Topical news stories can be highly interesting to ESL students and a great way to get students to participate in your lessons. You can either tailor news articles yourself or focus on using news sites that are dedicated to ELLs.
If you choose your own articles for your lessons, you should consider whether the articles have interesting content and interesting language constructs. Look for good grammar exponents or interesting sentence style and syntax. You should avoid articles that are too long and focus on topics that lend themselves to discussion.
Ideally, you should design introductory exercises before you have your students read a piece. This can range from discussing questions or pictures related to the topic to quizzing your students in order to test their knowledge of the topic.
You also have the option to take advantage of news sites that are dedicated to describing current events in simplified English. Several such free sites exist that are perfect for older ESL students:
Breaking News English – This site offers articles and spoken pieces on current news by providing mp3s, docs, and pdfs. It also offers supporting activities such as vocabulary matching and cloze passages. The site posts news articles every few days and has a huge set of archives.
BBC Learning English: News English – This site also has extensive archives. Its articles are shorter than those of Breaking News English, but it offers vocabulary lists and audio recordings.
Voice of America: Special English – Special English is designed for ESL students and has a core vocabulary of 1,500 words. This site offers radio shows from Voice of America in special English. Both transcripts and MP3s are available.
Simple English News – Designed for ESL students, this site features very short articles and headlines. It also offers the option of listening to the articles being read.
The Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Program and a B.A. in Secondary Education.
The Master of Arts in Teaching – TESOL online program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to teach students of all ages in the U.S. and internationally, gives you the option to pursue a teaching credential, and can be completed in 12 months.
Liberty University Offers Undergrad Cert and B.Ed. in English as a Second Language.
Capella University offers an online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners and help students adapt to new cultural environments.