23 Great Websites for WebQuests

WebQuests are a fun way for learners to develop their reading skills (skimming, scanning, reading for gist and detail) and become more digitally literate. With the explosion of mobile technology, learners are already doing a large percentage of their reading online, whether in their mother tongue or English. Their classroom reading should reflect this.

A WebQuest (a reading exercise based around a single or multiple websites) is one way to bring online reading into our classes. However, finding the right website for students to read is not easy. They must be age-appropriate, valid and, above all else, engaging. In this blog post I will provide links to some websites that I have used successfully in the past and others I would like to use in the future.

But before we turn to the websites, let’s look at the procedure for creating a WebQuest.

  1. The teacher looks through the chosen website, making sure it is age-appropriate, level-appropriate and suits the aims of their lesson.
  2. The teacher writes comprehension questions (graded to their learners’ level – remember:grade the task; not the text) and importantly keeps a note of the answers. These questions could be simple comprehension questions (multiple-choice, gap fill, cloze, true or false) or they could be more open-ended, encouraging reflection and digital literacy.  For example, they could ask students to give their opinion on the layout of the website or to evaluate the validity and reliability of the information in the site.
  3. In class, students carry out the WebQuest on their own or in pairs to encourage communication and pool resources.

Below are 20 websites that I believe offer learners a fun, engaging and safe way to develop reading skills and digital literacy.

Animals and the environment

  1. http://blog.explore.org/ and http://explore.org/live-cams/player/african-animal-lookout-camera
  2. http://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/
  3. http://www.worldwildlife.org/
  4. http://www.mantatrust.org/
  5. http://uk.whales.org/
  6. http://www.rspca.org.uk/home
  7. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/ng-interactive/2014/nov/10/palm-oil-rainforest-cupboard-interactive
  8. http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday
  9. https://www.earthhour.org/

Literature

  1. https://www.roalddahl.com/
  2. http://www.rickriordan.co.uk/home
  3. https://www.pottermore.com/
  4. http://www.neilgaiman.com/
  5. http://www.terrypratchettbooks.com/

Travel and tourism

  1. https://www.visitengland.com/
  2. http://www.visitwales.com/
  3. https://www.visitscotland.com/
  4. http://www.ireland.com/

Sport

  1. http://premierskillsenglish.britishcouncil.org/
  2. http://www.wimbledon.com/index.html

Science

  1. http://www.mars-one.com/
  2. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

History

  1. http://www.britishmuseum.org/

If anyone has any other recommendations for good sites for WebQuests, I would love to hear them.

Until next time,

The Text Chat Teacher

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Author: markjoliver

My name is Mark J. Oliver. I'm from Gloucestershire, England. After Graduating from Cardiff University and a brief spell working in London, Brighton and Gloucester, I left the UK to start teaching English as a foreign language. Over the last fourteen years, I've lived and taught in Australia, Japan, Brazil, Portugal, Thailand, Singapore, Lebanon, Borneo, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. I have a Cambridge Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults and an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. I love teaching and I'm advocate of integrating technology into language learning. Inspired by my travels and the cast of incredible characters I met along the way, I set out to write my first novel, The Rift Rider, in 2013. I followed this up with my second novel, The Alliance of Remarkable Landlords, in 2015. They are both available, exclusively on Amazon. In addition to teaching and teacher training, I create English language learning and teaching materials. So far, I've published the blended learning teacher's resource book, Text Chat Activities: A Resource Book for Language Teachers, and two digital graded readers, Brian British: Part-Time Teacher, Full-Time Detective, and The Dragon Thief . I regularly post English Language Teaching articles on my blog - textchatteacher.wordpress.com - and in May 2016 was published in Modern English Teacher and English Australia Journal. In my free time I enjoy surfing, scuba diving, exploring, watching Gloucester RFC and sipping a fine ale in the comforts of good pub.

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