English as a Second Language Resources

Urbana-Champaign is especially rich in offerings for people starting their study of English and for advanced students improving their conversational skills. Native English speakers hoping to expand their horizons can interact with the local international community. Here is an overview of some of the opportunities available locally.

Resources in the Library

Urbana residents may obtain library cards to borrow the resources listed below. Champaign residents with Champaign Public Library cards may also borrow materials from The Urbana Free Library.

  • The Library has books, book and CD sets, and films to help with the study of English as a Second Language.  Many materials about this topic start with the call number 428.24.
  • For a more complete list, search CU Catalog using keywords “ESL” or “English language foreign speakers.”
  • Special DVDs feature on-screen displays of text to read-along, listen, or download as an MP3. Use the call number DVD / 808.83 to locate these materials in the Educational DVD collection (second floor).
  • Many of the LIbrary's DVDs provide closed captioning in English.
  • Many Books on Disc are also available in print format, so you can read-long as you listen.
  • The Library provides a collection of grammar/language texts and other volumes of simplified English in our special Adult Education Section.  The collection is located on the second floor between the 400 and 500 Dewey sections. 
  • Meeting rooms for group study or tutoring sessions are also available and may be reserved in advance. 
  • Cardholders from The Urbana Free Library have free remote access to Mango Languages, an online resource that offers courses in learning English for speakers of 21 different languages. Everyone can use Mango in the Library. The service provides multiple exercises as well as blogs, films, words of the day, and more. After you create an account, download the Mango Languages app, and take the lessons with you as you learn.
  • For more information, contact Adult Services at 217-367-4405 or reference@urbanafree.org.
Questions?  Stop by the Adult & Youth Services reference desk on the second floor or call 217-367-4405. 
 
 

Conversation Groups

These are informal groups of ESL students and native English speakers who meet on a regular basis both to practice speaking English and to make new friends.  Some of these groups are affiliated with the University of Illinois but all local residents are welcome at their gatherings. Call to verify times and locations.

ConvoPartners Program (Conversational Partners)
(for native English-speaking volunteers)
    University of Illinois Intensive English Program
    217-333-6598
    convopartners@illinois.edu
    www.iei.illinois.edu/get-involved
       
Cosmo Coffee Hours
    1001 South Wright Street, Champaign
    217-337-1500
    www.universityymca.org/global/cosmo
       
English Corner:  Conversational English Practice
    810 West Oregon Street, Urbana
    217-344-5711
    englishcornerui@gmail.com
    illinoisaxiom.com/english-corner/
      
Global Partners
    www.linguistics.illinois.edu/students/esl/ESLopportunities.html

International Hospitality  Committee
    isss.illinois.edu/involved/intl_hospitality.html

International Women’s Connection
    Twin City Bible Church
    810 West Michigan Street, Urbana  
    217-344-0641
    Ruth Krehbiel 217-384-3085
    rkrehbiel@isiwebnet.net
       
Wesley Foundation, International Coffee Hour (ETC. Coffeehouse)
    1203 West Green Street, Urbana
    217-344-1120
    wesleyui.org/international/

 

Formal Classes in English as a Second Language

Free Classes

Conversational English Classes
    First United Methodist Church
    304 South Race Street, Urbana
    217-367-8384
    www.fumc-urbana.org/conversational-english-class/

Parkland College Adult and Workforce Education
Basic communication skills for everyday life.
    2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign
    217-351-2580
    www2.parkland.edu/awe/

Parkland College Project READ
    2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign
    217-353-2662
    www.parkland.edu/resources/adulted/literacy.aspx

Urbana Adult Education
    211 North Race Street, Urbana
    217-384-3530
    www.usd116.org/adult/

Weekday ESL classes
    First Presbyterian Church of Champaign
    302 West Church Street, Champaign
    217-356-7238
    www.firstchurchchampaign.org/esl

 

Fee-based Classes

The English Center
    University YMCA
    1001 South Wright Street, Champaign  
    217-344-3310
    www.englishcenterUSA.com

Parkland College International Center
    2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign   
    217-351-2890
    www.parkland.edu/international/

University of Illinois Approved Private Tutor list
    4080 Foreign Language Building
    707 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana   
    217-333-3438
    www.linguistics.illinois.edu/students/esl/AboutTutors.html

University of Illinois Intensive English Institute
    616 E Green Suite 210 Champaign IL 61820
    217-333-6598
    www.iei.uiuc.edu

University of Illinois Special English Class
(for non-UI Students)
    3072 Foreign Language Building
    707 South Mathews Avenue, Urbana   
    SECatUIUC@gmail.com
    publish.illinois.edu/special-english-class/

http://www.engvid.com

 

Other Resources

East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center
    302 Birch St., Urbana
    217-344-8455
    www.ecirmac.weebly.com
This organization offers a full range of services for the international community.  While they do not offer ESL classes, they are a good starting point for up-to-date information on classes, tutors, and translators.

 

Online Resources

BBC: Learning English
    www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/

Improve English language skills with a wide variety of short courses, quizzes, grammar, vocabulary, audio, and videos.

Duolingo
    www.duolingo.com/

Learn languages (including English) while playing online language-based games, quizzes, and challenges. In addition to Duolingo’s regular desktop web site, Duolingo also has apps for all
the popular mobile operating systems.

Englishyappr.com
    en.englishyappr.com

Learn English by watching videos from native speakers about music, celebrities, news, American culture, and more. Videos include transcriptions, translations, and a dictionary.

EngVid
    www.engvid.com

Learn English and other languages for free with 165+ video lessons by experienced native-speaker teachers, covering grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, TOEFL, and more.

New York Public Library
    tinyurl.com/yhqpozo

NYPL has compiled a comprehensive list of free services, sites, and online communities that are useful to ESL and other language learners.