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Free Resources for ESL Lessons

written by: Louanne Piccolo • edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • updated: 8/2/2012

Gone are the days of spending weekends and evenings in front of the computer creating original ESL material for students. Luckily, there are now hundreds of ESL workbooks and internet sites allowing teachers to use printable adult ESL lessons and adapt them to their class and student level.

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    Free ESL Lesson Plans on Internet

    Internet is a goldmine for ESL worksheets, lesson plans, flashcards, exercises and activities. Many ESL sites also have forums where teachers can share their experiences, ideas and suggestions. Here are two free, practical, easy-to-use sites offering resources for printable adult ESL lessons:

    ESL Printables is a resource site for teachers who are willing to share their material with each other. Teachers who want to download teaching material have to register and contribute some of their own material first. This is fair as it ensures a community of givers and takers. This site works on a points system. Registered users must contribute a printable, which will earn one point every time another user opens it. Teachers can then use their points to download other printables. One point allows a teacher to download one printable. All contributions must be original and anyone submitting plagiarized work will be banned from the site. is also a site where teachers can find free lesson plans and worksheets. The lesson plans include answers and teacher's notes, divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced categories. There are also quizzes, articles on ESL teaching and an English language discussion forum for teachers looking for advice or answers to questions. Teachers must register to become members on this site if they want to have access to extra content, like a newsletter, games and language tests, which non-members do not.

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    Photo Copyable ESL Resource Books

    Resource books are another good source of printable adult ESL lessons. The Penguin English Photo Copyables are an excellent resource book series for teachers looking for adult ESL lessons to photocopy.

    Teachers will find twenty different resource books ranging from ready-made lessons for elementary, intermediate and advanced learners to grammar games and activities, group work, pair work, business English and vocabulary games and activities.

    • The Instant Lessons series is divided into comprehensive reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary sections with ten lessons in each section. Lessons are designed to take between fifty to fifty-five minutes each and contain teacher's notes and fun and interesting activities for students. Each lesson plan is divided into four sections: the introduction, presentation, practice and conclusion. There is also often an extra section for homework.
    • The Grammar Games and Activities series is a collection of sixty activities such as information gap exercises, questionnaires and jigsaw reading exercises lasting from ten to thirty minutes each. The exercises are organized into beginner, intermediate and advanced sections making it easy for teachers to find what they are looking for according to level.

    Aside from using printable adult ESL lessons on internet or photocopying them out of resource books, teachers from one or many schools can also set up a resource group where they can share material amongst themselves. A lesson that has worked very well for one teacher over a period of time could benefit a much larger group than just one class every year.

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    Content from author's own experience