English Practice for Beginners

A terrific online resource for beginners is the REEP (Arlington Education and Employment Program) World. REEP is a Virginia-based agency that has been helping adult immigrants and refugees to learn English, job and technology skills for 40 years.

What makes the site so accessible for low-level students is that REEP has made it very easy for these students to access the materials by keeping the written language (including instructions) to a minimum, and maximizing the use of visuals to guide students and help them navigate.

There are resources both for Educators and Students on the site, but in this review I will focus on the resources for beginning students. To use the site (as with most sites), students need to know simple computer basics like how to “click” on a picture, or how to use the cursor. Right from the start (on the front page) students see a button for English Practice for Beginners, and when they click on the button, they are directed to a simple visual with four boxes.

The simple design of REEP’s web site is easy for students to navigate.

Each of the four boxes has a visual image and a simple heading: How to use this website, Health, Work, and Family.  When you click on the How to use the website box, it actually guides students through holding a mouse and other basics. The practice is simple and meaningful, since it incorporates vocabulary (“move the mouse,”  “hold the mouse,” numbers, etc…) within the practice. Students are using their listening skills as well as their simple reading skills. How to use the website would be a terrific full class lab activity. It could be a review for some students, and new information for others. Students could also review at home.

In the The Body, you can see the simplicity with which REEP has designed their activities for low-level students.

I would recommend REEP’s small section for beginners. Keep in mind, however, that the larger site is rich with resources for higher level students, and with resources for teachers.  This small part is just the tip of the iceberg of offerings by REEP.

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About Moira Taylor

Moira Taylor loves her reading time on the C train as she travels from Washington Heights to Brooklyn. Her ESL career started at the Riverside Language Program more than 20 years ago. She's also taught in Thailand, the New York Public libraries, and The New School. She's been at CUNY as an ESL professional developer for 10 years.

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