Enjoying Easy English Times and Exploring the EET Website

“In every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is the story of the earth.”

Rachel Carson (1907-1964), biologist and environmentalist

The mailman brought the “Summer Fun” issue of Easy English Times yesterday, and it made me smile. It’s another wonderful issue of ESL student essays, teaching tips, and classroom exercises for English language learners. The editors also generously added seven photographs to the monthly “instant activity: conversation” column written by Toni Aberson and myself. This month’s topic is Enjoying the Beach. The beautifully illustrated excerpt from Compelling Conversations, modified for beginning and intermediate ESL student readers should be popular. The column also inspired me to take a long walk on Santa Monica beach with my dog to celebrate.

The summer issue also lead me to revisit the Easy English Times website. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include the entire current and past issues so the conversation column isn’t online. The clean website, although in need of an update, includes several valuable chunks of information for ESL educators and people teaching in adult literacy and prisons.

The section titled Immigration Issues features first person essays from immigrants and refugees and an evocative photo essay by Betty Malmgren that documents the intense passions and political symbols used at immigration protest marches. Malmgren deserves credit for showing both sides of this heated and very American debate in a fair, nuanced manner. I’m also fond of the section titled internet resources which includes archived columns from Andrea Uram for teachers of beginning ESL students and Susan Gaer’s columns on using the internet in ESL classrooms.

Yet my favorite part of the Easy English Times website remains student writing

where you can read first person stories from immigrants and refugees who have created new lives in the United States for themselves and their families. This short essays and poems, written by adult ESL students living and working across the country, provide a riveting glimpse into our often troubled world. The range and diversity of writers and writings is quite impressive. I can’t help but be moved and proud to be an English teacher while reading this section.

Website visitors can request a free copy of Easy English Times newspaper, and subscribers can access the entire adult education newspaper online for $15. It’s a good buy, especially for American ESL teachers working with beginning and intermediate adult ESL students. In a far better world, there would be fewer refugees from wars, famines, and persecution – and more than enough money to buy class sets of this ESL newspaper for more adult schools.

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