40 Best Sites for ESL Study Materials, Textbooks, and Software

As an English as Second Language (ESL) student or teacher, you probably need all the help you can get in learning and in teaching this language. Online materials are readily available, including study guides, textbooks, and software. ESL software usually is not free, but we’ve included some reasonably-priced tools in this list, as well as several resources for free textbooks. As an addition, we also included several ESL forums for students and teachers, where you can ask for help or look for ESL teaching jobs.

Study Materials

ESL Study

  1. A Guide to Learning English: The purpose of this website is to guide learners of English in effective and enjoyable ways of improving their language ability. This site also addresses teachers and parents.
  2. Activities for ESL Students: This site holds quizzes, tests, exercises and puzzles to help you learn English as a second language.
  3. Dave’s ESL Cafe: This site, geared toward students and teachers, provides grammar lessons, phrasal verbs, pronunciation, quizzes, and forums for students. Teachers get an “Idea Cookbook” and forums.
  4. English as 2nd Language: This About.com study guide uses a blog, links, and images to build language power for all English students and teachers.
  5. English Learner: This site helps students learn English with exercises for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners on grammar, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and listening.
  6. ESL Blues: This page carries study tools that are geared to pre-intermediate to high-intermediate English-language learners.
  7. ESL Gold: You can find a wealth of study material on this site, including grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, writing, reading, and the ability to listen to materials.
  8. ESL Notes: This site uses movies to help students learn English. The guides contain a summary of the plot, a list of major characters, and extensive vocabulary reference, and questions for ESL class discussion.
  9. ESLAmerica.US: For ESL students, you’ll find links to a ton of different study guides, organized by categories like conversation, vocabulary, holidays, pronunciation, and more. Teachers can also use many of these resources in their classroom, or give the links to their students for them to use on their own time.
  10. ESL Writing: Rob Whyte spends time teaching English in South Korea, and he’s also a professional writer. His blog is filled with challenges, observations, listening resources, and links for ESL learners.
  11. Learn That Word English Study: This website starts with free trials, then users pay for “Pay-Per-Result”.
  12. ManyThings: This site is for people studying ESL or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). You’ll find quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator, and other computer-assisted language learning activities.
  13. Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab: This site includes long and short conversations, teacher features, quizzes, and other tools. All these tools are audio-related, so you can hear and copy the conversations patterns.
  14. ESL KidStuff: We are a group of English teachers who, like you, teach kids. We know teaching little ones up to teens is not an easy task, and just as difficult is getting good, quality materials to use in your lessons…and finding them quickly! Our aim, therefore, is to provide great ESL materials, specially made for teaching English to kids, which are quick and easy to find and print.
  15. Study Guides for The Citizenship Test: This page carries links to PDF files to help any foreign student learn more about the answers to The Citizenship Test.


ESL Library Helpers

  1. ESL: Online Textbooks: This page carries a large list of online textbooks for ESL learners. Some require the Flash plugin, some books need to be downloaded, but it appears that all the offerings are free.
  2. ESL eBooks: Currently, you can find three free downloadable textbooks for teaching English reading and language.
  3. FluentU: Is a site that has a variety of tools available for the ESL community. Their site has language learning blogs for teachers and students learning English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and a variety of other languages too.
  4. ESL Reader: Anytime you need to read online text in English, copy that text and run it through this ESL Reader. It will make each word into a link so you can easily look up word definition or translation simply by clicking on it.
  5. ESL Reading: All online books located on this site are prearranged for English reading by making each word into a link so ESL learner can easily look-up word definition or translation simply by clicking on it.
  6. Lane’s English as a Second Language [PDF]: This free online book addresses all the basics of the English language, including reviews, social expressions, and handwriting.
  7. Story Hour: A highly recommended site on several ESL learning resources. This page offers kids’ stories that are easy to read, and that contain illustrations and audio files.
  8. TOEFL Study Guides: Not free, but reasonably priced study guides at Powell’s Books.

Software and Other Tools

ESL Computer Graduate

  1. Edusoft’s English For Specific Purposes: This software company manufactures software that focuses on technical and medical English, English for the hotel industry, and other options that focus on work environments.
  2. ELLIS: This is a digital learning English Language Learners (ELL) program developed by Pearson for teachers.
  3. ESL Software: This language software focuses on all learning levels and skill areas, including writing, speaking and pronunciation, listening, grammar, vocabulary, and TOEFL and TOEIC preparation.
  4. ESL.net: ESL.net is a distributor of ESL and foreign language training software, videos, audio, handheld translation devices, and textbooks, for sale to individuals, schools, businesses, and governments around the world.
  5. Instant Immersion English: This software is set up like interactive flash cards, where instructors guide you through vocabulary lists and then you can play games to test your skills. Instant Immersion uses audio, video and written words to help you learn English.
  6. Merit Software: Download interactive ESL software to learn the English language. Prices are very reasonable.
  7. Duolingo: Duolingo is a website and software designed to provide free lessons in speaking a multitude of languages. Their catalog includes English, Spanish, and French among others.
  8. Reading Plus: The Reading Plus system offers documented success in increasing scores on standardized tests and in producing substantial gains in fluency and silent reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and overall reading proficiency for hundreds of students in elementary school through college.
  9. Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone has, perhaps, the most popular software for learning another language. They use interactive software, live online lessons, games, and building community…all geared to learning how to speak a foreign language like a native, including English.
  10. Software for Students: Teachers developed software and books for ESL and EFL learners based upon authentic writing tasks. Their main software application is Easy Writer, first published in 1995.
  11. English Talk Shop: English Talk Shop creates innovative materials and techniques to help accented speakers master American English. We are committed to using technology effectively along with proven instructional methods to develop the best programs available.

ESL Forums

ESL Learners

  1. English Club: This site contains plenty of English help, and an active forum, too. They also have a help desk.
  2. English-Test Forum: Visit the entire site, but you can focus on the active forum here, too, which contains topics ranging from prep for the TOEIC to English usage.
  3. Dave’s ESL Cafe: This forum is a meeting place for ESL and EFL teachers and students from around the world.
  4. ESL Jobs Forum: For teachers, this site carries information about certification, teaching, job openings, and training.
  5. ESL Forum: This is an ESL gathering place, where posts are focused on test prep, teaching, and students.
  6. ESL Base: This is a forum for teachers of English as a foreign language.

What are popular ESL degree options?

If you’re currently an ESL or TESOL teacher, a master’s degree will prepare you to effectively teach students with well-planned curriculum and lesson plans. If you’re interested in learning more about programs for teaching ESL, we’ve provided a list of some popular, accredited schools below.


Northcentral University

  • HLC
  • NCA

George Washington University

  • MSA

University of Southern California

  • WASC

Grand Canyon University

  • HLC
  • NCA

Click here to find more online ESL degrees...

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