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English Langauge Support - Websites for ELS students

Websites for ELS students

Basic CMYK Please Note: ELS does not endorce these sites.

General Sites:

The following are extensive sites for English language learners at all levels. Sites contain exercises on reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, idioms, slang, business English etc.

Listening & Speaking Sites

  • Online Self-Assessment
    Free online task-based Listening assessment based on the 12 Canadian Language Benchmarks. This test assesses English language Reading & Listening proficiency on a scale of 1~9 (i.e. Beginner~Advanced)
  • Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab
    Listening lab style workshops - requires media player (available free)
    Listening Quizzes at various levels of difficulty
    Listening Quizzes for Academic purposes
    TOEFL preparation
  • English-language Learning: Listening to Academic Lectures (Advanced level)
    This site has been designed to help you to improve your English-language listening skills, with particular attention to developing the skills you will need to succeed in an English-medium university.
    Government of Ontario site - ESL Corner offers vocabulary exercises, including idioms. Audio files are included within each exercise.
    Practice listening and speaking skills by singing along with the help of transcripts.

Presentation Skills

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Pronunciation Sites

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Grammar & Vocabulary Sites.

  • Perfect English Grammar
  • Grammar Bytes
  • Guide to Grammar and Writing
    This site is especially valuable for the online quizzes where students can practice correcting grammatical errors and improve their vocabulary.
  • Language Words
    Explanations about all important aspects of language, written with the difficulties of the ESL student in mind. Most students will know what a verb is, but they may not know the various features of the verb system that can cause difficulties for ESL students with different mother-tongues. Learn about such difficulties and see an explanation and some examples.
  • Grammar Girl
    Covers grammar rules and word choice guidelines.
    Site not aimed at ESL audience.
  • will help you to master the words that are essential to academic and business success.
  • Vocabulary Power
    Includes an online dictionary for immediate reference.
    Organized with descriptions for each category - focuses on everyday language.
  • Common Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words from Michigan State University. Students may come across words that are new or words that are familiar but used in ways that they have not encountered. This site is helpful as it alerts students to the meanings of word roots, prefixes and suffixes.
  • English Idioms & Slang

Reading & Writing Sites

  • Online Self-Assessment
    Free online task-based Reading assessment based on the 12 Canadian Language Benchmarks. This test assesses English language Reading & Listening proficiency on a scale of 1~9 (i.e. Beginner~Advanced)
    Using news stories from CNN based on various topics, exercises are provided on vocabulary, comprehension and conclusions.
  • Monash University
    These tutorials will help you improve your ability to write at university, no matter what your faculty or area of study. Choose from general tutorials or tutorials specific to your subject area. Site not aimed at ESL students.
  • University of Victoria English Language Centre Study Zone
    Exercises arranged by ability level
  • Purdue University Online Writing Lab
    Resources to help ESL students in second language writing, including resources on writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines. Also contains links to OWL workshops and exercises useful for ESL students.
  • Improve Your Writing, University of Bristol (Advanced)
  • - understand difficult English faster, and learn words in new ways from any English text. is free online software. There is nothing to buy or install. It works on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. The site shows no ads, does not require users to log in, and strongly filters web content, for a distraction-free learning environment.

Punctuation Sites


Test Preparation (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

  • Using English for Academic Purposes
    Infomation about standardized English assessments, such as IELTS and TOEFL.
  • Exam English
    Free Online Practice Tests for the most important international ESL/EFL exams: IELTS,TOEFL,TOEIC, and the Cambridge ESOL exams such as CAE, FCE, and PET.
  • Cambridge English Test
    Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) exam preparation

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  • 24 hour Talk Radio CFRB
    Toronto-based talk radio station - listen to live discussions about politics, sports, current events etc.
  • The CBC Archives
    Read, watch, listen and learn more about significant people and events in Canadian history. Search by category, e.g. Health, Politics, Sports, Society, etc.
  • For advanced EAL students who want to improve listening, reading, and vocabulary:
        - Television News, such as CBC, BBC World News, CNN. You can also personalize the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing.
        - Newspapers and Magazines, such as The Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, The Economist, Maclean’s.
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Apps for Mobile Phones

  • mESL: An inventory of useful apps for every platform.
  • Mobile ELS: A free ESL application developed by Athabasca University. This course tests your knowledge of English grammar and, more importantly, it gives you practice in using your knowledge to make correct and appropriate sentences. Grammar has meaning - if you change some of the grammar in a sentence, you also change its meaning.
  • English Accent Coach: A website and mobile app to help non-native English speakers fine-tune their English pronunciation. This interactive online game that trains the brain to recognize new sounds
  • Sounds, an app developed by McMillan Education, is a mobile English pronunciation aid, for students and teachers. Sounds helps you study, practice, and play with pronunciation wherever you are. Works with apple iPhone, iPad, and Android OS devices.

- Learning English with The New York Times: Learning English with The New York Times is an opportunity for second-language English speakers to improve reading and listening skills, and learn new vocabulary. This app is designed specifically for intermediate to advanced English language learners.

- My Word Coach: Enjoyable and fun activities include word recognition, spelling challenges and vocabulary definition, including 16,800 words from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. My Word Coach also adapts its difficulty level to match your skills, and monitors and rewards your progress to help you express yourself better!

- English Grammar in Use Activities: A massive bundle of fun grammar activities with imagery and sound, written specially for intermediate learners of English.

- 10 Minute English: This app is for intermediate-level learners of English. It will help you with your grammar, vocabulary, and listening comprehension. It covers the most important grammar points that English learners have difficulties with.

- Grammar Girl: Great tips to help you write more intelligently and effectively.

- English at Work: Helps second language English students practice and improve their use of workplace English and Business English.

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Difficulties in English due to L1

  • Language Differences:
    Useful information about the differences between English and various other languages (L1)

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Country & Cultural Profiles

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