Online Extensive Reading Opportunities for Lower-Level Learners of EFL/ESL

July 1999 — Volume 4, Number 1

Online Extensive Reading Opportunities for Lower-Level Learners of EFL/ESL

Guest Contributor: Ken Schmidt, Tohoku Gakuin University, Sendai Japan

Editor: Jim Duber, UC Berkeley


Contents

1) Introduction 2) Commercial/Institutional EFL/ESL Sites 3) Sites from Individual Educators

4) Learner Produced Materials 5) Keypal and Discussion Sites 6) Internet Training for EFL/ESL Students

7) Quiz Sites 8) Online Dictionaries 9) Link Sites 10) Conclusion 11) References


Introduction

The overwhelming variety of information available online represents a treasure trove of easily available, high interest input for the sufficiently advanced language learner and can be a valuable resource for an extensive reading program. However, the picture is not so rosy for elementary to intermediate level learners unable to quickly process and comprehend many unsimplified texts (Coady, 1997). Such texts may be suitable for intensive reading tasks or instruction and practice in particular reading strategies (e.g., scanning for specific information), but the high threshold of vocabulary, grammar, and background knowledge often required for comprehension can prevent rapid processing of large amounts of input–a fundamental characteristic of extensive reading and a requirement for building automaticity in word recognition (Paran, 1996) and developing more complete understanding of grammar and vocabulary through repeated comprehended meetings in a variety of contexts (Nation, 1997).

In this article, I highlight a number of free-access sites produced for and/or by language learners which can provide a useful supplement to an extensive reading program. These include online magazines (e-zines) and other collections of writings, as well as e-mail “keypal” sites and bulletin boards. Some sites combine all of these. Although varying in difficulty, content on these sites is made relatively accessible through 1) simple or simplified texts, and/or 2) immediately accessible support materials, such as glossaries.

The emphasis here is on interesting, content-based reading, but exercise- or language-centered pages may also be mentioned where I feel they constitute substantial reading opportunities and/or support reading of associated texts. If learners finds them interesting, even explanations of grammar and vocabulary can serve as acceptable sources of input. To aid efficient navigation, I point out key features of each site, with link names in italics. Estimates of difficulty are not objective and are meant only to give a rough idea of relative level. Some sites featuring audio or video require specific software (e.g., RealAudio), but typically provide links for downloading the needed files. I also discuss several dictionary resources and link sites which may be helpful. [-1-]


Commercial/Institutional EFL/ESL Sites

The following sites produced by businesses or institutions are generally attractive and easy to navigate. Most are updated regularly, offering reason to return again and again.They also have the advantage of being less likely to disappear than some individually managed sites whose owners may decide to move on to other projects or interests.

Bangkok Post–Educational Services <http://www.bangkokpost.net/education/> is an impressive site offering an ongoing, online reading course entitled Improving Your English with the Bangkok Post. The core of the course is found in Our Latest Columns, a set of five weekly reading lessons based on articles from the print daily. Each lesson offers a prereading section in relatively easy English with background information on the article and explanations of key information, vocabulary, and rhetorical structure. Readers can then move on to the unsimplified article with genuinely helpful sidebar glosses (i.e., definitions are simpler than the words they define, e.g., “disseminated: distributed, given out”). Vocabulary and/or comprehension exercises are often available. Recent columns and archives are easily accessible from a sidebar on the homepage, as are other key features, such as Reading Tips, Student Tips, and Build Your Vocabulary, with advice for learners on reading and learning strategies. The site is accessible to intermediate level students and offers an excellent “leg-up” toward reading unsimplified materials.

Bangkok Post Student Weekly <http://www.bangkokpost.net/neostudent/thisweek/index.html> is the online version of the print publication aimed at high school and college EFL learners. Four to six feature articles (This week’s links) appear each week (e.g., “Dinosaurs,” “Junk Food,” “Soup Kitchens”). Language is graded at a high elementary to intermediate level, and reading is supported by sidebar glosses. Definitions, however, may be no less difficult than the word being defined (e.g., “embarrassing: tending to make a person feel awkward or ashamed”). Content is centered on Thailand, but much is of general interest. An extensive archive includes School Features, General Features, and Entertainment categories. Other sections include the BPSW Pen Pals Page, Travel in Thailand, and BPSW Favorite Sites. [-2-]

Together, these two linked sites may be the best designed, most comprehensive effort I have seen aimed at giving maximal input, reading, and vocabulary work; a model for other publications.

BBC World Service–Learning English <http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/> is a rich site offering extensive reading and listening opportunities, along with language lessons and exercises to help learners interpret the material they read and hear. Most material seems aimed at intermediate to advanced learners and is especially rich in ESP content for business and science/technology. A few of the many links are summarized here.

  • Wordsin the News offers excerpts from recent news reports with explanations of key words and phrases.
  • Down to Earth focuses on environmental issues with helpful glossaries.
  • Everyday Science explains scientific concepts (e.g., how your television works) through stories, interviews and diagrams.
  • Learn It! offers advice and learner comments on learning/study strategies and exam skills.
  • Open for Business provides information on setting up small businesses and explains key terms. Its focus is on Africa, but much of the information would be applicable anywhere.
  • Compuspeak teaches computerese with quizzes for review.
  • Watch Your Language features accessible articles on English linguistics.

An added attraction of the site is that the homepage can be viewed in several languages. [-3-]

CNN Interactive Learning Resources <http://www.cnnsf.com/education/education.html> centers on periodically changing feature stories (e.g., “Asian Gangs”), which are outlined, shortened, and simplified. Learners can read the Outline and Edited Text (simplified), work with some of the corresponding Lessons, and with that support, try their hand at comprehending the original Full Text. Some articles offer audio narration and/or video clips. Learners can also share their own responses to stories in the Show and Tell section. Many archived stories and exercises are available through the More Stories link.

VOA Special English <http://www.voa.gov/special/> is a daily, half-hour, current news and issues radio broadcast from Voice of America. This show for learners of English features slower speaking speeds and a simplified vocabulary of about 1,500 words. Scripts for one or more of the daily feature programs are available through VOA’s gopher archive <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>. Click on NEB Newswire for UTC… for the desired day and scroll down to find listings beginning with “Special English.” The homepage lists broadcast times and offers a link to the simplified vocabulary list/glossary. The articles are interesting and can be especially attractive if learners listen to/record the matching radio broadcasts.

Soon Online Magazine <http://www.soon.org.uk/> is a rich site especially well-suited to elementary and intermediate learners interested in Christianity and spiritual things. It features numerous departments, including Easy English True Stories (accounts of God’s impact on individuals’ lives), Message from the Stars (inspirational messages from celebrities), Current Affairs (articles on current issues, e.g., “South Africa,” “Apologizing for the Crusades”), The Secret Room (a simplified, condensed version of Corrie ten Boom’s book,The Hiding Place), advice pages, short stories by learners, portions of the Bible in simple English, pages with information and links on a large number of countries, correspondence Bible study courses, and a Daily Wisdom column e-mailed out daily. [-4-]

English Town–Story Stage <http://www.englishtown.com/English/learningfair/story.asp> features a continuing story at a low intermediate level with new installments each month. Readers can access previous installments through a link at the end of the current installment, or write predictions about ones to come on the Story Stage Bulletin Board. Words and language points appearing in the story are explained in an accompanying English lesson accessed through In the Spotlight. English Town also provides the Culture Coaster bulletin board service, a penpal service, chat areas, other English lessons and games, and free e-mail subscriptions to daily English lessons and/or the monthly Story Stage installment. To ease access, the English Town Homepage <http://www.englishtown.com/> is viewable in a variety of languages.

English Outlook <http://www.edusainc.com/ezine/win99/win99.html>, from EdUSA, is a professional looking, magazine-format quarterly with sidebar links to articles (e.g., “English over the Internet,” “TOEFL Guru’s Tips to Beat the New TOEFL,” “Looking at the News”), most focusing on language learning. Archives are available. Writing is at an elementary to intermediate level.

The Writing Den <http://www2.actden.com/writ_den/> is an interesting, attractive site from ACT that could almost as well be called the “Reading & Writing Den.” Feature articles are presented in ascending word, sentence, and paragraph levels with quizzes for each level. The articles are at a high-intermediate level, but going through each level should build support for final reading at paragraph level. Graphics and side notes also provide helpful support. Numerous topics are available in areas such as Canada, nature, science, history, and life style. Audio narrations for all texts are available, as are other features such as the Word of the Day e-mail service and the Speakout section allowing readers to post their own thoughts on article topics. [-5-]

The Comenius Group <http://www.comenius.com/> offers two resources of interest to intermediate-level readers. TheWeekly Idiom <http://www.comenius.com/idiom/index.html> provides a new idiom every two weeks, along with a definition and an example dialog. Fluency Through Fables <http://www.comenius.com/fable/index.html> offers fables with associated, interactive exercises. A new fable is added every two months. After reading The Donkey and the Grasshopper, for example, readers can link to a completion exercise in which they use vocabulary from the story to fill in blanks in another story. All past idioms and fables are accessible, as are links for keypals and skills work. The homepage is available in a number of languages for easy initial access.

Impact Online <http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/Impact/> is an interactive news magazine for intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL students containing 17 articles. Categories include social issues, health and fitness, world news, and sports & entertainment. Highlighted words are linked by hypertext to an English-English glossary giving definitions and examples of use; audio is also available. Each article gives links to more information on the subject, as well as an English-Japanese dictionary link. The site doesn’t appear to have been changed in several years, and the stories are thus quite old. This is a shame, because this is a well executed site with real potential.

The following two sites are of interest mainly to Japanese learners of English.

Japan Times Shukan ST <http://www.japantimes.co.jp/shukan-st/> is an easy to use online companion to the print weekly for Japanese learners of English. Linking to Online articles yields an index containing three articles from each issue for the past seven months. The articles are written at a relatively high level, but adjacent frames contain a short introduction in Japanese and an extensive hypertext English-Japanese glossary. This minimizes the time needed to check vocabulary and for truly new words, and is probably a better start toward grasping meaning than an English-English glossary would be (Nation, 1998). The Listening Practice link offers one article each month. Sophisticators, an interesting vocabulary enrichment program, also provides a link (EV) to Everyday Vocabulary <http://www.japantimes.co.jp/shukan-st/ev/>, providing vocabulary lessons (mostly on idioms) with English examples in dialog and straight text form, along with Japanese explanations. [-6-]

Mainichi

Weekly <http://www.mainichi.co.jp/life/family/study/weekly/index.html> is another online complement to the print version of a weekly for Japanese learners of English. The “Essay” section features a new article each week, most by foreigners living in Japan, with an emphasis on introducing writers’ cultures and homelands, cultural differences, or observations on Japan. Text difficulty varies from author to author, but can be very accessible for upper elementary to intermediate learners. Audio narration and an English-Japanese glossary are available. The “Cinema” section offers script excerpts from current English movies with Japanese translations. “CD Review” provides information on recent releases, while “Happy Birthstone to you” describes the birthstones for each month, with explanations of associated legends and traditions. Both are supported by bilingual glossaries. Links to weekly horoscopes (“Astrology”) and current English news from the Mainichi Daily News are also provided, although neither offers glosses or simplified language.


Sites from Individual Educators

The following sites appear to be privately produced and maintained by individual educators. Each offers something of interest for many EFL/ESL readers. [-7-]

Daily Word Messages <http://www.namos.co.jp/clark/> offers intermediate level, daily readings for English learners by Dr. Clark Offner, a minister in Japan. He begins many messages by explaining a term or phrase in English and then discusses a related experience or thought he has had. Three weeks’ worth of messages are available. Some messages have a spiritual thrust, others simply ponder life or our daily experience. An audio link to an autobiographical sketch by Dr. Offner is available, as well as phone numbers for listening to narrations of all daily messages.

Learning Oral English <http://www.lang.uiuc.edu/r-li5/book/>, edited by Rong-Chang Li, features seven printed dialogs (e.g., Making Friends, Apartment Hunting, A Visit to the Advisor) for intermediate students with accompanying audio in AU format. Most include explanatory notes and interactive exercises on vocabulary and expressions.

ESL Two Cents’ Cafe <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/3941/>, from Tim Nall, is mainly aimed at teachers, but Dynamic Action Mazes offers the interactive, upper elementary to intermediate level reading games Word Warriors: The Blue Bear and The Ghost in the Museum. Readers follow a story and respond to questions, thus creating their own unique scenario as they try to bring the story to a successful finish. The interactivity and puzzle aspect of these interesting stories hold the reader’s attention.

Brian and Neko’s Home Page <http://myweb.mortimer.com/~neko/default.htm> features the ESL Haunted House with readings and activities on a Halloween theme, and the ESL Who Dunnit Detective Maze, in which readers attempt to unravel a mystery. [-8-]

Vancouver ESL & Tutoring <http://www.geocities.com/athens/olympus/9260/index.html>, by Paolo Rossetti, offers English activities, links for learners and visitors to British Columbia, and free English lessons by e-mail. Under ESL Students find: Trivia, a general knowledge trivia quiz, Proverbs, short proverbs with links to easy explanations in dialog format, and Culture Shock, “a cultural guide to living in Vancouver” written by ESL students.


Learner Produced Materials

Depending on learner level and the amount of editing done, learner produced materials vary considerably in writing quality. If this is not seen as an insurmountable obstacle, however, and readers are aware of potential inaccuracies, these materials offer a rich source of interesting input at very accessible levels. Some of these sites can have a very short shelf-life–possibly only till the next term begins. It might thus be best to start with link centers/clearinghouse sites, such as the E-Mail Projects Home Page or Internet Projects for Learners & Teachers of English listed below, which offer a wide variety of choices and are monitored for dead links.

E-Mail Projects Home Page <http://www.otan.dni.us/webfarm/emailproject/email.htm>, maintained by Susan Gaer, has links to a wealth of EFL/ESL student writing projects on a variety of topics, such as How to Feel Good Dealing With Stress, Folk Tales from Around the World, International Home Remedies, and Student Stories (e.g., family stories by immigrants to the U.S). Grammaticality varies, but most are highly interesting and offer a fascinating array of materials for upper elementary to intermediate learners to explore. [-9-]

Internet Projects for Learners & Teachers of English <http://www.wfi.fr/volterre/inetpro.html>. This subdirectory of Linda Thalman’s well-known “Volterre” site has an extensive annotated list of Internet projects from around the globe. Learners can easily access these to see what others are writing.

HUT Internet Writing Project <http://www.hut.fi/~rvilmi/Project/>, from Ruth Vilmi at Helsinki University, features a large number of short writings of variable quality by ESL/EFL students from around the world. Go straight to the International Writing Exchange <http://www.hut.fi/~rvilmi/Project/IWE/> and choose IWE Articles from any of the available periods (e.g., Spring 1999, Autumn 1998). Then link to topics of interest, e.g., taboos, disasters, bilingualism. Readers can also reply to writings on currently open topics. Culture Pages <http://www.hut.fi/~rvilmi/Project/Culture/> offers links to student writing on cultural matters. Also check Ruth’s Help Pages for an extensive list of links to help learners with various aspects of their English studies.

Exchange Magazine <http://deil.lang.uiuc.edu/exchange/> is a nicely designed e-zine by and for ESL/EFL learners. Sections include Cookbook, World Cultures, Stories, Pen Pals, and Class Projects. All material is student-written and, although varying in quality, is reviewed by editors for readability. Readers can post responses to the writings and/or submit their own stories or articles.

Silver International Student Newspaper <http://www.mbhs.edu/clubs/silverint/> is a tri-yearly publication for ESL/EFL learners. Produced by students at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, it contains a wide selection of well-edited articles about culture, school events, and life experiences. Although the content is aimed at a high school audience, many articles are appropriate for college students and adults. [-10-]

TOPICSOn line Magazine <http://www.rice.edu/projects/topics/Electronic/Magazine.html> from Sandy and Thomas Peters at Rice University is a forum where ESL/EFL learners anywhere can express their ideas and opinions and illustrate their writings with drawings and photographs. Highlights of the October-December ’97 issue include a hilarious group of How To Paragraphs on topics such as How to Annoy Your Teacher, How to be Fat, and How to Lose Your Girlfriend, as well as Arctic Experiences, an interesting article about a Japanese exchange student’s experience in the Canadian Northwest. Mistakes appear in many articles, but they are generally quite readable. Other features include Book Corner, where learners can submit book reviews and responses, and Language Corner with language lessons.

Real Reading <http://www.aec.ukans.edu/staff/cheacock/real_rdg/> offers book reviews by adult ESL students at the University of Kansas. The articles are generally well-written and, besides being input themselves, can point learners towards books likely to be readable and enjoyable. Reviews are categorized under headings such as History, Biography, Fiction, Science, Social Science, and Self-help. Readers anywhere can also submit their own reviews if their instructor has arranged this with the program coordinator.

Student Projects at Michigan State University <http://polyglot.cal.msu.edu/elc/stuproj/default.html> opens with a table containing project names and descriptions. Topics range from culture shock, to the environment, to personal pages (students offer autobiographical sketches). Language appears unedited, but is very readable. [-11-]

Kanji Names Project <http://www2.gol.com/users/billp/students/kanjiname/index.html> was produced by students of Bill Pellowe at Aso Foreign Language and Travel College in Fukuoka. Japanese students explain in English the meanings of the kanji characters in their names. Although the language is not error-free, the information is attractively presented and some of the students’ accounts of how they came by their names are quite interesting.


Keypal and Discussion Sites

There are a multitude of sites allowing learners of English to communicate with other learners and/or native speakers around the world. Three main formats exist:

  • Keypal connection sites usually allow individuals to post requests for keypals with descriptions of what kind of exchange they are looking for. Individuals are then free to respond to these requests through e-mail.
  • Discussion areas allow students to post messages to thematically organized bulletin boards. Others can then respond on the boards or privately through e-mail.
  • Live chat areas allow real-time communication between individuals.

These sites offer great potential, not only for reading, but for truly communicative exchange. Although the input will not always be grammatical, the highly motivating nature of such exchanges and the negotiation and adjustment for level that may take place between correspondents may yield considerable language learning (Ellis, 1997), as well as personal benefits. A few sites are summarized here. [-12-]

Dave’s ESL Cafe <http://www.eslcafe.com/> hosts the Student Email Connection, allowing visitors to answer requests for e-mail, and/or send in their own requests. Many individuals sign on each day.

The ESL Cafe Discussion Area <http://www.eslcafe.com/discussion/> and ESL Cafe Message Exchange <http://www.eslcafe.com/mx/> feature student-posted opinions and questions about various topics grouped with subsequent responses.

iT’s-online <http://its-online.com/>, a paid subscription e-zine, also offers a popular, free service for individuals seeking penpals of various ages and nationalities. Visitors can browse messages from recently registered penpals or Register as a Penpal and announce their own interest. iT’s-online’s talk area is also free and allows readers to post messages and respond privately or publicly.

Exchange Pen Pals <http://deil.lang.uiuc.edu/exchange/> allows learners to browse notes from prospective pen pals or use the search function to find pen pals from specific parts of the world with particular interests.

EFL Plaza Chat Room <http://members.tripod.com/~EFLPlaza/index.html> is a good looking site that gives learners an idea of what to expect in the chat environment and then guides them through the process of getting started. Required chat software is downloadable. [-13-]

Kitao Kenji’s Keypals Page <http://ilc2.doshisha.ac.jp/users/kkitao/online/www/keypal.htm> provides links to many keypal sites, including the ones above.


Internet Training for EFL/ESL Students

Another reading opportunity on the WWW are sites designed to help train learners of English in Internet use. Here are two.

Internet for International Communication <http://www.ibeam-net.com/bpellowe/> is an excellent, interactive site written in simple English by Bill Pellowe.Units one and three train students to navigate the WWW. Unit two trains them in sending e-mail. It’s a pilot university course, but can be used by anyone.

English Through The Internet <http://mofetsrv.mofet.macam98.ac.il/~elaine//eti/> is also course material made available to all. It makes heavy use of assignments and group work, however, and answers to many exercises are not provided online. It does, though, provide a wealth of intermediate level explanation of web-use strategies and resources.


Quiz Sites

Quizzes rarely offer coherent, extended text and are generally not a top choice for reading input. However, they can be very motivating, do provide some input, and are helpful for studying language points and testing general knowledge. Two of the richest sites are mentioned here. [-14-]

The Internet TESL Journal’s (ITESLJ) Self-Study Quizzes for ESL Students <http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/quizzes/> features over 500 interactive quizzes on themes such as holidays, reading, trivia, culture, sports, writing, and vocabulary. Pop-up buttons for each item provide immediate access to answers. The quizzes test knowledge, as well as providing reading practice at the sentence or short paragraph level.

ITESLJ – Activities for ESL Students <http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/s/> also has Crossword Puzzles, Interactive Javascript Quizzes, Internet Treasure Hunts, Esl Student Guides to the Internet, and Selected Links.

Dave’s ESL Cafe–ESL Quiz Center <http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/> allows the learner to take a variety of interactive quizzes on topics such as geography, grammar, history, idioms, reading comprehension, science, vocabulary, and world culture. The visitor answers questions on a form and clicks on “submit” to get a report. Except for the reading comprehension quiz, reading opportunities are limited to the sentence level.


Online Dictionaries

Numerous bilingual and English-English dictionaries are available on the web. Although overuse of dictionaries is often discouraged in the context of extensive reading, occasional use of a dictionary can be a tremendous help in quickly getting the idea of a new word–especially important if the item is necessary to basic understanding of the text (Scholfield, 1997). Also, if appropriate-level reading material is limited, dictionaries can help bring somewhat difficult texts into the range of comprehensibility. A useful technique is to keep a dictionary window open while browsing and reading in another window. Unknown words can then be quickly copied and pasted into the dictionary window for retrieval. [-15-]

Online dictionaries have their drawbacks, however. Japanese bilingual dictionaries, for example (e.g., Pacific Software Publishing’s Bi-Directional English Japanese Dictionary <http://205.163.136.51/EJEdic/>), may yield long, time consuming lists of words and phrases in no prioritized order. A problem with English-English dictionaries is that with no ESL/EFL learner dictionaries currently available on the web, definitions can, at times, be no less difficult than the target words themselves. Of the major English-English dictionaries available (WWWebster Dictionary <http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm>, The Newbury House On-line Dictionary <http://nhd.heinle.com/>, and The Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus <http://www.lightlink.com/bobp/wedt/>), the Newbury Dictionary features relatively easy definitions and simplicity of use.

A Web of Online Dictionaries <http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rbeard/diction.html>, from Robert Beard at Bucknell University, provides links to more than 800 dictionaries in 160 different languages, including those listed above.


Link Sites

The sites described above are far from an exhaustive list of useful reading opportunities for lower level learners, and new sites are constantly appearing. The sites below regularly update their links and should be helpful to students or instructors hoping to locate further accessible reading resources on the web. [-16-]

Dave’s Web Guide <http://www.eslcafe.com/search/index.html> has links to a huge variety of sites. It is thematically organized and searchable by keyword. In particular, try the Literature Guide <http://www.eslcafe.com/search/Literature/> with links to a variety of reading resources, some even simplified.

ITESL-J Selected Links for ESL Students <http://www.aitech.ac.jp/~iteslj/ESL.html> provides a thematically organized list of suggested links with a searchable database of further links.

VolTerre <http://www.wfi.fr/volterre/>, from Linda Thalman, supplies a host of annotated links for teachers and learners of English.

Linguistic Funland <http://www.linguistic-funland.com/tesl.html> is an excellent, searchable link site for students and teachers. The Linguistic Funland Ezine Directory <http://www.linguistic-funland.com/teslzine.html> offers a regularly updated list of e-zines appropriate for language learners.

Learning English on the Web–English as a Second Language Home Page <http://www.lang.uiuc.edu/r-li5/esl/index.html>, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, provides an annotated list of thematically grouped links, e.g., Listening and Speaking, Reading with Understanding, Grammar and Writing, Esl-Related Information, English Language Schools, and “Hot” ESL Sites. [-17-]

The Tower of English <http://members.tripod.com/~towerofenglish/index.htm> is an easy-to-navigate link site. The Study Hall section is particularly good for readers, with links to dictionaries, quiz sites, test information, study abroad information, grammar lessons, listening opportunities, and many magazine sites.

ESLOOP Sites Index <http://www.webring.org/cgi-bin/webring?index&ring=esloop> has links to the many important ESL/EFL sites which are members of the ESLoop. New sites are added regularly.


Conclusion

Accessible online reading opportunities produced for and/or by EFL/ESL learners can form a useful supplement to an extensive reading program for learners unable to efficiently process and comprehend many unsimplified texts. Some of these resources have been outlined here. Because instructional materials and exercises are major components of many these sites, instructors and learners must judge whether the interest and reading value of these training materials make them worthwhile in an extensive reading context. It can thus be expedient for instructors to point learners toward sections of a particular site likely to provide profitable reading experiences.

Other sources of reading material, unexplored here, but with great potential, are the the numerous content rich sites simplified for young, L1 speakers of English. Many of these, particularly those that do not obviously “speak down” to the reader, should be accessible and motivating for adult EFL/ESL students at intermediate levels. [-18-]

Finally, while taking advantage of whatever interesting, comprehensible material is available, instructors and learners should remain focused on the goal of gaining the proficiency needed to effectively read any material that interest suggests. Once the full range of online materials becomes available to learners, opportunities for motivating reading in specific areas of interest and career-related fields dramatically increase, as do the potential benefits for language learning and personal/career development.


References

Coady, J. (1997). L2 vocabulary acquisition through extensive reading. In J. Coady & T. Huckin (Eds.), Second language vocabulary acquisition: A rationale for pedagogy,(pp. 225-237). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ellis, R. (1997). Second language acquisition.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nation, P. (1997). The language learning benefits of extensive reading. The Language Teacher, 21(5), 13-16.

Nation, P. (1998). Designing speaking tasks to develop vocabulary. Presentation at JALT, Sendai, Japan.

Paran, A. (1996). Reading in EFL: Facts and fictions. ELT Journal, 50(1), 25-34.

Scholfield, P. (1997). Vocabulary reference works in foreign language learning. In N. Schmitt & M. McCarthy (Eds.), Vocabulary: Description, acquisition and pedagogy,(pp. 279-302). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Contents

1) Introduction 2) Commercial/Institutional EFL/ESL Sites 3) Sites from Individual Educators

4) Learner Produced Materials 5) Keypal and Discussion Sites 6) Internet Training for EFL/ESL Students

7) Quiz Sites 8) Online Dictionaries 9) Link Sites 10) Conclusion 11) References


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