ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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ESL News Sites

One way to bring global issues into an ESL class is through the use of news and current events. Below, I’ve collected some free, regularly updated sites that offer news in varying degrees of simplified English. Some also offer supplemental activities, including listening exercises, discussion questions and grammar practice.

Breaking News English – A wonderful site which offers articles and supporting activities as .docs, .pdfs and .mp3s. Activities include warm-up discussions, vocabulary matching, and cloze passages, just to name a few. New articles are posted every few days, and there is a huge archive available. The only problem with this site is that the articles may be a bit difficult for lower level learners. It is a great resource!

BBC Learning English: News English – This is another good site with extensive archives. The articles are a bit shorter than those at Breaking News English, and while there are not many supporting activities, they do offer audio recordings and vocabulary lists.

Voice of America: Special English – This site offers MP3s and transcripts of Voice of America radio shows in special English. Special English is based on a core vocabulary of 1500 words. As a government funded institution, the VOA has a certain editorial bias to it, but I have known many students who use it regularly. I have not used it myself, though.

Simple English News – Features headlines and very short (less than 100 words) articles. Learners can also listen to the articles being read. The articles are read slowly, but the intonation is somewhat stilted.


11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fredrick // May 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    I have been using this for my upper intermediate classes in Japan. Students like the stories. News stories spoken at regular speed and slowly. It appears to be updated regularly.

  • 2 altinbek // Apr 19, 2015 at 4:14 am

    hi thank you for this useful information because I want to learn english so every day I read little news but are never completely useful but those site have a lessens and other necessary skills for me

  • 3 Carolyn Flores // Jun 16, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Thank you for sharing! If you would like more sites to add to your list, feel free to browse It’s full of over 100 recommended ESL links categorized into skills, themes, and other suggested teaching ideas in the classroom and one on one! There’s also a page on ESL News Sites too! Hope to see you over there!

  • 4 Jorj // Aug 4, 2015 at 5:07 am

    Thanks Carolyn for sharing a good site. Indeed is a good resource for teaching ESL. Now, I’m teaching in an international hospital in Thailand and it’s a challenging job. I’ll be teaching all sorts of professionals from clinical to non clinical staff. For months I have been looking for strategies and techniques to make it suitable for everyone. Anyone who has experience teaching in a hospital or medical setting? How did you manage?

  • 5 Xenobio // Sep 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    Bookmarking, thank you. I’ve just started teaching in a volunteer-run programme and they’ve put me with the upper intermediate students – before I was working with illiterate students, so I need more content-rich stuff now.

  • 6 Leon Travers // Nov 4, 2015 at 12:32 am

    I would like to offer a link to my website, , updated regularly with both full ESL lesson plans and ESL conversation taken from topics in the news. Hope you find it useful.

  • 7 Carolyn Flores // Nov 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Great site Leon! Thank you for all the great ideas…..can’t wait to do some of them with my students.

    I just posted a link to your site from my blog here:
    You can find it under Conversation.

    I am a HUGE fan of getting students talking around current news and events….keeps it interesting and lively too!

  • 8 Eva Baisan // Jun 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Hello, I’ve just begun an English news website for ESL students which puts each article into three levels and has keywords and sound for each level. If you’d like to take a look you can find it here:

  • 9 Teacher // Jan 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Agreed. Let’s use more news in the classroom!

  • 10 Pantoufle // Jan 11, 2017 at 7:44 am

    I highly recommend The Times in Plain English.
    Free, excellent website for simple, current articles.

  • 11 Patti // Sep 27, 2021 at 5:05 am News and current affairs articles in graded English, with audios and interactive worksheets

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