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English as a
Second Language (ESL)

Come join Let's Speak English, which meets on Tuesdays from 6-7 PM at CLP-Squirrel Hill and on Wednesdays from 5-6 PM at CLP-Main (Oakland) or Let's READ English, which meets on the second Friday of the month at 2 PM at CLP-Main (Oakland).

See also: ESL Resources in Film & Audio


Interactive online language learning program for children. Languages include: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.
Learn Spanish, French, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Mandarin Chinese, Greek, Italian and more or improve your ESL skills, with Mango's interactive web-based lessons.
Mobile App
Remote access (CLP Card)
Interactive online language learning program for children. Languages include: French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish (Latin American or Castilian), and American or British English.
Overdrive also offers downloadable language programs. To access the free software, set up an account, and browse the collection of available OverDrive titles visit Overdrive.

>> More Language Resources...

Selected Books

The American Heritage Dictionary for Learners of English
PE1628.A6229 2002
This is a revised edition of The American Heritage English as a Secondary Language Dictionary (1998) and is specially designed to meet the needs of ESL students.
Azar, Betty Schrampfer and Stacy A. Hagen
Basic English Grammar
PE1128.A96 2006x
This 3rd edition offers concise, accurate, level-appropriate grammar information with an abundance of exercises, contexts, and classroom activities.
Broukal, Milada
All About the USA 4: A Cultural Reader
PE1127.H5 B68 2008 vol. 4
Entertaining and informative, the second edition of All About the USA 4 features twenty-four units about American people, places, and events.
Harvey, William C.
Inglés para latinos. Primer Nivel
q PE1129.S8 H37 2003bx
Ingles para latinos. Nivel dos
q PE1129.S8 H35 2009
These two books (levels 1 & 2) from Barron's for Spanish speakers offers an informal language-learning program designed to teach Hispanics in the United States and Canada a practical working knowledge of English. Includes 3 sound discs.
Hauck, Maurice Cogan with Kenneth MacDougall
12 American Voices: An Authentic Listening and Integrated-Skills Text
PE1128.H39 2002
Designed for non-native speakers of English, Twelve American Voices presents a series of entertaining and culturally rich radio documentaries by award-winning producer David Isay. These stories, which were first broadcast on National Public Radio, focus on a range of individuals living and working in contemporary America.
Hill, Monica
Harsh Words: English Words for Chinese Learners
PE1130.C4 H594 2005x
Monica Hill taught English at the University of Hong Kong and concentrates on the most common errors Chinese learners commit in English.
Strausser, Jeffrey and Jose Paniza
Painless English for Speakers of Other Languages
PE1128.S885 2007
Part of Barron's Educational Series, this book will be of special value to middle school students and high school students growing up in families where English is not the first language.
Words their Way with English Learners: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling
q PE1128.A2 W667 2012x
The book is modeled after the word study approach, Words Their Way™, and is designed primarily to support teachers working with students from a wide range of home languages as they learn to read and write in English.

Rapid Reads:

Rapid Reads is a line of well-written short novels and non-fiction books for adult readers that can be read in one sitting and are designed for ESL students and reluctant readers.

Chapman, Brenda
The Second Wife
Gwen Lake is a forty-five-year-old police officer with a desk job, an ex-husband and a future not even close to the American dream... (107 pages)
Wagamese, Richard
The Next Sure Thing
Cree Thunderboy wants to be the next great blues man and has a knack for picking winning horses. A race track rogue offers to record Cree's first CD in return for racehorse tips, as long as they are sure bets... (134 pages)
Sale, Medora
The Spider Bites
When detective Rick Montoya returns to the city to try to clear his name after being accused of taking a bribe, he discovers someone is living in his apartment, which mysteriously goes up in flames...

Browse the Catalog

To find books in the library catalog on learning or teaching English as a second language, browse the subject headings:

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Web Sites

  • Colorín Colorado
    Colorín Colorado is a web-based service that provides information, activities, and advice for Spanish-speaking parents and educators of English language learners (ELLs).
  • Connect With English
    This language learning site at Annenberg Media's, offers language learning videos online. Signup is free. In Connect with English, a young woman’s story is used to teach English as a second language. Video series for college and high school classrooms and adult learners.
  • GCF Learn Free: Learn English
    Free online language program for learning English.
  • La Mansion del Ingles
    This is a free site aimed at Spanish speakers and dedicated to the study of the English language.
  • Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary
    Offers help with common words found in informal conversation and pronunciation. Allows you to create your own dictionary.
  • Modern Language Association: Map of Languages in the United States
    The MLA Language Map uses data from the 2000 United States census to display the locations and numbers of speakers of thirty languages and three groups of less commonly spoken languages in the United States, illustrating the concentration of language speakers in zip codes and counties.
    The official site of the "Test of English as a Foreign Language", an Educational Testing Service program that provides the English proficiency test for international students planning to study in the United States. Included in the site are information about the test and locations where the test is administered. The test is given in Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh and at Sylvan Learning Centers.

Pittsburgh Region

  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit: English as a Second Language for Adults (ACCESL)
    The ESL program seeks to help any non-English-speaking person to learn American English. The program enrolls approximately 1000 students from 50 countries each year.
  • Duquesne University: English as a Second Language
    The ESL Program offers semi-intensive and intensive English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. The ESLP also offers specially designed short-term language training for group participants through advanced-notice arrangements.
  • Echo International
    Echo International welcomes business professionals, students, spouses and anyone who is interested in learning English as a Second Language. Customized one-on-one private and group courses. Intensive and semi-intensive ESL courses. Flexible scheduling. Classes offered Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-7:00 pm, and Saturdays. Prices dependent on course length and number of students. Courses offered: American Business English, Beginner English, English for Medical Professionals, TOEFL and GMAT preparation.
  • Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania
    The Goodwill Literacy Initiative (GLI) offers English as a Second Language (ESP/ESL) classes for non-native English speakers of all English proficiency levels.
  • Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council
    Offers conversational English courses for adults whose native language is not English.
  • International Women's Association of Pittsburgh
    An organization for women of all ages that helps international women learn about and adjust to life in the US and Pittsburgh. They offer informal English conversation classes. They also offer a List of ESL programs in Pittsburgh.
  • University of Pittsburgh English Language Institute
    Designed for international students who want to improve their English. Also offers evening programs for part-time students, a summer language and culture program, an intensive, 5-week seminar for international students in international affairs, and a pre-MBA course.

Last updated Friday July 12 2013.