What are the Best ESL Websites for Students and English Language Learners?

Written By Sally Forsyth

Often times, ESL learners need ways to have extra support to learn English. Fortunately for international students, there are endless amounts of resources on free ESL websites to help them improve their language learning skills while they are studying in the US. However, this can sometimes be overwhelming for them as there are so many options out there. It is difficult to know which sites will be the best for helping students to work on their English progress independently.

So, I have made a list of a few ESL websites I have found useful and enjoyed using in my lessons and recommending them to my students. I hope you will find them useful, too!


This great ESL learning website is divided into four sections: grammar, picture dictionary, reading, and pronunciation. It offers three different levels depending on student ability. Some of the highlights of this website are:

  • The pronunciation section focuses on more complex sounds in English.
  • It has a special section for practicing pronouncing verbs.
  • There are loads of different grammar lessons with quizzes for different learning levels.
  • The reading section has handy conversation prompts, or these could be used for reading comprehension. There are also useful quizzes, and students can listen to the readings as well.
  • The picture dictionary uses images to improve vocabulary, so as to check your spelling, and also check pronunciation by clicking on the image to hear it being read.

BBC Learning English

This a really fantastic resource which is very accessible for students. It has a wide variety of materials and resources for all levels of language learners. The material offered is very appealing and student-friendly, with a combination of media such as videos, podcasts, quizzes and written text.

For example, The Grammar Gameshow offers cool videos accompanied by quizzes to test different aspects of grammar like modal verbs and adverbs of frequency. The News-Review section also uses videos to discuss current events in the news and uses these as reading comprehension exercises. For each video, a list of key words and idioms is given. Each video is also summarized briefly, and there is a quiz for students to test their knowledge on the language used.

The 6 minute English section offers videos with discussion topics on issues which are trending and current. As well as questions and vocabulary exercises, there is also a transcript of each video which students can read simultaneously if they wish. Again, the topics chosen are very relevant and engaging for students, and offered at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.

The Lingohack section is brilliant! Each section focuses on a different group of vocabulary words linked to a topic or theme which is used in the different episodes available. A great way to learn new vocabulary!

This is a website full of all kinds of resources and activities, some of which are downloadable as well.  Highly recommended!


Another great website is ESOL courses, which offers free lessons on a variety of topics, such as vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing. Two sections I particularly like are the lessons based on songs, and the lessons focusing on life in the USA.

The songs section is really an inspiring concept. Students pick a song from the list to listen to, and then they have to complete various exercises or quizzes, such as a gap filler exercise or comprehension questions. This is a really fun way for students to learn new vocabulary and improve their comprehension and listen to music, all at the same time!

The section called Life in the USA  is absolutely full of loads of amazing resources! It has lessons on American history and current events, as well as lessons on American holidays throughout the year There are enough lessons here probably to last you for many months to come. Students can do these easily at home and follow the instructions to complete the different activities. Great for improving reading comprehension!


Grammarly is a great tool for ESL students, allowing them to proofread their work for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and even the correct spacing. It is very easy to use and you can either add the Grammarly extension to your browser or upload a document to the Grammarly site to check your writing and assignments.

If you are looking for websites that give you an overview of grammar in English or offer a more technical approach, then these two sites may be for you. Both Englishgrammarsecrets and Wyzant have a variety of resources on all aspects of grammar rules and how to apply those rules when you are conversing and writing in English. Topics such as the passive voice, irregular verbs and parts of speech are covered with additional exercises to practice. Each topic is listed in the sidebar, making it easy to find exactly what you are looking for when you visit the site.


Ello is an interesting ESL website which has over 2000 free ESL lessons both in audio and video formats. Ello has many contributors from all over the world, who are frequently language learners themselves, adding their resources to the lessons library. It definitely has an international focus, and also offers resources for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. It is very student friendly in its layout and features, and easy to navigate, to find the specific topic or area on which you want to focus.

Finally, if you are particularly keen on websites which will help you improve your pronunciation, you may find spoken skills useful. It offers free self-practice activities for students to develop their pronunciation skills. It also has loads of self-study listening quizzes and additional quizzes for specific tests, such as the TOEFL.

I recommend taking some time to check out these websites and see which ones are the best fit for the international students in your class. The great thing is that your students can work on them independently at home or in the classroom, in pairs or in small groups.  Don't miss out on these valuable resources!​

Once you start teaching this graphic novel you will find there are loads of different activities you can do with your students which will help them engage with the drama and understanding why Shakespeare's plays are still appealing even after 400 years


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About the author

Sally Forsyth is a High school English teacher and an educational coach. She has worked in national and internatonal schools in different countries and different school systems, She is also the founder of CoachMyFuture, a coaching organization focusing on coaching teachers and educators in the educational sector.

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