This site uses archived CNN and CBS news articles and simplifies them for ESL students. The site provides the original story along with an abridged version and an outline. Each story has interactive activities for students to practice with the vocabulary, sequencing and content of the story. These activities are provided alongside the text so students can refer back to the text. The activities provide immediate feedback to indicate if the answer is correct or not. With each story there are also questions to prompt students to express their ideas about the content of the news piece which can be emailed to the site editors for posting. Archived Stories are listed by category (12 of them) such as adventure, crime, education and religion. There is also an instructor page to explain the set up of the site and provide contact information for the director of LitercyWorks. It also explains the technical requirements of the site in order to view streaming video or listen to audio of the stories
Type of Material:
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Practice in written and aural comprehenion for learners of ESL
Target Student Population:
Learners of ESL
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
High beginning proficiency
Evaluation and Observation
The site provides new articles in the original and abridged versions and addresses reading, writing, and listening skills. The editors of the articles have taken care to not just change vocabulary here and there to simplify the stories, but rather the editors took the time to edit sentences with unclear concepts and to modify advanced vocabulary. Each story follows the same pattern and the interactive activities are set up in a column on the left hand side of the story to allow for easy navigation.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site can be used to practice most skills. Extra Reading/Writing and Listening/Speaking along with Cultural activities can be easily developed to compliment the stories. Students can read the stories and work on the activities on their own as feedback is provided. If there are mixed ability students in one class, all three versions, the original, abridged and outline, can be used.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The stories along with the interactive exercises do not require any extra programs besides the Internet. There is also an external link to Cambridge Dictionary for students to look up any word at any time. There are clear icons when audio and video is available of a new story. Both the audio and video are extremely clear. There is also a page that explains the programs needed to view audio and video. Except when viewing a particular story and activities, there is always a clearly labeled navigation bar. The navigation bar is the same throughout the site.