Free Websites that Support Language Development and Literacy
Rosetta Stone-Level 1- Rosetta Stone is one of the world’s leading software for language learning. This resource is free and is available online if you have a Sacramento Public Library card. Teachers in our district can access free e-cards for their classroom through their local librarian. Students who have their own personal library card can access this program at home.
Starfall-This is a favorite site for many young children and their teachers! Students choose one of these categories: ABC’s, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read, and I’m Reading. Using exciting visuals, sounds, and text, students can learn their letters, sounds, and advance to reading simple stories. This site began in September of 2002 by the Polis-Schutz family. It’s a free public service to motivate children to read with phonics.
Storyline Online-Children can listen to famous actors read popular stories to them. Over twenty well-loved stories are available for students to choose from. Students see the text and illustrations while they listen to the story. This site is a program of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation.
PBS Kids-Young children can have lots of fun playing interactive games with their favorite PBS characters! Students choose a PBS show and then they can choose a variety of games that practice concepts such as literacy skills, science, social studies, citizenship, and technology. Teacher and parent resources are provided for each lesson. Some parent resources are translated into Spanish. This site is offered through the Public Broadcasting System.
Tween Tribune-This site provides engaging informational text at various reading levels. It also has text in Spanish.
USA Learns-This site supports vocabulary development and life skills and is appropriate for middle school students and above. Students can choose from beginning, early intermediate, and intermediate levels. Once you choose a level, you can view a video on a particular life-skill area such as housing, health, and work-related topics. After viewing the video, there are many interactive activities to practice the vocabulary and grammar concepts. It was conceived by the U.S. Department of Education.
1-language-This site offers a comprehensive set of ESL free resources. There are many vocabulary activities such as memory and match, hangman, and word searches for students to practice basic vocabulary. There are also ESL articles and links to other sites.
Picture Dictionary-This is a free online multilingual picture dictionary that includes English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Students can choose to see vocabulary by theme or by letter of the alphabet. Activities are provided to practice the vocabulary such as flashcards, word scrambles, and quizzes. It was created by pd-developers.
Dave’s ESL I-This well known site was one of the first ESL resource websites for teachers and students. Teachers can get information about job postings, teacher forums and ESL resources while students can choose lessons that practice a variety of grammar points, idioms and slang. Dave Sperling is the author of this site.
ManyThings-This is a study site for learners of English. Students can choose from a wide assortment of activities in reading, speaking, listening, and writing to practice English language skills. I was impressed with the podcast section and audio book section where students can listen to songs and stories while reading the text. The authors of this site are Charles Kelly and Lawrance Kelly.
Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab-This is a great site if you want to practice listening skills. You can pick a topic and listen to conversations. For example, if you choose the topic “airport” you will listen to an airport announcement and then there will be activities for you to practice vocabulary and comprehension skills. Randall Davis is the author of this site.
Websites with Fees
Lexia Core 5- This is an online foundational reading program that supports literacy in grades K-5. Research shows that students who have sufficient usage on this program can accelerate their reading and make two year’s growth in one year. The program is computer adaptive so students only move forward once concepts are mastered. The one-year license per student is $40.00. It is web based and can be accessed with a computer, iPad, or tablet. Licenses are transferable. The company is owned by Rosetta Stone.
Tumblebooks-This is an animated digital library with over 400 audio books (fiction and informational text) with various reading levels. The cost for a school site license that can be a “quick link” for easy access on your school’s website is approximately $500.00. Students can listen to a story at their reading level and see the words being highlighted. National geographic videos are available for informational text to support prior background knowledge. Short quizzes that support common core higher thinking skills are available after each story. This company is based in Toronto, Canada.