Online news site for English learners

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Finally, a post about teaching :)

I found a nice online news site this week, and have been trying it with some of my classes. I’m going to introduce the site’s functionality, my experience of using it, and then evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of using the site.

 Functionality

The News in Levels website features news stories written specially for learners of English. They have three or four versions of each story (from basic or easy to more challenging), along with a video. The stories are interesting and the various difficulty levels are useful.

My experience

I used the site with some junior high school and high school classes. After choosing a story, I had students read level one and answered their questions. They we read level two together. Finally we watched the video. It was a quick and successful lesson with several groups. The site also worked well with individual students.

Good and bad points

Good:

  • interesting stories
  • good presentation
  • texts and video
  • a large number of stories on the site
  • free

Bad:

  • many of the texts have mistakes/typos. Missing words, spelling mistakes, strange phrasing. It would be safest to check everything first, although this could also result in some teaching moments
  • the leveling isn’t always great. Sometimes the same sentences are used in two different levels
  • prominent advertising throughout the site

Overall

I liked this site very much. I think it has a lot of potential as long as teachers and learners are aware of the shortcomings. Could be a good resource to allow learners to move on to higher-level texts. Worth a look.

If you have any other good websites you can recommend, please leave a comment below :)

I used this site as a online homework exercise for my low level university students. They need to read more and we don’t have funding to build a library for extensive reading materials. I had them check their own level and then read and write a short summary in their own words. I know there are errors, but I think the short articles and a variety of topics makes it easy for students to find something that seems interesting. Also, the site is updated almost every day so students can always find something new.
I use quia to create homework assignments so they get immediate feedback.

Thanks for the comment! I agree this would be a great self-study resource for university students. I intend to introduce it to mine too :)

I’ll have a look for quia too as I am not familiar with it.

 

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