Learning English as a Second Language may be a concern for both the students in your school as well as their parents. USA LEARNS is a free website that helps adults improve English skills. Low cost apps are also available.
Users go to USA Learns at http://www.usalearns.org and create a login. A pretest can help users unsure about which tutorials to complete. Three courses are available: beginning, low intermediate, and intermediate. Each course includes a series of units focusing on the use of English in everyday situations. Each unit includes lessons and activities. Users can read the screen and listen to the teacher’s voice reading the screen. The lessons incorporate both audio and video elements. Study tools are provided including a glossary with images and audio support.
ESL students may need help signing up and getting started with the program. Although the lessons are very effective, the tutorials don’t provide feedback for incorrect answers. It would be useful if a teacher or assistant was available to answer questions as users are working their way through the learning materials.
In addition to the website, four low-cost, learning apps are available. In addition to the lessons, the apps also provide the learner with opportunities to record words and hear them back. The apps contain lots of streamed videos, so an Internet connection is necessary. To access the apps for both Apple and Android devices, go to http://www.usalearns.org/apps/.
Consider how USA LEARNS could be part of an after-school library program that supports the ESL needs of both children and their parents.
The materials were developed and tested by the Sacramento County Office of Education with funding from the US Department of Education. Although the scenarios include workplace scenarios, the course materials would be very effective for high school students. For supplemental materials, check out the USALearns blog at http://usalearns.wordpress.com/. For an overview to the curriculum, go to http://www.usalearns.org/pdf/ScopeSequence.pdf.