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ESL Skill Areas: Vocabulary, Reading, and Cloze

Beginning readers

Larry Ferlazzo's Best Websites To Help Beginning Readers (visited in January 2008)


Tom Cobb's Compleat Lexical Tutor at, reviewed by Marty Sevier at (seen Jan 13, 2008)

Marti Sevier at Simon Fraser University has a site with lots of links to many vocabulary resources, being updated after TESOL Long Beach, 2004: (seen Nov 8, 2005)

John Paul Loucky keeps a a Virtual Encyclopedia of Language Learning Links and Web Dictionaries at (for many languages). (seen Nov 8, 2005)

Voycabulary: Here's a site that allows you to enter a url or a text, and all the words at that url or in the text become hot-linked to a dictionary or thesaurus:

WordNet - A Lexical Database for English, is at WordNet is an on-line lexical database for computers that is organized semantically rather than alphabetically (like a thesaurus). You can download WordNet via FTP or access it online here:

Tom Robb keeps a list of materials he uses for lower-level reading classes at this URL:

Quizlet - Give it word lists and it generates exercises that can be done in collaboration with other learners. Mentioned at the TESOL 2007 (Seattle) CALL-IS Academic Session on Myths in CALL Research, which should be linked from Maybe this one should go under authoring?


See the stacks at the Virtual Learning Resource Center: - as described in:
Stevens, Vance. (2003). A Virtual Learning Resource Center. TESL-EJ 7, 3 (On the Internet).

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

Seen on TESLCA-L, Feb 22, 2006, a posting about "the remarkable work of Brian Rhodes' "Takako's Great Adventure" at: - Brian has had that novel for several years now, starting long before the present PodCast boom, enabling visitors to download his MP3 recordings and to read the Takako novel online--scrolling the text while listening and even looking up hard words."

Da Kine Chickenskin

The Moonlit Road - - "Ghost stories and strange folktales of the American South, told by the region's most celebrated storytellers." - "has a number of features that makes it good for learners of English." - Mark Sellers, May 26, 1999,

The Case, -- "This site is dedicated to mystery lovers. One neat thing about it is that you can sign up to have short little mysteries sent to your e-mail account each week. Each one is a situational puzzle with clues and a small number of questions that cause you to search the little story for the clues (reason for reading)." - Mark Sellers, May 5, 1999, Mark imbeds the readings in HTML files and posts them on his Geocities website where they then have a url that students can access through Voycabulary.

There are more mysteries under that category at the Tower of English:


Sample eZines from around the world as of late 2003 can be seen at, as part of a Petroleum Institute eZine at


On-line news appropriate for weak intermediate students:, according to Michael Marzio, teslca-l, 02 Jun 1999

English Outlook is available through the EdUSA site at Charles Kelly, in a teslca-l posting, June 2, 1999, points out "For those on slower connections, the direct URL to "English Outlook" is. which is a frame, so you may prefer to jump directly to... which gives you the faster-to-load index of what is available"

Chad T Green reports on TESLCA-L, on "a particularly effective sight for ESL reading consisting of edited CNN news stories. It's at: They provide the text from a CNN broadcast, a simplified version thereof, as well as an outline and an audio file. If you thought that was enough, they also have six exercises that go along with each story: Vocabulary, Select a Word, Multiple Choice, Sequencing, Conclusions, and Show and Tell. I've yet to see a more impressive site.


"A working group interested in the Extensive Reading Approach has developed a web site dedicated to exploring all aspects of ER. It contains a large annotated bibliography of works on ER, information on how to start your own ER program, information on resources for ER such as graded readers, and even an interactive chat page for your questions and advice." -

John McVicker has a "Reading Resources for English Language Learners" at

Here's a "web site for people who are looking for short reading exercises. It's called "" It works something like a search engine. For example, type in I want to learn how to iron shirts.You'll get a short explanation of how to do it. Cool! - Peter Nichols, 24 Oct 1999,

Jon Fernquest posts to Neteach: The site contains a series of reading lessons each of which has one large frame on the top with a reading text and two small frames on the bottom to display comprehension questions and answers or to display the definitions of words in the text that the reader doesn't understand. (not on this server March 6, 2000 - anyone know where?)

There are reading exercises at Lessons are free as of March 1999 but a subscription fee is being considered.

RETA - Reading Excellence Through the Arts A Special Interest Group of the International Reading:

McGraw-Hill and Primis Custom Publishing allow you to select or delete from any McGraw Hill text in its digital database and produce a customized text to which you can add your own content, exercises, or artwork. More info at

"The state of California has produced "S.C.O.R.E. Cyberguides: Teacher Guides & Student Activities" which are "web-delivered units of instruction centered on core works of literature." The units have students using the same kinds of visuals, search mechanisms, etc., that you find on CD-Roms that deal with literary works. (SCORE stands for Schools of California Resources for Education.) The contents of the one on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" would serve as an excellent model for doing any of Shakespeare's plays. The address is: < >" Gloria Sampson, 16 Nov 1999, neteach-l

She's on a roll: I have just found another great site. "Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet" provides an annotated set of links to sites that deal with teaching Shakespeare electronically. The home page is: <>. Just click on "Educational" in the frame on the left and you get to a three-page list of how-to-teach sites." Gloria Sampson, 17 Nov 1999, neteach-l


From a posting to, June 5, 1999, by Mark Sellers

This site seems to load more slowly that I would like but its stories are flavored with interesting and appropriate pictures. They could be printed out for use in class. To date this site has 8 fables. There are no accompanying learning exercises

Online Collection - Selected Fables: (This main page has much more than Aesop)

Apparent mirror sites at the following:

Aesop's Fables

This site has about 20 per page and to date there are 4 pages. In most or all cases the moral is at the end of each fable. All the fables are short and perhaps the fact that so many are on one page might make them adaptable to CALL lab exercises or jigsaw reading, match the titles and morals with the fables, and so on.  

World Wide Forum

This site, which is essentially an on-line book, starts off with a main page that tells you more than you would need to know or WANT to know about Aesop and his fables. Down the left side, in small, small, small print (get your reading glasses) are the fables page by page. There are usually about 10 to a page and it seems in many cases the moral is there as well. It seems there are 30 pages of fables. There are no exercises.  


To be developed ...


Here's a list of some recent data-based research on CALL Reading from Jerry Bicknell

Aust, R., Kelley, M. J., & Roby, W. (1993). The use of hyper-reference and conventional dictionaries. Educational Technology Research and Development, 41,(4), 63-73.

Chun, D. M. and Plass, J. L. (1996). Effects of Multimedia Annotations on Vocabulary Acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 80 , 183-198.

Lyman-Hager, M. A., Davis, J. N., Burnett, J., & Chennault, R. (1993). Une vie de Boy. Interactive reading in French. In F. L. Borchardt & E. M. T. Johnson (Eds.), Proceedings of the CALICO 1993 Annual Symposium on "Assessment," 93-97.

Meunier, L. (1996). Human factors in a computer assisted foreign language environment: The effects of gender, personality and keyboard control. CALICO Journal, 13,(2 & 3), 47-71.

Sciarone, A. G., and Meijer, P. J. (1993) How free should students be? A case from CALL: Computer-assisted languge learning. Computers & Education, 21,(1/2), 95-101.

The Reading Matrix Online Journal ISSN: 1533 242X

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Last updated: January 23, 2008 04:00 UTC

Copyright 2008 by Vance Stevens
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January 13, 2008

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