Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

The resources on this Canadian blog are all free, and I spend a lot of my time working on it, so please consider becoming a SUPPORTER. I appreciate all the support I get. It is the fuel that keeps me going.

Membership is FREE.

NOTE: To leave a comment, click on the word "comment" at the bottom of the page. A comment page will pop up.



Reading is an essential skill for anyone who wants to succeed in life, but it is equally important in helping you to develop and reinforce all your other language skills. Reading helps you to improve your vocabulary, writing, grammar, and even reading and listening skills because you are constantly reminded of the vocabulary you know, the sentence structure and language usage and expression.    

I have added many  links with a a variety of reading  activities in the links page on the right hand side of the blog. The easier readings links are at the bottom of the list. The list becomes more challenging as you go up. You will find a wide range of reading materials and activities. Some will help you improve skills such as skimming,scanning, sequencing. Others  will help you practice your inference, and critical thinking skills  Still others are practice reading tests, or longer readings with questions.

Not all of he reading links focus on "skill based activities. You will also find links to fiction stories, magazine articles to suit almost any interest and news stories. Some of these are specifically designed for ESL readers. Others are designed for more advanced readers. 
Make an  effort to find some of your own reading material. There are many online magazines, comics, romance stories and  novels. You can also takeout simplified novels from your school or local library.  The main point is read as much as you can.  

Basic Reading Skills

Preview the Passage

Read the title and any subtitles that may be in  the passage., If the passage is a short one, read the topic sentences (main idea sentences) of all the paragraphs in the passage. Read the first and last paragraphs. Scan the whole passage (look it over very quickly). Once you have a good general idea of what the passage is all about, you will be much better able to understand what you are reading because you will be able to relate the separate parts to the whole.

Read With a Purpose

Know why you are reading this story, article, passage from a book, or even newspaper article. Ask  yourself  what you want to get out of it? Write down a few questions you would like  to have answered in he reading. When you consciously look for information or ideas, your reading will become much more focused and effective.  

Read Quickly

Many students think their comprehension will increase if they read slowly and carefully. However, they are wrong. Reading quickly actually improves your comprehension. When you read slowly, word by word, you do not get any sense of the meaning of the passage, but rather a fragmented series of unrelated chunks. When you read more quickly in chunks and without stopping, or going back, you get a much better idea of the bigger meaning of the reading. Skip over words you don't know or guess their meaning from the context. If there are too many words or phrases you don't understand, then look the words up and learn what they mean in this context. Then, after this vocabulary work, read the passage again -- quickly!

Read the Passage More Than Once

Read the article or story again, or even a third time if you have done some vocabulary work, or analyzed some of the sentences for grammar patterns. Write out sentences that strike you as having particularly good vocabulary, a good style, or which demonstrate good language use. ( use of collocations) 

  Continue building your knowledge of vocabulary and Usage  

Develop Your Knowledge of Vocabulary and Usage

The more you read,, the more you will develop your vocabulary. Read for information and knowledge, but read for vocabulary as well. According to John Keith another instructor at VCC, in his website  John Keith Communications   you can frequently increase your word knowledge by cutting and pasting words, or even entire passage from the Internet (or from a digital document file or pdf) into Voycabulary; you can even paste in a web site's URL. Read the passage and double-click on any word for an instant look up in the dictionary. For many examples of how a word is used, look it up in the Web Concordancer. When you have vocabulary or grammar and usage work such as this, always go back to the original passage one more time."

Read Every Day

Read  as much as you can every single day. Carry reading material with you. That way you can pull  out when you are waiting for a bus, at a supermarket line up, or in a bank line up. Read on the  bus, or the sky train.  You can read a lot of material in those "spare moments." The other benefit is hat you will no longer be frustrated when the wait is longer than you expected because you have something to do. Don't limit yourself to "academic reading"  Read all types of material, fiction (stories or novels) as well as non-fiction. Read newspapers, books and magazines -- you actually remember more from reading printed material than reading something on the Internet. Read for different reasons -- study, work or interests,. Most of all, read for pleasure. You will find that the more you read, the more you will enjoy reading. 

Resources To Help You Improve Your Reading  


Diagnostic : How Well Do You Read? 
Mixed Skills  Reading Practice
Each of these quizzes displays a passage from a college textbook, followed by some questions about the reading. You can use these quizzes as extra practice for the reading topics in your textbook.

Videos on Specific Strategies to Improve Reading Speed

Speed Reading  and Comprehension Practice
Read each of the short articles. When you are finished click on the Reading Time button. Then, do the comprehension exercises. Try to do them without looking back at the article.
 Critical Thinking Skill Reading Practice
Highly recommended for building your critical thinking skills. Do five exercises a day and you will find that your reading improves a lot. Put yourself under time pressure. Take a MAXIMUM of 10 minutes a car. Try to get it down to 5 or 6 minutes. .  
Skill Based Reading Practice

Vocabulary Questions from Reading  Passages
Essential Information and Specific Details 

Patterns of Organization/Relationships between Ideas   

Comprehension Questions in Fiction 
with Skilled Based Practices

The Skill Based Reader:   
Highly Recommended   This is an 11 chapter online textbook by Longman Publishers. It includes focused practice on specific reading skills:how to approach reading, dictionary
use, context clues, building vocabulary skills, main idea and topic,details, patterns of organization, transitions, implied main ideas and inference.
The Skilled Reader: 44 Chapter Review and Mastery tests

Townsend Press Learning Center 

Highly recommended . The Townsend Press College Reading Skills series is one of the  best known and highly used academic reading series in North America. In addition to the textbooks, Townsend Press has an online learning center where you can practice all specific reading skills at different levels ( context clues, main idea, implied main idea, details, patterns of organization,relationships between ideas, transitions, inference, fact and opinion, summarizing etc. 

Canadian Content from Canadian Corner 
Intermediate Practice Reading
 Reading in the Real World: CLB Type Reading 
(Canadian Language Benchmark)  
How well do you understand the things you need to read in your real life - at work, on holidays or at home? 

Advanced  Reading Practice 

Short Readings about History Topics 

From Frankie's ESOL Worksheets   
Advanced Reading Comprehension from English Daily.com
MC = multiple choice questions
SA = Short Answer questions 

Read and Listen to Short Stories Narrated by VOICE OF
AMERICA (Some have quizzes. Some do not) 
These are all intermediate level reading and listening passages. The reading is slowed down considerably.


Strange News Stories from Around the World (All levels)


I am beginning to put some of my own exercises in these pages. Try the first one and see what you think. Make sure you read the instructions . 

Readings from Other Sources 

Readings about Scientific and Environment Topics:  

Interesting Short Readings with  Exercises

Reading About Jobs and Work 

Short Stories:  
Thomas Hardy Short Stories ( a collection of 55 stories)  

8 Science Fiction Short Stories for Middle School Interesting Authentic Articles with Practice Exercises

You are what you read!
Do you read your daily news stories from a variety of sources or just one?  For links 
to online news sources and different perspectives from around the world, click HERE.

Interesting Short Articles on a Wide Range of Topics: 
 These articles do NOT have comprehension exercises

Longer Interesting Articles I Recommend


I have compiled a list of links where students can practice reading by reading graphic novels
or manga comics. 


  1. An amazing web-site with tons of useful links. Thanks a lot for all your work, Michelle.

    1. I'm glad the website is helpful. I do it for you, so I really appreciate your comment.


    2. Thanks thousands, Michelle. It is very useful. GBU.

  2. A great source where all important links are available.
    Thanks for the source.

  3. Hey, Your blog is very informative. It is nice to read such high-quality content. Attractive information on your blog, thank you for taking the time and share with us.The experts of our help with strategic assignment provide custom dissertation for you within the time that you provide us Myassignmenthelp delivers high-quality content related to Marketing management assignment sample.


  4. Commendable work, cheer to the author! we provide good quality ethic based Assignment Help .

  5. I suggest everyone to choose My Assignment Help Australia for getting the best guidance in their academia. The proficient experts assist as per the requirements and learning styles desired by the university.

  6. Do you know, The concept of Clinical Reasoning Cycle by Lavett Jones
    The most important part of Clinical Reasoning Cycle is 8 phases of Clinical Reasoning Cycle Which are
    1. Considering the Patient Situation
    2. Gathering The Data
    3. Process The Gathered Data
    4. Recognising The Problem
    5. Setting Goals
    6. Taking Actions
    7. Analyzing
    8. Reflecting on The Process


If you do not have a web site, or a Google account, click on Name/URL and simply leave your name. You do NOT need to be a member to leave a comment.