There are so many wonderful English material sites available online, which can be really helpful if you are a teacher of English as a foreign language and in need of some inspiration.
In this article I’m going to review one of my absolute favourites: Breaking News English.
I love it because, not only is it free, but it also contains a wealth of listenings, readings and exercises for a wide range of English levels, making it one of the most comprehensive all-in-one materials sites around.
What is Breaking News English?
Breaking News English takes real items in the news articles and summarises them. Each news article is graded for level, so you can choose beginner to advanced versions for your class.
Once you have chosen your article theme (e.g. Michelle Obama’s book Becoming is one higher level option) you select your level and click through to the article itself. From here you and your students have the option to read or listen. Personally, I think that the listenings are superb; you can select different listening speeds and choose either an American or British English speaker.
Beneath the reading are various exercises like comprehension questions, synonym matching, gap fills and discussion questions or roleplays. If you want to extend, there are plenty more options so you can test spellings or complete a dictation for example.
New articles are added every couple of days or so this wonderful content just keeps on coming.
Yes, there are some distracting adverts, but since the site is free, this is a small price to pay for the treasure trove of material here.
Using Breaking News English for ESL learning
While I always advocate personalising material and not just going through a worksheet or material verbatim, when you use this site you rarely have to prepare heavily; the bulk of the work is done for you. This means you really can pick an article and just run with it, or set an article and some of the exercises for homework. The answers to the questions are at the bottom of the site and so it lends itself well to self-study as well as class-based learning.
I do use other ESL material sites but I find myself coming back to Breaking News English time and again. Have a look around. I trust you’ll find it as helpful as I do.