Back in February, I wrote a post about using a site called News in Levels to help students improve their listening and, to a lesser extent, their reading. That site is really just one of the many sites out there that uses current news events as a starting point for learning. Today, I want to share two more similar sites with you.
Voice of America: Learning English
Voice of America has a site specifically designed for learning English. Like News in Levels, the site has levels, but not every news story has video or audio. If you want students to practice reading, you can use an article with no audio or video content, or choose an article that has one of those available so that students can focus more on their listening skills.
This material would be great for use in class or at home. Consider creating a daily or weekly reading or listening journal assignment where students either write or record themselves speaking about what they have read or heard. In addition to all this, the site has some features that students may enjoy using for independent learning, such as the TALK2US program, which covers a wide array of topics such as common English mistakes and how to introduce yourself.
TIME for Kids
Another site that I like is TIME for Kids. Despite having the word “kids” in the title, the news articles on the site have worked well for me with students of all ages. Because they are written for a younger native-English speaking audience, the pieces are shorter and simpler than those found on other news sites, but still authentic. TIME for Kids definitely has a focus on reading, and luckily there is enough material for students to find topics they are interested in. Additionally, there is a section for teachers with free downloadable materials sorted by topic and then grade level. Don’t rule anything out just because of the grade level; low level adults could still benefit from activities designed for second grade. What you choose to use will depend a lot on your students and how they learn rather than on grade-level designations.
Take some time to explore these two sites. There is a lot of material available on them and everything is free. Along with News in Levels and TED Talks, you should now have tons of resources to pull from when looking for authentic material on various news and current affairs topics for students to read or listen to at any level.
Do you have other sites to add to this list?
Thanks for these great links, Tara. I’m especially intrigued by the Time for Kids website. But I couldn’t find the link you mentioned for teachers on that site. Am I overlooking something?
Anytime, Alexandra! I’m glad you like them. If you go to Time for Kids and click ‘News’, you just click ‘For Teachers’ in the menu bar along the left side of the page. Thank you for asking about that. I should have included that in the original post.