It’s no big secret that English vocabulary is essential to your students’ success, not only when it comes to doing well on tests, but also if they wish to improve their overall English fluency.
First, you need to teach vocabulary like a pro. Then, you need to review the words they’ve learned, preferably through some fun games. But it doesn’t stop there. To really acquire new vocabulary, students must constantly practice and use new words. With these 8 vocabulary learning resources, your students will have the extra practice and review they need. Try some of these online activities in class to review for a test or instruct students on how to review vocabulary when they’re on their own.
8 Killer Online Resources for ESL Vocabulary Review
It’s no exaggeration. This is one dynamite online resource for advanced vocabulary review. Powered by Dictionary.com, WordDynamo offers lots of different ways in which students can practice and review vocabulary, from matching games to crossword puzzles and flashcards. The site is not specifically tailored to ESL students, so most of the vocabulary may be too advanced, but I always recommend this resource to students who are planning to take the TOEFL as there are exercises that are specifically targeted to this group. For your less advanced ESL students, I’d recommend checking out the Elementary School level lists - they may offer just the right amount of challenge to beginner/intermediate ESL students.
Spin&Spell is a fantastic online resource for young ESL learners. The app gives you five categories to choose from: clothes, food, transportation, animals or home vocabulary. Once students have chosen a category, they will find lots of words to review. They can choose to spell each word by themselves by clicking on the appropriate letter in the spinning wheel, or they can choose to see how each word is spelled. In the classroom, you can set up teams to challenge each other for points.
LearningChocolate is an online vocabulary platform that provides great practice for students of all ages. Though the images are not that great in some cases, it still gets the job done. Students have a variety of matching exercises to complete, and may even listen to and write each word. There’s also a nifty little dictation exercise! Wonderful for self-study!
MyVocabulary is another site that is not specifically tailored to ESL students, but offers some interesting vocabulary lists and activities. If you go to Themed Puzzles section, you’ll find vocabulary activities for all of major holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving and more.
Vocabulary.com is an invaluable source of vocabulary for advanced learners, particularly adult learners who have reached a language plateau they can’t seem to get out of. Under Vocabulary Lists they have words that relate specifically to today’s news and current events. A great complement if you wish to discuss current events with students.
In their Vocabulary Games section, EnglishMediaLab provides dozens of lists and activities to choose from. There are memory games with or without audio, video lessons, interactive quizzes and online games that are great for beginners in particular. Now of particular interest to more advanced students is the Idioms section, where students will not only see the definition of each idiom but also read it and hear it being used. Finally, there are links to online games designed for the classroom, with classics that any ESL teacher will enjoy playing with their class, like Jeopardy.
ESLGamesWorld offers interactive classroom games that your students will absolutely love. There are games to practice grammar and sentence structure, as well as great vocabulary games featuring classics like Snakes and Ladders, but also picture labeling games and listening games, as well as an assortment of other types of games. There are also fantastic Vocabulary Quizzes on a wide range of topics, including phrasal verbs.
You’d be surprised at how many free online resources Cambridge offers for ESL learners to practice vocabulary. Although these resources are designed to accompany some of the books published by Cambridge University Press, they can be used for vocabulary review, whether you are using these books in particular or not. For instance, if you’re teaching students who will be sitting for the PET, Cambridge offers a Vocabulary Trainer through which they can review all of the PET vocabulary they’ll need. Although it’s meant as a complement to their Objective PET book, any student taking the test will benefit from this practice. The same happens with the First Certificate. There’s a Vocabulary Trainer for FCE any student can use.
Everything you do in class to review vocabulary with students goes a long way towards helping them improve their English skills.
But don’t forget to give them enough resources so that they can continue working on their own at home.
Do you have any other great online vocabulary websites/resources to add to the list?