News Articles for English Learners: 6 Top Resources
News is all around us and it affects each and every one of us, including your students.
Because the news is so powerful and ever-changing, it makes for a perfect resource for teaching ESL.
To help you out, we’ve compiled six excellent news sources to use with your English learners, with all levels represented, organized from beginner to advanced.
So wait no further: check out this helpful news resource list for ESL teachers and incorporate the latest news into your activities this week.
- 1. Time for Kids
- 2. Learn With Smithsonian
- 3. CNN 10
- 4. The New York Times Learning Blog
- 5. Entrepreneur Online Magazine
- 6. The New Yorker
- Choosing News Articles for Your Students
1. Time for Kids
Time for Kids is a great online news site with an emphasis on K-6 students.
This reputable online news resource is a weekly online publication for students to build confidence and enthusiasm for reading. It is not only for native English students. Time for Kids is more than useful for ESL students as well, creating an optimal reading experience for young ESL learners. World, entertainment, science, health and sports are a few of the exceptional topics your students can choose from.
Each news story is presented in a concise article or video for your students to really dive into. Given the target demographic of this website, the content is made to be easier to understand than traditional news articles.
An exceptional ESL exercise you can add into your lesson plan to pair your students up and give each pair an article discussing the geography and history of Antarctica. Prepare a worksheet beforehand, to get students talking. They will have to collaborate and discuss the answers to the questions relating to the material they read. It is a great visual lesson with reading, writing and communicative ESL sub-skills.
2. Learn With Smithsonian
Learn With Smithsonian was developed by the Smithsonian Institute to encourage K-12 students to further their knowledge about the world around them while taking part in it by writing. It is an amazing and unique online news resource that promotes community and learning.
A great exercise for your students using Learn With Smithsonian articles is to incorporate communicative learning into your students’ reading comprehension practice. The site’s Learning Lab features thousands of resources, all organized by topic and resource type (audio, video, image or text).
After every article, there are key questions aimed at provoking deeper thought about the article’s main points.
Check out the Neighborhood Birds resource, where you’ll find images, videos and class discussion ideas about the bird species found in the built environment. Students will enjoy it and it’s sure to make your lesson planning easier.
3. CNN 10
CNN 10 is a news resource just for students, sharing breaking and popular news such that students can relate and understand. Each program is 10 minutes long, which is the perfect length for the classroom.
CNN 10 is a reputable resource which sticks to current events and presents the information professionally, while using somewhat simplified language (nevertheless made for native speakers).
CNN 10 covers world, sports, technology, entertainment, style and travel news using video broadcast, articles and video transcription for students to read. Your students can choose from a variety of news topics, allowing them to experience genuine interest while learning English.
You can incorporate multiple ESL skills utilizing CNN 10 in your lessons. For example, using the news segment “Can AI Read Your Mind?“, you can start by having students read the transcript of the report and then watch the video, reinforcing the ideas. You can then hold a discussion about the hot topic of AI.
4. The New York Times Learning Blog
Most ESL students of a certain age have heard of The New York Times and New York. The New York Times Learning Blog is a reputable online news resource geared toward students, influencing them to take part in their world through reading.
This is a great online news site, offering short articles to hold your students’ attention with a few exceptional questions at the end of each article to bring about emotions and thoughts on the article’s main topic.
The New York Times Learning Blog is not just for native English students—it is wonderful for ESL students.
This site has been nothing less than 100% useful for ESL teachers in the past and offers some excellent topics like world, entertainment, opinion, technology, business, science, health and sports. There truly is something for everyone with a helpful teachers’ section offering great lesson plans and ideas for your classroom activities.
Using this online news site will have some excellent benefits for you and your students. Allowing them to read and understand news from one of the most famous news publications in the world will build their confidence and overall ESL skills. You can incorporate the questions at the end of each short article, making them really put their English thinking caps on.
There are a lot of ways to use news articles to make your lesson more interesting and informative. Build on the articles with visual aids, utilizing pictures referencing the main topic. You could even find a short video clip covering the article’s topic. You can pair our example article and questions above with this short video from The New York Times.
The great thing about the Learning Blog is that all the content is free. However, if your students are looking for more native-level content to use in your class, you may find it wise to invest in a New York Times subscription for full access to the site.
5. Entrepreneur Online Magazine
The Entrepreneur Online Magazine is an excellent online news article resource and especially handy if some of your students are business-oriented and have goals regarding business promotions or consulting, which is common these days.
The Entrepreneur Online Magazine is full of excellent articles covering start-ups, technology, business leadership, psychology and philosophy. This online news resource will allow you to really engage your students in topics that provoke critical thinking.
Many ESL students will employ their English skills outside of the classroom as well, reading the Entrepreneur Online Magazine or subscribing to the print magazine to further their knowledge at work and home.
You can find Entrepreneur at a discounted rate on Magazine Line, along with many other great magazines that may be relevant to their interests and career paths.
You can really put together a finance and career focused list of questions that will challenge your students to think and respond in English about topics they have never spoken about before.
Your students can also build vocabulary, business and academic, while utilizing this online news resource.
6. The New Yorker
The New Yorker is a challenging read for your ESL students, allowing them to build their vocabulary even further while processing professional writing. They will be able to employ deep English thinking due to the in-depth content The New Yorker contains.
Since this content is written for adult, native English speakers, this is a great resource for adult ESL learners and covers news, culture, books, science, technology and business.
Building concise, challenging and philosophical questions into your lesson regarding the reading is essential for your students’ growth when using this exceptional online news resource.
Let your students read a paragraph or two before pausing for discussion. Ask them about new words and phrases they may have encountered while reading.
You will develop a sophisticated academic conversation regarding the article’s topic and your students will enjoy the challenge as they share their thoughts and insight.
Choosing News Articles for Your Students
There are thousands of online news resources out there to choose from, often making the selection process seem difficult.
When searching for online news articles, you must first look to your students. It all comes down to keeping things relevant and level appropriate, so your students will be interested and care what they’re reading about.
There are a few key elements you will be looking for in any news article.
- Length and future discussion points of an article are the most important aspects to think about when choosing the perfect ESL article for your students.
- Picking articles that your students will be able to finish in one or two lessons is important. Too long and your students are likely to lose interest and the main news in the article could be lost.
- Sticking with reputable online news resources is the best approach to tracking down ESL news articles. There are many great mainstream online news sites that have developed subsidiary sites tailored for ESL and native English students of all ages and interests.
- You can also branch off into video news reports, which often come with a transcript that students can read.
Using a resource like FluentU is another good way to bring authentic videos like news segments, movie clips, commercials and other native English media into your classroom. Pick one of the many news clips in the FluentU media library and play it for your class.
FluentU has interactive subtitles: a click shows a contextual definition, example sentences and videos, audio pronunciation and a button to save the word for later review.
So get with it! Use the news to make your ESL classroom activities more relevant and more timely. You’ll surely all learn something by using news articles in your classroom, and the content will never run out.
The news changes each and every day.