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Library & Streaming Media Resources for ESL Students

Databases & Streaming media especially helpful to ESL students

Best Library Databases for ESL Student Research

Several of the library's research databases are especially well suited to ESLs student needs.  Opposing Viewpoints, and  CQ Researcher each allows students to easily bring up bundles of relevant journal articles with just a few simple a few clicks to "browse" a list of topics.  Use the "Browse" topics button, located on the upper left hand corner of each database. 

Films on Demand contains video/films on numerous subjects. Use it to learn about your topic through a streaming video containing images, spoken English, and a text transcript. 

VOA presents the day's news in spoken intermediate English. Read USA Today (from Gale) an easy daily newspaper. Use the MP3 audio playback feature to listen to the news stories to improve your listening comprehension.

CQ Researcher

"CQ Researcher provides award winning in-depth coverage of the most important issues of the day. Our reports are written by experienced journalists, footnoted and professionally fact-checked. Full-length articles include an overview, historical background, chronology, pro/con feature, plus resources for additional research. Graphics, photos and short "sidebar" features round out the reports."

Use the Browse button in CQ Researcher to simplify searching. Now you can focus on developing your English language skills.

Voice of America - Daily news broadcasts

Small thumbprint image of the logo for the Voice of America Learning English program which links to the database

 

The VOA broadcasts the daily news in English in 3 levels of difficulty; "Let's Learn English" teaches basic American English.

The Voice of America's regular broadcasts are available by Internet. VOA presents the the news in English in 3 levels of difficulty: level 1, level 2, level 3 (the suitable level for college students). 

  • "Level One articles are for beginning English learners. Articles generally have one idea per sentence. Each article has 500 words or less."
  • "Level Two articles are meant for intermediate learners of American English. Stories are often more than 500 words in length. Stories may include audio from newsmakers. Some may use more complex sentences or language."
  • "Level Three articles are aimed at non-native English speakers who have studied American English and wish to improve their reading and listening skills. Articles are usually more than 500 words in length and may include audio from newsmakers. Some may use more complex sentences or language."

Voice of America broadcasts a structured course for learning English called "Let's Learn English." "Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. Each week, there will be a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing." There are 52 lessons that run for 52 weeks.

Audio (MP3) Books to improve your accent

These two audio books are helpful for English Language learners who are beyond the basic level.

Improve Your American English Accent: Overcoming Major Obstacles to Understanding      tthumbprint image of the cover of the book "Improve your American English accent"

by Charlsie Childs   -  MP3 AUDIOBOOK

Improve Your American English Accent offers language learners an easy and enjoyable way to master the most challenging American English speech characteristics. Focusing exclusively on the core features that have the greatest impact on understanding American English speakers and being understood by them, it comprises six 35-minute lessons. Total: 3 hours 36 minutes.

Easy Pronunciation  by  Living Language -  MP3 AUDIOBOOK       

Are you looking to improve your English pronunciation or the way that your English sounds to others? No matter tiny thumbprint image of the book cover to the book "Easy pronunciation"what your level of English is–or if you are simply trying to lessen a strong regional accent–this program will help you sound more natural and communicate with greater ease and confidence. Total: 6 hours. Key Features:                                                    
• Simple explanations of sounds, words, and sentences
• Helpful hints on avoiding pitfalls to build confidence with the English language
• Natural conversational English
• Plenty of practice, with sounds, words, phrases, and sentences   
         

Opposing Viewpoints

small thumbprint image of the Gale Opposing Viewpoints database logo which links to the database

Opposing Viewpoints contains thousands of papers from reputable sources that present facts and persuasive arguments on hundreds of social issues. Papers in the database are packaged together around topic themes. For each topic, a student will find papers that argue for a topic and papers that argue against that same topic. Papers present facts, historical background, and statistics for each topic.

Use the Browse button to simply searching. Now you can focus on developing your English language skills.

Films on Demand for Listening Comprehension

small static image of the Films on Demand database logo

Films on Demand has several hours of streaming video suitable for ESL students that is presented in short segments. Here are a few sample playlists. 

1.) Cutting Edge Communications Simple English Series in 20 segments. "The Basic English Series combines linguistics, psychology and instructional design."  When viewing this series, you can turn on “closed captioning (CC)” as well as open up the interactive transcript that highlights each word in the transcript as it is spoken. Check out these "Tips for Learning English."

For whatever class you are in, find relevant videos in Films on Demand. Here's a psychology video about the human brain.

small thumbprint image of a screenshot of a a video in the Films on Demand webpage interface

Listen to a "USA Today" article read aloud

USA Today is a general newspaper that covering the entire US. USA Today intentionally writes in a way that makes reading its articles easy. For many articles in Academic Search Complete, an audio file of the text can be played. While a software voice reads the article aloud the words spoken are highlighted in a text transcript. This can help improve listening comprehension. Click this link for USA Today to see every article in USA Today listed from the most recent to the oldest. When in a library database look for the audio file icon  tiny image of the click to listen button that appears in the database to allow a person to listen to an audio version of the available content   that let's you know that a MP3 (spoken sound file) of the article is available.

Here's an example. "America no longer has monopoly on English"

When in a library database look for the  translate icon   a tiny image of the button that appears in the database that requests a software translation of the presented content. It means that the article you found can be translated by software into another language. Because the translation is done by machine it contains errors. However, even with errors, the translation may be a useful tool to bridge from English to a student's native language.

New York Times in Mandarin or Spanish

All CSM students can subscribe free to the digital version of the New York Times. From the top of the online front page, students can click to tiny thumbprint image of the library leaflet that explains how students can sign up for a free New York Times subscriptiongo to a native Spanish or native Mandarin edition of the day's paper. Go to www.NYTimes.com/GroupPass to create an account. Still need help? Call the reference librarian at (650)574-6232 during library hours. Or, use the online chat reference service at: https://collegeofsanmateo.edu/library/connect/chat.php​

Library Database Searching Worksheet for ESL students

Download this worksheet to learn how to use "Advanced" searches in Academic Search Complete and other library databases.