Online stories for ESL adults

Written by karen farnen
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Online stories for ESL adults
Find a variety of stories online to practice your English. (online image by Leticia Wilson from

If you are an adult learning English as a second language, you can practice with a large variety of online stories. Whether you want easy reading or advanced works, you can find abundant free practice material. You can learn history, biography and science, and keep up with the news or read literature in English. Many stories come with listening files, vocabulary study aids or comprehension questions to help in learning English.

English as a Second Language at Rong-Chang

The English as a Second Language site at has hundreds of stories for adults to read. Go to the Reading page, using the link in Resources, and choose among many options including "365 Short Stories for ESL Learners," "100 free short stories for ESL learners" and two groups of "Short Stories for ESL/EFL Beginners." To learn American culture, go to the History and Culture area for selections about American holidays and United States presidents.

The Many Things Website

Read stories or listen while you read at the Many Things website. Scroll down to Listening & Reading, where choices include "Listen & Read Along," "Stories about People" and "About Places." You can also click on American Stories for short stories by famous authors such as Willa Cather, Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin and O. Henry. Use the various "Listen and Read Along" functions to improve your knowledge of spoken English while you read. Or practice your listening by playing the audio without looking at the words.

The BBC's Learning English

Go to the BBC Learning English site to find news stories of interest to adults. Start at the Home page using the link in References. Then scroll down to Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation. When you click on a story, you will find a summary and the written report. Click on the "Listen" button to hear the story read aloud. Difficult vocabulary words appear in bold or dark black type, and you can hear them by clicking on another button. A separate list of the vocabulary words displays the meaning for each word when you click on a button marked "+."

Reading Links at The Internet TESL Journal

Investigate a large variety of story sites listed on the Reading page of The Internet TESL Journal. You will find links to famous novels such as "Tom Sawyer" and "Dracula," as well as to online magazines and science stories. Study Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in a simplified version. Read many of Aesop's Fables in English. If you want to have fun while you read English, click on the link to "ESL Comics." You will find links to fiction, nonfiction, serious writing and humour all on the Journal's page. Many selections come with audio files.

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