ESL Teaching/Learning Resources


Resources for Writing  

Academic writing
Detecting Plagiarism
Graphic Organizers
Professional Writing (letters, resumes, email)
Online Writing Courses & Support
Mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, spelling) / Spelling/Synonyms

Grading Writing with Comments
Activities for Writing
Jarek Krajka's activities and resources Rita Zeinstejer's activities
  Using Online Discussions for Writing Student E-mail & Web Projects  

Resources for Writing

Academic Writing

The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) <> -- by Mark Davies

Purdue Online Writing Lab <> (OWL) -- special ESL section at; writing resources for ESL students and teachers; includes handouts with instructions and exercises for all areas of general and academic writing, including essays, grammar and mechanics, the writing process, and more

PaperStarter <> -- links to resources for writing essays, including topics and theses, different types of essay, organization, grammar & syntax, and plagiarism

Writer's Web <> -- from the U. of Richmond's Writing Center; includes the stages of the writing process and writing in the disciplines, e.g. sciences and social sciences, French

Charles Darling's Principles of Composition <> -- links to exercises, sample essays, explanations on The Writing Process, Structural Considerations, and Patterns of Composition

The ESOL Essayist: Writing the Five-Paragraph Essay <> -- a tutorial with explanations, examples, self-tests, peer review handouts, and assessment rubrics; includes Teacher Resources (handouts in Word) with examples of scaffolding activities

SUNY Geneseo's Online Writing Guide <> -- includes GENERAL ADVICE (What is Good Writing?, Audience & Purpose, Organization, Lucidity & Simplicity, Care & Imagination, Conventions of Writing), PROCESS (Composing, Writing Essay Exams), FORM (Formal & Informal, Grammar & Usage, Common Errors, Myths), REFERENCE (Research & Writing, Writing in a Discipline, Marking Key, Other Writing Sites)

Writer's Handbook  <>  (Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison) - Stages of the Writing Process (Getting Started, Drafting, Revising, Proofreading), Common Types of Writing Assignments (How to write literary analyses, lab reports, etc.), Grammar and Punctuation (How to avoid common mistakes),  Improving your Writing Style (How to write more clearly and persuasively), Citing References in Your Paper (APA, MLA, CBE, plagiarism, etc.)

Write My Paper <> -- See resources for Thesis writing and preparation, Research resources, and Statement of Purpose

Writing Help on Three Levels: Sentence, Paragraphs, and Essays  <> -- Good basic rules for intermediate to upper intermediate students

Adam Turner's writing resource web <> -- excellent guidelines for academic writing, letter writing, email format, TOEFL essay, resume writing, as well as grammar and citations

Web English Teacher <> -- Argument and Persuasive Writing, Autobiography, Biography, and Memoir Writing, Book Reports, Business Letters & Resumes, Creative Writing, Descriptive Writing, Expository Writing, Narrative Writing, Publishing Student Writing, Research and I-Search, Papers, Six Traits and 6+1 Traits Writing, Writing about Literature, Miscellaneous Writing Sites and Ideas

Elements of Style <> -- by William Strunk, Jr.

The ESL Study Hall <> (by Christine Meloni)-- includes WRITING (Punctuation quiz, Writer's Web--online writing handbook--Writing Help for academic/business/technical/fiction/grant/online writing)

Integrating Technology Across the Curriculum:  Internet/Computer Writing Resources <>

Detecting Plagiarism

10 Sites That Check For Plagiarism <> -- review of free/trial/pay sites that check for plagiarized passages

Graphic Organizers

Graphic Organizers provided by
Education Place <> <> <> -- General (topic-main points - supporting points), Cause-Effect, Storytelling, Misc.

Comparison/Contrast: Compare & Contrast--aspects; Compare & Contrast: Similarities & Differences; Compare/contrast



Cause & Effect (9)

Descriptive Concept Map

Problem-Solution: 1 problem > several solutions; problems > effects, causes > solutions

Expanded Venn Diagram  (similarities/differences/overlaps)

Time-Order Chart

Character & Story

Research Cycle Concept Map
Research Cycle Cluster Diagram

Additional graphic organizers can be found at

Professional Writing
(resumes, cover letters, email, business letters)

Tips, Tools, Resources <> -- Saint Michael's College's Careers & Internships Office: Writing a Resume; Resume Example; Writing a Cover Letter; Cover Letter Examples 

Adam Turner's writing resource web <> -- includes excellent guidelines for letter writing, email format

Writing <> -- If you work with adult business professionals interested in learning more about letter writing skills, visit this site and take them WRITE along with you.

How to Write Cover Letters <> -- instructions and samples

How to Write Better Emails: 6 Rules for Everyone <> -- what to do and what to avoid

Online Writing Courses & Support

GrammarCheck <> -- checks grammar, style, spelling, punctuation; explanations available (paid version)

Grammarly <> -- free checker for grammar, spelling, punctuation errors; app is loaded as an extension for web pages, Word documents, or Outlook email

Marking Mate <> -- checks for language and style

Mechanics (punctuation, spelling, capitalization, grammar) / Synonyms / Errors

Punctuation Rules <> <> -- includes the Oxford comma--Pros & Cons; The 12 Most Common Grammar Errors; 10 Essential Proofreading Tips; Check Your Text
Capitalization Rules <>
Rules for Writing Numbers <>
Confusing Words and Homonyms <>
Grammar Rules <>

The Wordsmyth English Dictionary-Thesaurus <>

Common Errors in English <>  -- in alphabetical order; accept/except*; ad/add; adapt/adopt*; adultry*; adverse/averse; advice/advise*; affect/effect*; etc.


Voice tools <> -- SpellingCity is an online spelling program to help improve spelling skills; contains over 30,000 spelling words, including plurals, contractions, future and past tenses; uses a REAL human voice that says both the word and the word in a sentence; teachers and parents can enter and save their own spelling lists for their students/children; students can play games with their words or any saved lists; teachers and parents can save and share their lists; the forum allows teachers and parents to share lists and ideas

WordQ & SpeakQ <> -- software tool used along with standard writing software. WordQ suggests words for you to use and provides spoken feedback to help you find mistakes. Users of all ages who have problems writing and editing, particularly those with learning disabilities (LD), can benefit from using WordQ.

Worksheet Library <>  --  some free, downloadable worksheets, searchable by subject, grade levels, standards; worksheet for writing, e.g. cursive; sign up for a weekly free worksheet by email

Grading Writing with Commentss

Using Google Keep for Grading Comments in Docs (Eric Curts) -- video (7:37 min.) at FreeTech4Teachers

Self-Editing Tools for Student Writing in Google Docs <> -- by ControlAltAchieve; includes speech-to-text (voice typing), text-to-speech, grammar checkers, thesaurus tools; goes beyond the basic Google doc; suggests several add-ons


Activities for Writing 
(see also Student E-mail and Web Projects below)

English Tools <> -- tools that can be used to make writing practice fun and more effective; examples: List Alphabetize, Turn Numbers into English Words, Text to Image, Convert Sentence Case, Convert Txt Files From Uppercase To Lowercase, and more 

The Story Starter <> -- The Story Starter randomly generates 3,028,936,680 story starters or prompts. It can be used for short stories, novels, plays, scripts, or just for fun.

PIZZAZ! Creative Writing and Storytelling Ideas <> -- People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling!

Electronic greetings -- select from the following to send virtual cards to friends and teachers: 123Greetings, American Greetings' free e-cards, Blue Mountain's free ecards, E-cards, some are animated!

CNN Interactive: Feedback <>

Learning English on the Web <> -- Online activities are broken down into listening and speaking, reading with understanding, and grammar and writing.  In addition there are some great links to other ESL/EFL sites

How Stuff Works <> -- This site has explanations for how all sorts of "stuff" works from the mundane to the exotic and provides simple (and often very interesting) resource information for descriptive/process writing (Michael Robb). <> -- A biography is the story of somebody's life.  At this site, you can find over 20,000 short biographies of famous people!  Just type the name of the person you're looking for into the search box at the top of the page. (Click on Features to play some interesting biography games.) PROJECT: After you read a few biographies, write a biography of your friend or classmate.  First, make a list of questions to ask.  For example, you might as where he/she was born, or what their childhood was like.  Or maybe you can ask about their family or an interesting hobby they have.  After you interview him/her, write down all your information into his/her life story.  

CRAYON: Create Your Own Newspaper <> -- students can construct a personalized electronic newspaper, creating an opportunity to read on a regular basis

Internet Movie Database <> -- If you like movies, you'll love this site.  The IMDB is the biggest movie web site and has lots of great information about movies, movie stars, movie characters, and lots more!   You can use the search box to find information.  Just type in the name of a movie, or actor, or character.  You can even find movies that have a special quote or plot. PROJECT:  Choose your favorite movie or actor.  Use the search box to find information.  Write a short report about the most interesting information.  Now tell your classmates about your movie or actor, but don't tell them the name.  Can they guess what movie or actor you're talking about?

Jarek-Krajka's-writing-activities-and-resources (from Using the Internet in ESL Writing Instruction The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 11 (November 2000).  The following quotations were taken from the article.

Suggested Activities for Developing Language Skills:

Rita-Zeinstejer's-suggested-writing-activities (posted to on Sept. 19, 2003; reprinted with permission)

The Death Clock <>  -- The famous Death Clock will tell you the exact day that you will die.  It will even count down the seconds for you!  Just enter your birthday and sex, and the Death Clock will give you the bad news.  Check out the Dead Letter Room to read some interesting email.  PROJECT:  Of course, this site is not very scientific. The computer just subtracts your age from the average life span of a man or woman.  It doesn't ask you about your health or your lifestyle. But, IF you really could know the exact day that you would die, would you want to know that information or not?  Why or why not?  IF you knew the exact day, would you live your life differently?  If so, how would it be different?  Write a short report or have a discussion in class.

Handwriting Resources  <>

Creating Digital Magazines / Newspapers

Tech&Learning, September 13, 2010
While creating digital magazines or newspapers can be done in a word processor, there are dedicated sites that elevate this art to a whole new level.

Top 10 sites for Creating Digital Magazines/Newspapers -- by David Kapuler

  1. Issuu  - One of the most popular and successful online digital magazine creators/publishers around, with a very nice user interface.

  2. Yudu  - Upload a document or PDF to create an online magazine that can be emailed our or embedded into a site.

  3. Fodey  - A fun site to create a newspaper and then download to print out or put on a blog or site.

  4. Zinepal  - A great way to bring the news to students by "clipping" online articles. This is a wonderful site for those making the move to ebook readers.

  5.   - A fantastic site to turn Twitter into an online readable magazine.

  6. Crayon - Create a professional-looking newspaper with this nice online creator. There are several options to choose from, so it has a bit of a higher learning curve.

Student E-Mail & Web Projects

Student Web Projects ("Shopping for Necessities near Saint Michael's College," "Area Restaurants Recommended by Saint Michael's College Students," and "The Most Interesting Shops in Downtown Burlington") created by Christine Bauer-Ramazani's Intensive English Program students in summer 2000 and February 2003.  Read my discussions of these projects: "Integrated Skills CALL Unit: Student Web Projects" on the students' web site.  The students used ALL of their skills to construct the information--speaking with NSs for the surveys and interviews they did, writing in different genres/formats--note-taking, email, description, letter, etc., lots of reading and proof-reading, and of course lots of listening to each other and to the NSs they interviewed!

Learning in Tandem <> -- Language learning in tandem partnerships

Using Online Discussions for Writing

Web-based discussion groups

Subscribe yourself to the following free web-based "course management tools" and try them out.  All of these offer discussion or message boards.  Several incorporate features that allow you to teach a whole class online, providing file-sharing, links-sharing, a calendar, voice chat, and more.  There are more free providers, but I've had the best experience with the ones below, in this order.

Englishforum <> -- Comprehensive web portal with a wealth of resources for students and teachers of English (ESL/EFL). Interactive Exercises, Message Boards, ELT Book Catalogue, Good School Guide, Web Directory, World News, Learning and Teaching Links, Cool Tools, and more ...

Back to Christine's Links to Useful TESL/CALL Web Sites
last updated: Aug. 18, 2021
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