Ideas to practice English at home

Good websites for young readers to practice at home:

http://www.starfall.com/
http://pbskids.org/
http://www.sesamestreet.org/
http://www.primarygames.com/reading.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/wordsandpictures/index.shtml
http://www.storyplace.org/storyplace.asp

Good websites for more experienced readers to practice at home:

Merriam Webster Dictionary
This website is much more than just a dictionary- it has vocabulary and visual literacy quizzes, and articles about words (for example the top ten words that come from "mother" for mother's day coming up).

Free online children's books at this website:
http://www.mainlesson.com/displaybooksbytitle.php

News articles- once you go to an article, you can change the text's level of difficulty to easier or harder to read.
http://www.newsela.com/

Cool websites for advanced ESL students:

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

TED used to stand for Technology, Entertainment, Design, but now the website has over 1000 inspirational talks from different people over almost any topic imaginable. You can search by subject, length or rating. Many videos have subtitles in other languages!

Here is one example of a poetry teacher performing a poem and talking about teaching poetry.



How Stuff Works

This website is run by the Discovery Channel. They have articles and videos about how different things work, different topics about science and engineering, unsolved mysteries in history and more. Here is one example about the origins of the ninja.



All subjects:

http://www.freerice.com/ - donate rice to Cambodia for every correct answer- you can change the subject from English vocabulary to math, science, art and more. The questions get harder and harder as you go.

Khan Academy. There are thousands of videos about almost every school subject imaginable. For example, during Grade 5, students learn about Impressionism- here is a beautiful video about Monet's Water Lillies.





Writing at home:

Writing at home should be fun and interesting. Students will write more and get better with practice if they enjoy it. One of the simplest ideas is to keep a journal- especially if something special happens. You can remind them of something exciting and say, “You want to remember that when you are older, right? Why don’t you write it in your journal?” They should also be encouraged to write stories and letters or pretend to write for a newspaper or magazine. If students bring me writing they did at home, I am happy to correct it or talk to them about it.
Here are some fun “What if” questions to start a journal entry:
What would happen if you could fly whenever you wanted?
What if all the streets were rivers?
What would happen if animals could talk?
What would happen if you could become invisible whenever you wanted to?
What would happen if you grew taller than trees?
What would happen if children ruled the world?
What would happen if there were no cars, buses, trains, boats, or planes? How would this change your life?
What would you do if you ordered an ice cream cone and you forgot to bring money?
You can find more of these here:
http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/prompts.html

Different activities:

Watching movies in English, making play dates with other students who don’t speak the same mother tongue and playing games like “20 Questions” in English are all great ways to improve.
You can also take a sentence that your child says and write it down (with correct English), cut out each word, mix them in an envelope and then have the student put it back together in order. This activity seems easy, but it can really help if students are using incorrect word order or need reading practice at a low level.
There are also many games online if you google “ESL games.”