This is one of those websites that makes me grit my teeth; unfortunately for me, not all my students like the chaotic creativity that I do. For my exceedingly pragmatic class, I needed a straight-forward (read: positively medieval) reading site. I found one.
K12 Reader has all those things that no-nonsense people like: word lists, phonics, grammar, and rather unexciting reading passages with comprehension questions. Grade One focuses on phonics and letter blends; the other grades focus on scientific and math vocabulary (and get rather in-depth by Grade 4). The writing prompts are very clear, logical prompts that are used in the English classes in China: they’re also very good for oral speech prompts, to prepare for a GESE or the like.
If your students are looking for something basic, ordinary and straight-forward, this is the place to find it. The site would be excellent for beginner classes, students with certain learning disabilities, or those who just don’t want anything too way-out-there at such a late hour of the evening.
As the title suggests, this is really only applicable to teenagers — or wannabes. Once the students get to Level 4 or so, they’re inordinately interested in North American culture and what it’s like to be a teenager here. The music, the clothing, and the relative freedom are the big draws.
Teen Vogue is a fine place to start.
This would be easiest to use with a group of girly girls, but there are a few articles applicable to all of the students: try under the My Life section. There are also links to other interesting articles on the web. Here’s a small selection:
School Advice (choose an article that might interest the kids)
The Harlem Shake (why should they be deprived of ridiculous internet memes? 🙂 )
Seven New Books to Read (keep them up-to-date with our literary culture)
Volunteering (a relatively foreign concept to those who spend their days memorising and doing worksheets)
…and, yes, they’ll know most of the cover models.
For those of you who want more than The Mouth, the University of Iowa has a website that gives a little more. Their phonics site (here — click on “American English”) has a mouth and a video that go beside the phonetic symbols. If your internet is fast enough, the students should be able to see the video through our meeting site; if the internet is slow, you can send them the website and tell them what to click on so they can see the appropriate video.