English as an Additional Language

What is English as an Additional Language?

EAL is short for English as an Additional Language. The acronym is used to describe the teaching of English where the language is not the first which a person learns. Sometimes you might hear a different acronym, such as ESLEnglish as a Second Language. It has a similar, though different, meaning.

EAL refers to the teaching of English to pupils who’s primary language is not English or Welsh. As pupils can be fluent in multiple languages, the term additional is used instead of second.

Learners of all ages and backgrounds may have varying levels of English knowledge, with some learning the basics and others having foundational knowledge. Being an EAL learner or not, is not necessarily an indication of ethnicity or culture, or place of birth or origin.

In some places, you may hear it referred to as English/Welsh as an Additional Language.

Top 3 Resources for EAL Learners​

The following three websites are useful for EAL teachers and learners, and have a wide range of resources.

Websites for EAL Learners

The following curated list of websites have a specific resources, advice, and support for EAL, ESL, general English language learning, and dual language / multilingual learners.

British Council

  1. LearnEnglish Kids by the British Council
    Lots of free songs, stories and activities for children to support learning of English including online games to play to practice English – suitable for ages 5 to 12.


  1. LearnEnglish Teens by the British Council
    Reading, writing and listening practice for older children and young adults, tips for exams, grammar and vocabulary exercises, games and videos; aimed at 13 to 17 year olds.

  2. LearnEnglish Apps by the British Council
    A collection of apps to help you learn and improve your English using your mobile device, suitable for both Android and iPhone. Suitable for all.

Other Free EAL Resources

  1. EAL Hub by Inclusion Hub
    Inclusion Hub offer many resources suitable for EAL learners at different stages.

    They also support general literacy needs. There are 3 Tiers:

    * Tier 1 is for EAL learners at the beginning of their journey.
    * Tier 2 focusses mainly on vocabulary development.
    * Tier 3 looks at developing language skills to a further stage.

    There are free resources in each section, but others can only be accessed through a paid subscription.


  2. Anglomaniacy
    This is a site for children who are learning English as a Second Language, or English as an Additional Language.

    Anglomaniacy includes online lessons, activities, games, songs and hundreds of printable worksheets that can help with learning English.


  3. Breaking News English
    Free, ready-to-use ESL lesson plans based on the latest breaking news from around the world.

    7 different levels available across different activities. Therefore suited to different pupils at different levels of EAL acquisition.

    Activities are designed to be teacher-led but tasks included could be undertaken by individuals.

    New lessons are uploaded every 2 days.

    Resources include PDFs containing all-skills activities, 5-speed listening activities, multi-speed scrolled reading, interactive dictation, and 30+ online quizzes.

  4. Many Things
    Many Things is for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL).

    There are daily resources, quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random sentence generator, and other computer assisted language learning activities.


  5. English for Everybody
    English language courses for young learners, beginners, elementary, intermediate, advanced.

    Includes games, video tutorials, grammar exercises etc. Suitable for use on smartphones and tablets.

  6. English Banana
    This site offers more than 4,000 pages of free printable resources for teaching and learning English and ESL.

    Suitable for all ages. English Banana offers English course books, podcasts, and can be used for both commercial and non-commercial activities.


  7. Games to Learn English

    Games to Learn English is a website offers online ESL games.

    Rather than being focused on curriculum content, the website provides primary  school aged learners with exposure to listening whilst also allowing them to play games to practice vocabulary and grammar.

  8. ABCYa!
    An American site providing online interactive games.

    It provides exposure to subject content through an English-medium with access to lots of written and spoken English language models in the games.

    This is especially good for narrated stories that highlight the text as its being read aloud.

Resources for Parents and Teachers

For parents and teachers, the following sites are good for supporting newly arrived EAL pupils with their learning, especially those who are new to English (Stage A) and at the early acquisition stage (Stage B).

Resources for Teachers
Quizlet is an American online study app that allows pupils to study information via learning tools and games. It trains pupils via flashcards and various games and tests. It is useful for vocabulary revision and consolidation.
Create your own interactive learning games using vocabulary or questions and answers. Educandy turns your content into interactive activities for children, and includes an interactive whiteboard.
The Bell Foundation - EAL Programme
Professional development (CPD) courses designed to develop the expertise and confidence of teachers to better support learners who use EAL.
English Language Support Programme (Ireland)
Over 10,000 pages of activities in PDF format linked to the Irish curriculum. Designed for use in secondary schools. All resources and classroom activities can be downloaded and printed. Activities are suitable for classroom use, homework and self-study.

Free Ebooks for EAL Learners

The following stories and ebooks offer a vast array of learning opportunities for English learners of all levels.

EAL Stories and Books
International Children's Digital Library
Online books for children in many languages. The website aims to enable families to have access to the books of their culture and language regardless of where they live.
KidsOut - World Stories
World Stories is a growing collection of stories from around the world. The collection includes retold traditional tales and new short stories in the languages most spoken by UK children - over 30 languages available.
Mantra Lingua - Kitabu Dual Language Ebook Library
A paid service. Each book is read aloud in English and another language. There are folk tales, myths, stories of multi-cultural life here in the UK and reference books. Each book has a video and a set of activities to help build children's English language skills.
Storybooks Canada
A free open educational resource that promotes literacy and language learning in homes, schools, and communities. There are 40 African stories available with text and audio in 29 different languages.
Global Storybooks Portal
Global Storybooks is a free multilingual resource for language teachers and learners of all ages. It enables you to read, teach, download listen to, and view illustrated stories in many languages.
Shaun Tann's Books
Picture books at different proficiency levels giving primary and secondary age readers opportunities to develop their higher-order thinking skills by thinking about interpretations of pictures and the story.
Oxford University Press: Graded Readers
English language learning; a series of simplified books written for different levels of proficiency in English which include questions to help learners explore the language.