• Parent Resources

    Here are some useful ideas for helping your child learn English! 
    Several of the books and websites are also used in our ESL classroom.  Enjoy!


    Sesame Street

    The American children’s TV series has produced solid, educational content for over 40 years. The series features short segments, videos, and songs targeted to very young children, content that is highly appropriate for young English learners of ages 3-5. The best part about theSesame Street videos is that teachers can access them in multiple ways. SesameStreet.org has a Videopage where you can access very short video segments that help children polish their counting skills, for example, or say the alphabet in English, among many others.

    You can also watch the videos on Sesame Street’s YouTube Channel, or order the videos from Amazon.



    Charlie Brown

    Charlie Brown is a boy that most children can easily relate to. He has a group of friends he likes to play baseball with, and has a dog – a very special one. Snoopy is not your typical canine buddy, but we would love to have a dog like him. This is why the Peanuts cartoons have fascinated children of all ages for decades. Several movies and TV specials have been made based on the Peanuts gang, the most popular and the best ones to watch with your ESL children being the holiday specials like It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or A Charlie Brown Christmas.



    Animated Classics and Feature Films

    As far as animated or feature-length children’s films go, the sky’s the limit. There is a large variety to choose from, but for the purposes of your child learning English, please remember the following: it’sessential that you choose a movie, not only for the entertainment value, but one that is a good fit for your student’s ages and levels. As these movies are longer, you may opt to show just one scene or a few, and not the entire film. If you choose any of the classics you may have the added advantage that your students will probably have already seen them in their native language, thus giving them better chances of following the plot and dialogue.

    Some of the classics we recommend are:

    Toy Story 1, 2 or 3

    Puss in Boots

    Finding Nemo

    Disney Movies: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King,Cinderella, etc.


    Mr. Bean Movies

    If you arelooking for movies to show absolute beginners (not so much for language comprehension, but just for fun), Mr. Bean episodes, especially Merry Christmas Mr. Bean, always get a good laugh.


    Blue’s Clues

       A TV series from NickJr. geared for preschoolers to learn.




    Reading Rainbow

      A PBS TV services that encourages children to read books. It reads books and discusses them with children. 


    Dora the Explorer

    A Nick Jr. TV series. Dora, the main character, is an eight-year-old girl who embarks on a trip in every episode in order to find something or help somebody. She asks the viewers at home to help her find new ways to reach places with the help of Map. She also teaches viewers Spanish, introducing them to short words and phrases.




    By Eric Carle:
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar
    From Head to Toe
    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? series

    By Maurice Sendak:
    Chicken Soup with Rice
    Alligators All Around
    One Was Johnny

    By Joy Cowley:
    Dan the Flying Man
    Dan Goes Home
    Mrs. Wishy-Washy (There are a series of Mrs. Wishy-Washy books.)
    The Meanies
    The Birthday Cake
    The Dancing Fly
    Grandpa Grandpa
    The Gotcha Box
    (I can go on and on. She has so many great books for emergent readers. Joy Cowley is worth looking into.)

    By Ezra Jack Keats:
    The Snowy Day
    Whistle for Willie
    Peter's Chair

    By Leo Lionni:
    Inch by Inch
    A Color of his Own

    The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
    Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
    Are You My Mother? and Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman

    All of these books possess language structures, patterns, and rhymes that aregreat for elementary ELL students, not to mention beautiful illustrations, most notably in books by Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, and LeoLionni.



    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

    My Five Senses

    I Went Walking

    Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear?








    English for Children (1). 100 easy short storiesfor kids who have just started to learn English.

    • Wacky Web Tales. Geared for grades 3 and above. Check back monthly for new tales!
    • Story Place. The Preschool Library and Elementary Library with new activities and themes being added each month.
    • Picture Books. Free online picture books by professional illustrator and Writer Dandi Palmer.



         Stories will be read aloud to children.



    Holiday Fun 
    With the holiday season here, there are several ways to enjoy the many different cultures in Pittsburgh.

    Santas From Around the Worlds
     This is a free exhibit at the PPG Plaza downtown!  "The Spirit of Giving From Around the World" features a Christmas tree and life-size Santa figures representing 16 different countries.  Each figurine wears traditional clothing and has a description of the holiday that is celebrated.  Look for more details here:

    The Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning
    The Nationality Rooms are located on the first and third floors of the Catherdral of Learning.  They were designed and built to represent the many different immigrant groups that were settling in Allegheny County.  They are also used as classrooms by the University of Pittsburgh.  For a small fee, you can view these rooms and see the wonderful holiday decorations from some countries.  Tours are conducted year round.  Look here for more information:

Last Modified on October 17, 2013