Open Educational Resources and English as a Second Language

Resources are listed in order of level, from Transfer Level English Equivalent (TLEE) to 4 levels or more below TLEE.
Resources can also be found organized various ways in an Airtable – set up an account to access ESL OER for CCC Brief; set up an account to access OER for California Community College ESL.
Using OER? Share the OER for ESL that you are using.

Transfer Level English Equivalent

  • Advanced Community College ESL Composition (Perez et al.) – LibreTexts (CC BY-SA-NC)
    Level: TLEE; Skill: Writing; Resource type: Textbook
    From the Introduction: “This text is a transformation of Successful College Composition a text created by Kathryn Crowther, Lauren Curtright, Nancy Gilbert, Barbara Hall, Tracienne Ravita, and Kirk Swenson who adopted it under a grant from Affordable Learning Georgia to Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) in 2015. This text is a revision of a prior adaptation of Writing for Success led by Rosemary Cox in GPC’s Department of English, titled Successful College Writing for GPC Students (2014, 2015). Successful College Composition is a transformation of Writing for Success, a text adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee. Section 1.3 was authored by Rebecca Weaver.” Approach: Writing process
  • Brehe’s Grammar Anatomy (Brehe) (CC BY-SA)
    Level: TLEE; Skill: Grammar; Type of resource: Textbook
    Grammar Reference for Native Speakers
  • English Composition 1 (Lumen Learning)
    “This courseware includes resources copyrighted and openly licensed by multiple individuals and organizations. Click the words “Licenses and Attributions” at the bottom of each page for copyright and licensing information specific to the material on that page.”
    Level: TLEE; Skill: writing; Resource type: Textbook
    Composition instruction. Complete, accurate and easy to access.
  • Introduction to College Success (Lumen Learning)
    “This courseware includes resources copyrighted and openly licensed by multiple individuals and organizations. Click the words “Licenses and Attributions” at the bottom of each page for copyright and licensing information specific to the material on that page.”
    Level: TLEE; Skills: Reading, listening; Type of resource: Textbook
    College Success textbook, includes articles, audiovisual resources. Easy to access. Not strictly ESL, but addresses issues common to ESL community college students.
    Approaches: Thematic, integrated skills
  • Roughwriter’s Guide (Palmer and Van Lieu) (CC BY-SA-NC)
    Level: TLEE; Skill: Writing; Resource type: Reference text, Textbook
    Writing reference for composition class. Writing process, research. Has a chapter for ESL students with grammar.
  • Writing in College: From Competence to Excellence (Guptill) (CC BY-SA-NC)
    Level: TLEE; Skill: writing; Resource type: Textbook
    Composition textbook for native English speakers; thesis and argument, citing sources; engaging with reading.

Transfer Level English Equivalent/ 1 Below

  • Excelsior Online Writing Lab (Excelsior College)(CC BY)
    Level: TLEE,1 below TLEE; Skills: writing, research, APA, MLA, Presentations
    Resource type: Online Course, Reference text
    Online writing lab with videos and interactive quizzes about the writing process, APA and MLA, plagiarism, common grammar errors (mostly for native speakers), argumentation. Multi-media, interactive and easy to access.
  • Writing, Reading, and College Success (Kashyap and Dyquisto) – LibreTexts (CC BY-SA)
    Level: TLEE,1 below TLEE; Skills: writing, reading, student success
    From the authors: “The goal for this textbook was to revise and adapt the open educational resource (OER) textbook, Writing for Success so that the revision met the current needs of California Community College students. We succeeded in meeting our goal by adding additional scaffolding for developmental and ESL learners to help them with reading, writing, and college success skills; materials for learning in multiple modalities; teacher resources; and expanded materials about the reading and writing process. This in-depth revision allowed us to combine pre-collegiate level English instruction along with first-year composition materials. We have not only fulfilled all that we said we would do in our initial proposal but, in addition, expanded the focus to all potential learners in a first-year college composition course.”
  • The Word on College Reading and Writing (Burnell et al.) (CC BY-NC)
    Level: 1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skills: Reading, Writing, Grammar Reference
    Resource type: Textbook
    A reading and writing textbook, not necessarily for ESL but could be useful for TLEE. Reading strategies are more extensive than most textbooks; writing section include plagiarism and information literacy as well as grammar for native speakers. A full chapter on audience and purpose. Links to help with MLA and APA. Accurate and easy to access.
  • 88 Open Essays (Ulrich and Wangler) (licenses vary)
    Level: 1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skill: Reading; Resource type: Textbook
    From the authors: “We set out to create this anthology to provide a free and open resource to composition instructors and students, full of essays that could supplement OER rhetoric and writing texts that lacked readings. Over time, however, we came to see that this anthology, and its editors, subscribe to the notion, presented by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her 2009 TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” (included in this book), that “we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story… we regain a kind of paradise.” That is, this anthology is designed to work for as many different rhetorical situations as college writing students might find themselves in.
  • ESL/Academic English II (Louden) – Canvas Commons (CC BY-SA-NC)
    Level: 1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skills: writing, reading, vocabulary, all; Resource Type: Course
    Reading and writing are the primary focus. Reading texts are links to authentic readings. Topics covered include MLA/APA, rhetorical strategies, audience and purpose, forming arguments.
  • Advanced Grammar and Editing (Louden) – Canvas Commons (CC BY-SA-NC)
    Level: 1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction; Resource Type: Course
    Focus is grammar and editing. Approach: Form focused grammar
  • Advanced Academic Grammar for ESL Students (AlHaider) – Canvas Commons; Advanced Academic Grammar for ESL Students (AlHaider) – GoogleDocs (CC BY)
    Level: 1 Below TLEE, TLEE; Skills: Grammar Instruction, Reading; Approach: Integrated Skills; Resource type: Textbook
    This textbook was created for an advanced academic grammar course for ESL students. By the end of the course, students will recognize and demonstrate the appropriate use of advanced grammar structures. To meet these outcomes, students will listen to aural language that includes the target structures, identify and edit grammar errors in written language, read and analyze texts that include the target grammar structures, and demonstrate the correct and appropriate use of target structures in written and spoken language.

One Below Transfer Level English Equivalent

  • Food and Culture (Poupard) (CC BY-NC-SA) 
    Level: 1-below TLEE; Skills: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Grammar; Resource type: textbook This is a five-week unit on food and culture with links to authentic texts. It uses Google format (Slides, Doc). Approach: Integrated Skills, Thematic
  • Heroes (Hoyle) (Public Domain)
    Level: 1-below TLEE; Skills: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Grammar; Resource Type: Online Course This is a unit with readings about legends and fairy tales found on Canvas Commons (search author). Approach: Integrated Skills, Thematic
  • Media Literacy (Moore) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 1-below TLEE; Skills: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Grammar; Resource type: Textbook This is a five-week unit on media literacy with links to authentic texts. It uses Google format (Slides, Doc). Approach: Integrated Skills, Thematic
  • Read Faster, Understand More (Krause) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 1 below TLEE; Skills: Reading, vocabulary: Resource type: Textbook
    Textbook with accompanying PowerPoint slides covers reading strategies for advanced readers. Articles, poems, videos about conformity/non-conformity range from Jackie Robinson, Dead Poet’s Society, George Takei, Trump’s Wall, and more. Vocabulary worksheets included. Interactive multi-media resource. Complete, accurate and easy to access. Uses authentic texts organized thematically. Approach: integrated skills

Two Below Transfer Level English Equivalent

  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 6 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    Level: 2 below TLEE; Skills: Reading, grammar instruction, vocabulary, listening, speaking, writing, Presentations, using technology; Resource type: Textbook, workbook Reader and course pack with instructional essays about creating a digital story. This textbook would be useful for a digital storytelling project. Course pack may be accessed at link under “readable” or through BC Open repository. Multimedia texts organized thematically. Easy to access and interactive. Approach: integrated skills, thematic, Genre approach
  • Becoming a Successful Writer (Successful College Composition)
    Level: 2 below TLEE, 1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skill: Writing, Grammar Reference, Research; Resource type: Textbook
    A re-work and improvement of Writing for Success AKA Successful College Composition. Has instructors manual, writing process, some rhetorical instruction, some grammar. More for an English composition class than ESL. Easy to use with some good description of audience, purpose, grammar points, and research process.
    Approach: Genre approach
  • Business English for Success (Saylor Academy) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 2 below TLEE,1 below TLEE, TLEE: Skills: Grammar instruction, writing
    Resource type: Textbook. Textbook has been adapted from English for Success, and seems more complete and accessible. Only one chapter addresses business genres such as resumes, memos, email, with somewhat scant examples. Most chapters address grammar, punctuation, research, process. Easy to access.
  • English Grammar for Second Language Learners (University of Wisconsin) (CC BY)
    Level: 2 below TLEE, 1 below TLEE, TLEE: Skill: grammar instruction: Resource type: Course
    This site has well-organized and labeled pages of explanation of grammar terminology. Students learn the meaning of terms such as ‘pronoun,’ ‘verb,’ or ‘prefix.’ Some explanations are translated into Spanish and other languages (the page seems to be a work in progress). Easy to access. Approach: Form-focused grammar
  • ESL/Academic English I (Louden) – Canvas Commons (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level : 2 below TLEE; Skill: writing; Resource Type: Course
    Academic writing from paragraph to essay. Uses links to writing websites such as Perdue OWL and textbook Successful College Composition. 16-week course. Approach: Writing process
  • Grammar and Editing (Louden) – Canvas Commons (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 2 below TLEE; Skill: grammar instruction: Resource Type: Course
    Grammar and editing course. Approach: Form-focused grammar
  • LCC College Transition Listening and Speaking (Lane Community College) (CC BY-NC)
    Level: 2 below TLEE,1 below TLEE; Skills: listening, speaking, vocabulary; Resource type: Course
    Audio-visual texts (e.g., This American Life and TED Talks) accompanied by lesson plans, worksheets, slide presentation. Includes worksheets and instructions on strategies for listening, presentations, research and more. Multi-media, interactive, complete and accurate. Uses authentic texts and organized thematically. An excellent resource for listening and speaking. Approach: Integrated skills, thematic
  • My Slipper Floated Away (Blau, ed.) (CC BY-NC-ND-SA) Note: “ND” means “no derivative”, this resource cannot be modified.
    Level: 2 below TLEE,3 below TLEE,1 below TLEE,TLEE: Skill: Reading
    Resource type: Textbook. Student memoirs. Authentic texts; easy to access. Approach: thematic
  • OER Communication with Hamilton (Ramirez) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 2 below TLEE,1 below TLEE,3 below TLEE: Skills: listening, speaking, Pronunciation, vocabulary: Resource type: Workbook; Multi-media (interactive, audio-visuals). A workbook teaches IPA, pronunciation (stress, intonation), vocabulary and presentation skills using examples from Hamilton. Fun resource, accessible and complete. Authentic texts organized thematically. Multimedia and interactive. Unfortunately links to a few of the videos are broken. Approach: Integrated skills, thematic
  • Paraphrasing Text (OpenLearn) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 2 below TLEE,3 below TLEE; Skills: Writing, reading: Resource type: Course
    A one-hour course where students can practice paraphrasing
  • PDX Journeys: Studying and Living in the U.S. (Calderon) (CC BY-NC)
    Level: 2 below TLEE: Skills: Reading, vocabulary: Resource type: Textbook
    An intermediate reading and vocabulary textbook about teachers and students in Portland. Comprehension questions, discussion questions, reading strategies, vocabulary from AWL. Easy to access, good vocabulary builders. Approach: thematic
  • Reedley College ESL YouTube Channel Not openly licensed.
    Level: 2 below TLEE,3 below TLEE,1 below TLEE, TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction, writing; Resource type: Multi-media (interactive, audio-visuals). The Writing Process, Pronoun Reference, Thesis Statements, Topic Sentences, Quotes and Paraphrases, Introductory Paragraphs. Accurate and easy to access
  • Writing for Success (Anonymous) – LibreTexts (CC BY-NC-SA)
    License: 2 below TLEE,1 below TLEE, TLEE
    Skills: grammar instruction, writing, Grammar Reference, Presentations
    Resource type: Textbook
    This textbook includes chapters on punctuation, rhetorical modes, the writing process. The chapters range from sentence level to essay. Includes Chapter 5, Help for English Learners. Approach: Writing process
  • ESL Intermediate Reading and Writing (AlHaider) (CC BY)
    Level: 2 below TLEE Approach: Thematic; Integrated Skills
    Skills: Reading, Writing, Vocabulary
    Resource type: Textbook
    Intermediate level reading/writing textbook uses themes from the novel Uprising. Includes pre-reading, comprehension questions, graphic organizers, writing prompts.

Three Below Transfer Level English Equivalent

  • Academic Writing Exercises (McCleod) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 3 below TLEE,2 below TLEE: Skills: Grammar instruction, writing: Resource type: Multi-media (interactive, audio-visuals)
    From the Author: “This is a collection of interactive Google Forms to complement a series of instructional videos by Shaun Macleod and Mark Roberts of SmrtEnglish. Each exercise includes a short video along with original, self-grading comprehension questions and analysis of contextual grammar examples designed for upper-level writing students of English for Speakers of Other Languages(ESOL).
    Approach: integrated skills
  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 3 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    License: 3 below TLEE: Skills: Grammar instruction, vocabulary, writing, reading
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Reader and course pack. The theme is BC mysteries. Easy to access.
    Approach: Integrated skills, thematic
  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 4 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    Level: 3 below TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction, reading, vocabulary, listening, speaking, writing: Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Reader and course pack about human rights and biographies.  Course pack is available at link under “readable” or search BC Open repository. Easy to access.
    Approach: integrated skills, thematic
  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 5 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    Level: 3 below TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction, reading, vocabulary, writing
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Reader and Course Pack about the brain (intuition, how we learn, memory, etc).  Course pack is available at link under “”readable”” or search BC Open repository.
    Approach: integrated skills, thematic
  • Getting to Know You (Ferguson) – LibreTexts (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 3 below TLEE: Skills: grammar instruction, vocabulary, reading, speaking, listening, writing. Resource type: Textbook
    From the author: “In this ESL module you will learn how to interview a classmate and write a profile, or short biography. The module includes reading and vocabulary lessons, listening and speaking exercises, writing practice and grammar lessons.” Authentic text organized thematically. Easy to access. Also available on Canvas Commons (search author).
    Approach: Genre approach, thematic, integrated skills
  • Introduction to Academic Writing for ESOL (Thomas and Krause) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 3 below TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction, writing; Resource type: Textbook
    Textbook, classic paragraph-to-essay focus. Focus on rhetorical modes (narrative, compare-contrast) Some grammar included. Topic sentences, formatting. Complete and easy to access.
  • People and Places (Ferguson) – LibreTexts (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 3 below TLEE; Skills: grammar instruction, vocabulary, speaking, reading, listening, writing.
    Resource type: Textbook
    From the author: “This module has materials to learn and practice all of the necessary language skills at the intermediate level in college ESL. It is recommended for the first few weeks of a semester, since it covers fundamental sentence grammar and basic email communication etiquette. Academic language skills you will practice include reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, and rhetorical analysis. The module comprises four chapters, or approximately four weeks’ materials for a six-unit ESL community college class.” Authentic text organized thematically. Easy to access. Also available on Canvas Commons (Search author)
    Approach: Integrated skills, thematic, Genre approach
  • Summarising Texts (OpenLearn) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 3 below TLEE,2 below TLEE; Skills: Reading, writing; Resource type: Course
    A one-hour course where students can practice summarizing.

Four or More Below Transfer Level English Equivalent

  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 1 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE; Skills: Reading, writing, spelling and phonics, vocabulary
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Reader and course pack. Word and sentence level. Focus on phonics and vocabulary building. Easy to access. Course pack is available at link under “”readable”” or go through BC Open repository. This is a good supplementary textbook and workbook for students who need extra practice with phonics, spelling, vocabulary and handwriting. Approach: Integrated skills, thematic
  • BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English 2 (Ivits) (CC BY)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE; Skills: Reading, vocabulary, writing, spelling and phonics
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Reader and course pack about Langston Hughes. Focus is vocabulary building, beginning grammar, phonics, spelling. Sentence writing and listening. Easy to access, multi-media, accurate. Authentic texts organized thematically. Course pack can be accessed by following link under “”readable”” or through BC Open repository. Example reading/writing: Instructor reads Hughes poem about dreams. Students write one sentence each about personal dreams for each category: work, family, world.
    Approach: integrated skills, thematic
  • EL Civics ESL literacy Text (Gaer and Tanaka) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE; Skills: functional-notional, reading, writing, vocabulary
    Resource type: Workbook
    Worksheets for EL Civics (literacy level, life skills). Printable PDFs. Downloadable and printable PDFs useful for literacy instruction. Not very easily accessible for students (PDFs are in folders that must be opened one at a time).
  • ESL Lessons (Saylor Academy) (CC BY)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE, 3 below TLEE
    Skills: Grammar instruction, reading, vocabulary, writing, speaking
    Resource type: Course
    Two courses available: beginning and intermediate. Courses include approximately 10 hours instruction, mostly reading and grammar. Good links and charts. Certificate of completion is available. Multi-media, interactive, accurate and easy to access. Approach: Integrated skills
  • Everyday English 1 (OpenLearn) (CC BY-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE,3 below TLEE: Skills: Reading, listening, writing, speaking
    Resource type: Course
    Interactive textbook/course for beginning English learners. Skills are not integrated. Listening/speaking section emphasizes why one should listen carefully and speak at an appropriate speed, volume. Reading section addresses GAP, skimming/scanning, other reading strategies. Texts are not authentic and varied levels. Writing section has brief focus on process, very little grammar. No vocabulary. Requires free sign up to access all content.
    Approach: Genre approach
  • Everyday English 2 (OpenLearn) (CC BY-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE,3 below TLEE; Skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing. Resource Type: Course
    Low intermediate level course. The course is free but requires sign up to use all features. Three sections: L/S, reading, writing. Texts are not authentic or contextualized. L/S addresses body language and planning/preparing a presentation. Reading section addresses strategies and GAP. Writing section discusses process, genre.
    Approach: Genre approach
  • Home and School: Ten Easy Picture Stories (Krause) (CC BY)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE; Skills: Grammar instruction, vocabulary, reading, writing
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Multi-media (interactive, audio-visuals). Short beginning textbook with ten chapters. Each chapter has pictures with sentences, followed by interactive activities. Beginning level students learn vocab such as mother, father, holiday, married and grammar such as is/are. Easy to access, simple to use.
    Approach: integrated skills
  • In the Community: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook (NorQuest College) (CC BY-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE,3 below TLEE: Skills: functional-notional, listening, speaking, reading, writing; Resource type: textbook
    Interactive, accurate and easy to access. Texts are not authentic but have authentic qualities (e.g., L/S video examples use authentic language and student actors). Focus is not academic.
    Approach: Integrated skills, genre approach.
  • In the Workplace: An Intermediate Integrated Skills Textbook (BowValley College) (CC BY-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE; Skills: Reading, vocabulary, listening, speaking, functional-notional.
    Resource type: Textbook
    Integrated Skills textbook, interactive and multi-media. Texts are not authentic but genre-based (e.g., workplace forms). Appropriate for a low level class with a workplace focus. Easy to access. Approach: Integrated skills, thematic, Genre approach
  • Low Intermediate ESL Writing (Zettelmaier) (CC BY-NC-SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE, 3 below TLEE: Skills: grammar instruction, writing
    Resource type: Textbook, Workbook
    Word-to-sentence-to-paragraph writing. Covers parts of speech, sentence word order, spelling, paragraph writing. Complete and accurate. Easy to access.
    Approach: Form-focused grammar
  • PCC OER: A Digital Workbook for Beginning ESOL (Dodson, Jordan, and Krause) (CC BY)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE: Skills: Grammar instruction, functional-notional
    Resource type: Workbook
    An interactive workbook allows students to watch ESL videos (grammar and functional-notional) and complete worksheets and games based on the grammar point. Interactive, multi-media, complete, accurate and easy to access. An excellent resource for beginning students. Approach: integrated skills
  • ESL Career Exploration Communicative Activities (Moore) (CC BY NC SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE
    Skills: Vocabulary, reading, speaking, writing; Approach: Integrated Skills
    Resource type: Canvas Commons
    Slide shows and worksheets that guide students to learn about careers and build interview skills.
  • Beginner ESL for Adult Learners: Teaching with Comprehensible Input (Gorokhova) (CC BY NC SA)
    Level: 4 or more below TLEE
    Skills: Vocabulary, reading, speaking, writing; Approach: Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling
    Resource type: Textbook; lesson plans
    Two beginner adult ESL courses offered by Grossmont Community College: ESL 078 (with focus on listening fluency) and ESL 078R (with focus on reading proficiency). Each container offers materials for the first 2-4 (or more) weeks of the courses. The units that are offered are mostly for the instructor of the courses. This is because the teacher must lead the course with aural and verbal comprehension checks. At this level, students have very limited ability to communicate in any meaningful way, so the materials provide guidance to the teacher leading these courses. The materials include videos, slideshows, vocabulary sheets, readings (such as original stories), teacher scripts, and simple assessments.

This page last updated September 20, 2021.