over 4.8 million English learners (ELs) have been impacted by school closures. ELs have unique learning needs and require specialized services to support their language development. As school districts across the country continue to develop strategies for how to best meet the needs of ELs, we have compiled a list of digital resources to help supplement learning at home.
We will update this list as we learn about new resources. Please feel free to reach out to us with recommendations for additional resources to include.
- ABCya - ABCya features free games in reading and math that build on grade-level elementary education standards.
- BrainpopELL - Features movies, quizzes, games and activities for ELs of all ages to support their language development.
- Dual Language Online Learning - Educators from around the country and world are sharing resources and ideas on Facebook to support parents and educators of English learners.
- Colorín Colorado - This site offers considerations for schools in how to meet the needs of EL and immigrant students and a variety of resources related to COVID-19.
- Cox Campus - Hablemos, leamos y juguemos para aprender on Cox Campus provides Spanish-speaking families and preschoolers with at-home learning experience including short videos of welcoming songs, storybook read-alouds, and activities.
- Early Edge California - Offers information, activities and resources to support young dual language learners.
- Eight excellent digital resources for English language learners- This blog from Education Forward includes a list of recommended sites, as well as practical tips to engage English learners’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills through virtual learning.
- EnglishMediaLab - This site features free quizzes, games, and exercises to practice vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
- English Resources - The New York Public Library has compiled a list of free videos, social networking sites, dictionaries, and sites to practice grammar, listening, and pronunciation.
- Ellevation Education - Provides activities for teachers to engage with their ELs through distance learning. In addition, Ellevation's podcast Highest Aspirations features several discussions related to distance learning during this time of school closures.
- Epic - Online books in English and Spanish. Access is free for teachers.
- ESL At Home - Provides activities for students from K-12 in a variety of languages including Arabic, Spanish, Somali, Urdu, Vietnamese and more. The activities were developed and translated by teachers.
- ESL Bits - Intermediate and advanced English learners may enjoy selecting from the provided list of audiobooks, novellas, and short stories in ESL Bits. Corresponding texts are included so learners may read along.
- ESL Video - English learners can watch videos about current events, history, and popular culture to answer comprehension questions.
- FreeRice - Sponsored by the World Food Programme, this site allows students to practice vocabulary by matching words with their meaning or synonym. For each correct answer, the nonprofit donates one grain of rice to those in need.
- International Children’s Digital Library - A collection of fiction and nonfiction books for children from pre-K through fifth grade, this site includes digital texts in over 50 languages.
- Larry Ferlazzo’s Q&A Blog in Education Week - Teachers share how they are supporting EL students and their families, including instructional resources and ideas for communicating with families
- LearnEnglishKids - On this British Council site, young English learners can practice reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills through a variety of games, videos, and printable activities.
- Listenwise - On this site, intermediate and advanced English learners can listen to short podcasts focusing on current events, language arts, science, or social studies, and test their comprehension by answering a series of questions at the end of each podcast.
- Make Connections: You and Me and Math - Provides curriculum and activities (in English and Spanish) to support young children’s math development.
- National Geographic - Background knowledge and vocabulary are essential for English learners’ comprehension. National Geographic offers daily live and recorded webcasts that allow students to take virtual field trips and a curated collection of activities for children from pre-K through twelfth grade to build their STEM knowledge both on and offline.
- OverDrive - Students can access ebooks and audiobooks for free using their school or local library login information.
- Perfect Pronunciation - This Merriam-Webster site teaches syllable stress, homonyms, and rhymes.
- PBS SoCal - Parents can access videos in English and Spanish that feature STEM activities they can do at home.
- Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab - This site bolsters listening and comprehension. Students listen to a short audio sample and answer comprehension questions.
- Reading A to Z - Offers leveled readers in Spanish, French, Polish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, English and is providing teachers with free access for the rest of the school year.
- Reading Conferences - This EdWeek blog explains how to hold reading conferences with students, which educators can now attend to virtually.
- Renton School District in Washington State - The district’s website includes a list of activities for English Learners. In addition, it offers activity ideas for parents of elementary students in English, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Ukranian and Vietnamese.
- ShareMyLesson - Teachers have shared hundreds of lessons, assessments, and digital tools for English learners from pre-K through twelfth grade and their families. Activities are also available for world languages including Spanish, German, and French.
- SEAL- This blog post outlines six considerations for supporting EL students through distance learning.
- Starfall - Starfall features early literacy and math activities and activities and includes a Talking Library with interactive storybooks.
- Storyline Online - Popular actors read picture books aloud in this collection of videos, ideal for children in the early elementary grades. Each video includes a teacher’s guide with a recommended literacy activity and at least one additional math, science, social studies, or art activity that enhances engagement with the story.
- TedEd - TedEd offers informative videos on a range of topics for learners from elementary through high school. Students can answer the multiple choice and open ended questions provided with each video to extend their learning, or teachers can design lessons that better meet their English learners’ needs using TedEd’s customizable lesson template.
- Ten Strategies for Teaching English-Language Learners Online - Four educators, who teach students in elementary through high school, offer practical suggestions for teaching English Learners remotely. Recommendations include frequent communication, repetition of content, and a list of “Tech Tools” one teacher is continuously adding to.
- The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read Alouds & Activities - Children’s authors read their popular stories aloud through pre-recorded and live videos. Several authors also provide teaching guides for parents and educators.
- Write & Improve - Learners can write responses to suggested prompts and receive immediate, auto-generated feedback on their writing. Students may select topics with which they have interest or familiarity, and choose whether to answer prompts at a beginning, intermediate, or advanced level.
- Zenomath - Offers at-home math play resources to families with preschool-aged children in 10 different languages.
This post was updated on October 23, 2020.
Interested in staying up to date on English learner policy and education? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest from our experts.