Good Short Stories for Learning ESL

Good Short Stories for Learning ESL & Where to find them

by Kevin R Burns

Once you`ve spent about a year, teaching the children phonics (and for that I highly recommend David Paul`s Finding Out Series). It is the only series I have found that consistently gets Japanese children reading within a year.

Then you can go onto other things. Next, I advise spending time teaching the very common yet difficult to read words we have in English, words like: the -that are very common but hard to decipher for new readers. Find lists of common words that ESL students need to learn by using our search function (left column of the website at the bottom).

Once they know their phonics and words like the, there, that, then etc. have them read some of the many Dr. Seuss books, which are colorful, fun and easier to read for children. Then follow Cheema Beckham`s suggestions below.

To be honest, most of the books you read as children, or that your parents read to you are excellent choices for ESL students, especially young ESL learners. The subject matter is suitable and you can help them with the English. But once they know phonics, then you just need to help them with comprehension. It can be an adventure. "The Little Engine that Could," the Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and the Disney books are great too. All of the above have many pictures and the English is easier to comprehend than a lot of books.

Pictured: ESL School Manager Doug in Japan, being a manager of an English school in Japan is one of the toughest jobs you will ever have.

Cheema Beckham:

Being an ESL is teacher is not always a piece of cake. It is difficult to teach kids but even tougher to teach adults. As an ESL teacher, you must have faced diverse difficulties but one of major dilemmas that I have faced in my teaching career is to keep the class alive. I want my students to forget everything outside the class and learn wholeheartedly.

Thus I use different techniques to keep their interest level at its peak. One of the most helpful methods, I have found is to teach English as a secondary language using various ESL short stories. These stories are especially unique because they help in developing almost every aspect of the language. The stories are written in proper English and help the students in understanding basic uses of grammar, while helping them in maintaining their high interest level.

Some of my favorite websites offering good short stories for learning ESL are as below:-

1. ESL Fast. “ESL Fast” is a free site which is particularly useful for intermediate students. The site hosts a vast assortment of good short stories for learning ESL. In fact, there are as many as 365 hand-picked stories to teach every aspect of the language.

2. Rong Chang ESL. “Rong Chang” offers a wholesome package for ESL learners of all ages from 3 to 103 years. The site contains separate sections for beginners, intermediate learners and even for ESL teachers. The site has good short stories for learning ESL as they are also integrated with corresponding work books.

3. ESL Monkeys. This site is immensely popular among ESL students because of the variety in its short stories. The site features many short, long and classic stories. “May Passion, My Life” by Catherine Franz and “Animals you can see at the Zoo” by Rolando Merino are two of my favorite short stories for beginners.

4. English Club. “English Club” is a very helpful website for ESL students in many aspects, however one of its best features include a variety of ESL short stories. The kids have a separate section of their own beginner-level stories including my favorites “The Lucky Octopus” and “Good Neighbors”.

Good short stories for learning ESL can work as a catalyst for developing the interest of your students. Once they start taking interest in class and are trained to have fun while learning, then teaching English is like breathing air. I am hopeful that the above mentioned websites will help you in learning English as a secondary language while having a pleasurable time for you and your students.

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