Top 50 Resources for ESL Teachers

Top 50 Resources for ESL Teachers

Are you graduating this year and moving abroad to teach English as a Second Language (ESL)? Have you been teaching ESL for years and need some new material? Are you just curious about what kind of ESL resources are available?

Regardless of your situation, this collection of ESL sites is certain to help you as you navigate the joys and challenges of teaching ESL. Use these resources in their original form or adapt them to develop lesson plans and activities appropriate for your students.

Comprehensive Sites

  • Activities for ESL Students, a project of the Internet TESL Journal, features interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises. Assign these exercises as homework or adapt them into activities for your classroom.
  • AutoEnglish features a number of different ESL resources including exams and video lessons. The printable worksheets are particularly useful for the busy ESL teacher.
  • BBC Learning English, sponsored by the British Broadcasting Corporation, features a number of useful activities and exercises for ESL learners.
  • Boggle’s World features a variety of resources such as flashcards, word searches, crosswords, and lesson plans. Don’t miss this comprehensive website.
  • Canada ESL Lesson Plans features a plethora of news articles, lesson plans, games, and activities. This website is a great one-stop-shop for ESL teachers.
  • Center for Independent Language Learning, developed by staff at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, features a number of resources for ESL learners. While some of the resources on this site are available only for HKPU students, there are many that are available for you to use and adapt for your classroom.
  • Dave’s ESL Café can be a bit overwhelming, but is worth perusing because it is loaded with activities, exercises, and lesson plans that ESL teachers around the world have used.
  • Discovery Education, sponsored by Discovery Communications, provides a number of lesson plans for varying age groups. Adapt the lessons to meet the needs of your ESL students.
  • English Daily is a comprehensive site that features conversation scripts and idiom descriptions.
  • Englishpage is the home of numerous activities focusing on skills such as vocabulary, verb tenses, and listening. Peruse this website to gain inspiration for your lesson plans.
  • Englishpond features idioms, vocabulary exercises, and more. Peruse the various skill sections to gain inspiration for your ESL classroom.
  • features hundreds of worksheets, activities, and resources. Assign interactive exercises as homework or adapt them for your classroom.
  • ESL Gold features a number of speaking, listening, reading, writing, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation activities. This site has hundreds of activities that will help you develop effective lesson plans.
  • ESL Monkeys features hundreds of lesson plans submitted by ESL teachers. Each lesson plan has detailed descriptions and is rated by other ESL teachers!
  • ESL Resource Center is a comprehensive site, complete with reading/listening activities, business English exercises, storytelling games, vocabulary activities, and much more. Created by and for English teachers, be sure not to miss this valuable resource.
  • Everything ESL features a variety of resources for K-12 ESL teachers. Make sure to explore the plethora of lesson plans available on this site.
  • Hopelink Eastside Literacy Lesson Plans features numerous lesson plans developed by literacy volunteers and staff. Example topics include describing symptoms, reporting emergencies, and customer complaints. Many lessons are complemented by printable handouts.
  • Interesting Things for ESL Students has a number of listening, grammar, speaking, vocabulary, and writing exercises and activities. Don’t miss this comprehensive resource!
  • Linguapress hosts a number of ESL activities and exercises. Crossword puzzles, grammar pages, and reading passages are just a few of the resources found on Linguapress!
  • One Stop English provides lesson plans, games, flashcards, and vocabulary exercises. Don’t miss the hundreds of resources available on this site.
  • The Internet TESL Journal features articles, lesson plans, discussion starters, games, handouts, and teaching ideas.
  • The University of Victoria Study Zone provides a number of tutorials and interactive exercises that ESL teachers can incorporate into their lesson plans.
  • USA Learns, funded by the US Department of Education, is designed to help adults who have recently arrived to America improve their English skills.
  • Using English features quizzes, handouts, reference lists, a grammar glossary, and lesson plans. Many of the resources are available in a printer-friendly format.

Listening Resources

  • Everyday English in Conversation provides your students with authentic listening opportunities through audio files.
  • Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab, created by a professional ESL teacher with years of experience, provides numerous listening activities for ESL students. Use the listening exercises in your class or assign them as homework.
  • Repeat After Us is a site that features a number of scripted recordings and transcriptions of English texts. Use it to develop listening exercises for your students.
  • Sounds of English provides a number of materials that will help your students gain better control of their English pronunciation and listening skills.

Reading and Writing Resources

  • Breaking News English provides articles about current events, as well as corresponding warm-up exercises; before, during, and after-reading activities; discussion questions; and vocabulary exercises.
  • CNN Stories offers abridged CNN news stories that help your students increase their reading comprehension. Each article has a number of corresponding exercises that focus on skills such as sequencing and word selection.
  • News For You features current news articles that target mid- to high-level English language learners. Develop lesson plans based on the articles, key vocabulary, and crossword puzzles.
  • Timed Reading, a website sponsored by publisher Houghton-Mifflin, features a number of reading passages with comprehension questions.

Grammar Resources

  • English Grammar from the English Club provides a number of grammar explanations and exercises. Don’t miss this helpful and comprehensive resource.
  • English Grammar Online features not only grammar tips, but vocabulary and writing explanations as well. An excellent resource for grammar and more!
  • English Learner Grammar Site provides a number of grammar exercises and tests. Explore this site and adapt materials for your ESL students.
  • Grammar Handouts, a site created by staff at North Seattle Community College, features a number of handouts that describe different grammar concepts. Examples are provided for each grammar concept.

Citizenship and Civics Resources

  • Bright Ideas Civic Curriculum features 16 different units, complete with detailed lesson plans, to use in your beginning ESL classroom. These units are designed for older adults who have recently moved to America, but can be adapted to any beginning-level group.
  • Civics Flash Cards, developed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, are designed for students who are studying for their US naturalization exam.
  • The Constitutional Rights Foundationhas developed a number of lesson plans that focus on current topics in American government. While not designed specifically for students studying for their naturalization exam, this site is full of rich material that will help your students gain a better understanding of American government.
  • EL Civics/Modules, developed by staff at the City College of San Francisco, are a number of helpful useful modules focusing on employment, emergencies, and education-related topics. Use these resources with ESL students who have recently arrived to America.
  • ESL Curriculum for Adults, sponsored by the Arlington Education and Employment Program, has a variety of lesson plans featuring topics such as making emergency phone calls, identifying healthy habits, searching for a job, and good work habits.
  • New Citizens Vote!, sponsored by the Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action, is a resource that hosts a number of valuable resources including lesson plans regarding voting, immigrant rights, and major events in US immigration history.


  • Dave’s ESL Café Idea Cookbook features hundreds of games, activities, and ideas from different ESL teachers around the world. Be sure not to miss this valuable resource!
  • Ernie’s Activity Page provides clear instructions for a number of fun games to use in your classroom.

Other Resources

  • Differences Between American and British English is a site you can use to introduce your students to some differences between American and British English.
  • ESL Pronunciation Pairs features examples of heteronyms (words with the same spelling but different pronunciation).
  • Hopelink Eastside Literacy Handouts, developed by literacy staff and volunteers, provide a number of thematic conversation guides. Available in printable form, use these handouts to stimulate conversation.
  • IdiomSite includes hundreds of English language idioms that you can incorporate into your ESL classroom.
  • Picture Stories, developed by staff from the Fairfax County Public Schools, feature health-related topics such as depression, visiting the doctor, and stress. Additional information and discussion questions will help you develop effective lesson plans.




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