These are resources that many ESL/ELL Teachers have found to be indispensable!  Is there a book, website or organization that YOU think every teacher needs to know about?? IF so click here to share it!


Professional Development Teacher Resources-

Elementary Class Use Materials-  This is a FREE website that helps teach phonemic awareness. What makes this site so beneficial is that it is systematic/sequential. It covers reading, step by step, from initial sounds to reading simple sentences. It has interactive games, songs, and stories. There are themes for various calendar holiday and a download center with reproducible books, letter practice pages and more. The best part is kids enjoy it! – This is the companion site to In addition to phonics, colors and rhymes, it also covers math (addition, subtraction, & basic multiplication/division). This site has a nominal fee.


Middle School Class Use Materials-


High School Class Use Materials-




Language portal offers various language learning products. Amongst them are 29 dictionaries of which there are English translation dictionaries in 17 different languages.                                                                 There is also a phrase book with hundreds of sample sentences                                                                                             and vocabulary lessons


Professional Development/Teacher Resources-

Oxford… Always a place to find something 🙂 

Learner English: A Teacher’s Guide to Interference and other Problems (Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers) by Swan & Smith. This book is a must have if you are working with a student and trying to determine if the student’s ‘issue’ stems from a language interfere or language difficulty- causing the student to possibly need special school services. It provides phonetic charts, examples of rhythm and stress patterns, writing samples, etc. It is also a prime resource for learning more about the cultural perspectives of various nationalities/language groups, including views on education, economic backgrounds and more. See link on Amazon for a ‘look inside’ the book.   

Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement                   by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock. This book is an attest to good teaching
. It is an easy and dare I say ‘pleasurable’ read?! What makes it so effective is that it helps teachers focus on which activities and strategies to use with students to get the most out of their together. What resonated most for me was reading about the types of questions and quality feedback. These are the areas that I changed the most after reading this book. And it wasn’t a painful change at all! In fact it helped me pay more attention to students’ areas of strength/weakness, and in turn gave me ideas on the next step to take. Read it and find out what resonates with you!   Search inside the book or see other Marzano titles.


Principles of Language Learning and Teaching by H. Douglas Brown. Why do I love this book so much? Because it is so comprehensive and easy to understand. It discusses everything from age and linguistic factors, as well as the student’s sociocultural and psychological factors. What I most appreciated is that you can pick it up and read any part that sounds interesting; Dispelling myths, language aptitude, avoidance strategies, affective (emotional) filter, kinesics, fossilization/stabilization. If any of these topics peak your curiosity get this book. You will find plenty of linguistic ‘Ahas’. 


How the Brain Learns. By David Sousa. This former high school science teacher takes the complex and complicated subject of how the brain learns and makes it comprehensible. What more can I say?!  His series on the brain includes books that focus on reading, math, giftedness and special needs. He has even co-wrote a book with differentiation author, Carol Ann Tomlinson, called Differentiation and the Brain. Search inside an earlier edition to his book on how the brain learns by going to


Elementary Class Use Materials-


Middle School Class Use Materials-


High School Class Use Materials-





TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages)- If you are not a part of this International Organization, then DO check it out! It is THE Organization to be involved in. Go to  There are also many ‘local’ TESOL organizations depending on the state which you live. For example; NYSTESOL, CATESOL, MIDTESOL, etc.  Make sure to check those out as well, as I have found these organizations allow you can have a closer and more personal relationship to those in the field both in and out of your state/area.

 WIDA (World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment) – It is official! More than half of the states in the US are a part of WIDA. WIDA’s information span is huge.  Not only do they provide professional development but also English Language Development standards and assessments for determining English language proficiency. What I (& many) love and find the most helpful is WIDA’s list of “CAN DO Descriptors”. This is sooo great in helping to figure out what a student should be able to do at their level of language proficiency. It is a “CAN’T DO WITHOUT!” 🙂


Gelene Strecker-Sayer is the creator and main contributor to this page. Exceptions are those contributors who are noted in parenthesis.