Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
How Good Is Your English? Page Vocabulary

How strong is your English vocabulary? Complete this activity to measure your vocabulary size. 

Page Reading Comprehension
Assess how well you understand what you read in English. You may attempt this activity again after you have completed this course to see if your comprehension has improved.
Page Grammar

Find out if you know the parts of speech in the English language that you will not only need for this course, but also for a lifetime of learning!

URL ESL002 Discussion: Desert Island Survival

You have been instructed to leave your country immediately and move to a deserted island, where you will live for a year. On the island, there are only coconut trees, monkeys, and fish in the surrounding water. You are allowed to bring FIVE objects to the island that can fit in one large bag. What will you bring and why?

Consider the following scenario below from a variety of angles. Then, share your thoughts on the discussion forum. Make sure to review and respond to one or two other students' posts as well.

  • Tell us FIVE objects you will bring to a desert island and why you selected them.
1.1: Simple Present Tense Page Present Tense

Verbs in English are used to show action, and the way we use them can tell a reader if an action happened in the past or is happening right now. To show an action is happening now, we use the present tense. Simple present tense uses just the verb and its form, or conjugation, to tell the reader what action is taking place. Read this article to better understand how English uses the three main tenses: present, past, and future. Then listen to the lesson on simple present tense and complete the exercises.


1.2: Simple Past Tense Page Past Tense

Just like simple present tense, simple past tense uses the verb's forms, or conjugations, to show that an action happened in the past. By changing a verb you can let your reader know that something has already happened. Listen to the lesson on simple present tense and complete the exercises.


1.3: Present Perfect Using "To Be" Verbs Page Present Perfect Tense

The more words you learn, the more you'll want to connect them in sentences. The verb "to be" conjugates very differently from other verbs, but using it can link words together or help other verbs be more clear for a reader. "To be", and other verbs like it, are called auxiliary and linking verbs. "To be" is also used to write about the past when something may have happened many times or the time it happened isn't known. Read this article for more information on auxiliary and linking verbs, then complete the exercise.

URL Unit 1 Discussion: Writing in Present and Past Tense

In this unit, you learned how to recognize past and present verbs. Now it’s time to practice making sentences of your own in past and present tense. Write FIVE sentences in present tense describing things you do every day and then convert them to past tense. Then, share your thoughts on the discussion forum. Make sure to review and respond to one or two other students' posts as well.

2.1: Skim a Reading Page Skimming

When we see page with a lot of information on it, we can become intimidated and not want to read any further. When we worry about what we may not understand, it's easy to get discouraged. Skimming is a strategy that helps you read over something quickly to see what you already know and get an idea of what the reading may be about. Skimming can help you understand a reading and prepare to read the whole thing. Read this article on skimming strategies. When you're done, complete the activity "Applying for a Job". 

2.2: Ask Questions Page Questioning

When we read, it can be helpful to ask questions about a text before, during, and after reading to improve your understanding of the text. This strategy lets you think about what you already know and why you need to read something, what is going on in a reading, and what you learned from it when you are finished. Keeping track of the answers to your questions can help you remember what you've read, too. Watch the video below and review the asking questions guide. Then complete the asking questions activity.

Page Ask These Questions

When you are faced with something new to read it's not uncommon to be a little afraid you won't understand it. Taking a new reading in small pieces can help you understand a complicated reading. For this exercise, you'll read "The Most Amazing Structure on Earth".

3.1: Understanding Descriptions Page What is Description?

Descriptions add detail to what we read and help the reader "see" what the writer is thinking. When we know how different descriptive words are used, we can better understand their meaning and build our vocabulary. In this article, you will read about descriptions and adjectives. An adjective is a word that describes a noun (a person, a place, or a thing). Read this article for an understanding of how adjectives give us information about something so we can better understand it.

Page Modifiers: Adjectives and Adverbs

Similar to an adjective, an adverb describes a verb and offers the reader more information about an action. As a writer, adjectives and adverbs let you give your reader more information so your ideas are clearer. This article discusses how adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, and how adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

3.2: Do I Use an Adjective or an Adverb? Page Mistaking Adjectives and Adverbs

Since adjectives and adverbs are both describing words, you can use them the same way, right? Nope! Adjectives and adverbs have different uses and tell the reader different things. Knowing when each is used helps you understand what you're reading and write more clearly. Building your vocabulary of describing words will also help you use them correctly. Read this article about comparing adjectives and adverbs, and complete the exercise at the end to practice using adjectives and adverbs correctly. 

Page Let's Go on a WebQuest!

This exercise is called a WebQuest. To complete this activity, you’ll review three links related to writing a business plan, complete three tasks that require descriptions, and reflect on what you learn. These tasks will help you build a stronger vocabulary by showing you how descriptions can help you learn new words.

4.1: Reading About the Past Page Timelines

When reading, keep an eye out for clues that tell you when things happen. The verb conjugations you learned in Unit 1 and certain phrases like "last week" and "yesterday" will tell you if an event happened in the past or is happening now. Using these tools will help you follow an article's timeline and the order of its events. Listen to the lesson on using a timeline when reading about the past, then complete the exercise.

Page Make a Timeline

In this section, you will create a timeline of events for a story.

4.2: Writing About the Past Page Write About the Past

The story of Nellie McClure uses past tense and phrases about time to tell the reader when things occur. It is clear to the reader from the story's beginning that it is not taking place today. You can use these same tools to write about your past. Read this presentation and complete the activity to write five sentences about what you did last week. Don't worry about errors yet, you'll review your sentences and make corrections later.

4.3: Review Your Writing Page Basic Writing/Proofreading

Any time you write something for school or work, you need to take time to check it for errors. This can be hard to do, so many people find it helpful to use checklists and go one step at a time. Now that you have five sentences about what you did last week, it's time to check your work. Read this article on proofreading your writing. When you're done, use the checklist to review the sentences your wrote about what you did last week, then share your sentences in the discussion forum and see what daily activities your classmates complete. If you wish, reply to your classmates' daily activities.

Page Self-Assessment Checklist

You wrote five sentences about things you did last week using the past tense skills from Unit 1, adjectives and adverbs from Unit 3, and timelines from earlier in Unit 4. Good work! The next step is to edit your writing so that you can share it with others. Use the checklist below to review each sentence for errors. Correct any errors you find. When you're done, post your sentences in the class discussion forum. If you wish. Be sure to print or download the checklist so that you can save it for future use. 

URL Unit 4 Discussion: Review Your Writing

Share your edited writing in the discussion forum and see what daily activities your classmates complete. Make sure to review and respond to one or two other students' posts as well.

Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey