Family English Learning Circle


Hello, everybody. I recently had a WhatsApp video chat lesson with a student who lives in India with her daughter and two grandsons.Zohara has been studying with me remotely for a few months. I have been helping her with her pronunciation and she's improved a lot.

She is also watching BBC English classes, one of which is on what she called "cookery".

Her 6 year old grandson is also studying English in school, and she is reading one of his books which she showed to me. I asked her to read it out loud and she did quite well actually.

A few years ago I had classes in a room in a library where there were a few computers. The students were mostly women, usually with children whom they sometimes brought with them.

So I showed them some websites for kids to learn English, so some of the mothers could help their kids and also learn English too!

One of those mothers was a psychologist in Mexico. She just told me that she's going to apply for a job as a teacher's aide in the school system. Her English has improved quite a bit. She would be the perfect person to show other mothers how they could study English with their kids.

Basically the point of my article is to introduce the concept of what I call the "Whole Family Approach" to learning English and anything else for that matter.. online via WhatsApp or Zoom, or just with the plain old internet.

We often talk about bridging the digital divide, and I think that the above is the best way to do it.

Thanks for this post, Paul. Since we all work with adults, many of whom have children, I'm sure there are other members of our community that would be interested in the websites for kids that you would recommend.  It's great to be able to share such resources with parents.

Members, if you have website recommendations, too, please share them here.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP


Susan - there are a lot of websites for kids to learn English, many of them either totally free or with a lot of free material. On YouTube there are thousands of videos.

A few years ago I created a group on my Facebook called English for Kids, and it is quite amazing how many posts there are from teachers all over the world.

Here it is+=

I particularly like unite for literacy, which has a lot of read along books for kids. You can also get translations in a number of different languages. I think these are good for parents with small children.. Does anyone know of other such websites? Also, I'd really like to make our own and Implement digital language experience approach. Many years ago, IBM had a library and software for read-along books, using paper clip guy, called Reading Companion. Nowadays Is there anything available and easy for the less literate and/or less digitally savvy to use? Mobile friendly a plus.The closest that I've heard of has been Microsoft immersive reader, Jambord and Quizlet.

Hello Mary, Thank you for telling us about Unite for Literacy. This is a fantastic site for children and their families which features a great many books with beautiful photos and simple text in either English or Spanish.  There is audio accompaniment available for each of the books, and the audio can be played in a great many languages -- far too many to list here. 

Paul, thank you for linking us to your Facebook page. If you have any sites that are particular favorites, we would love to know about them.

Let's keep the recommendations coming!

Cheers, Susan 

Thanks, Mary Joan Reutter! Unite for Literacy is a great site - with many languages that are easy to access. Reading is the best way to learn a foreign laguage and this helps kids - and adults! - to read out loud with confidence.  I also want to mention that Starfall is great to learn phonics.

An update about the class with Zo (above). First, I call her on the WhatsApp video call. She is in India and there is a 14 hour difference!! 

Anyway, a few days ago, she read out loud to me from the book her grandson is using in school to learn English. It was a very well designed book with short dialogues, large bold font and a pronunciation guide of difficult words. I helped her with the pronunciation.

So - as far as "beginners" are concerned.... A "real" book and an online teacher or tutor = the Magic Formula. I can send texts by WhatsApp but ...nothing compares to a real book, in my opinion. I also send my short videos which usually are like audio books.

Zo's  daughter and grandson are helping her, and I am like a visitor dropping in for tea and conversation! 



The Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy has a number of family literacy resources available on its website. The Goodling Institute has three primary goals of research, professional development, and policy and we have a number of publications in these areas (  For example, Practitioner’s Guide #3: Working with Preliterate and beginning literacy level parents in family literacy and parent involvement programs (2012) provides recommendations for educators working with this population. The website also lists Family Literacy Resources (, many of which were developed by Goodling staff (e.g., Family Literacy Infographic, Interactive Literacy Activities Toolkit).