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10 Apps That Will Keep Your Adult ESL Students Learning English All Summer Long

10 Apps That Will Keep Your Adult ESL Students Learning English All Summer Long

What are your adult English as a Second Language (ESL) students doing this summer to avoid the summer learning loss? K-12 students attend an average of 30 hours of school a week and lose one month’s worth of academic achievement during summer break.  So, what does that say for our adult learners who only attend three to six hours of class a week during the school year? 

One way to help our students to avoid summer learning loss is by introducing them to English learning apps that are motivating and fun for them to use. Today, 100% of my ESL students have a smartphone in class. We need to use this opportunity to encourage our students to keep learning during their little breaks—breaks at work, waiting in line at a store or doctor’s office, waiting for their kids at school, downtime before bed—so that they avoid losing their learned English skills, especially during their busy summer.

4 Free English Apps for Summer 2019

The XPRIZE Community Competition is running this summer with efforts to improve adult literacy across the nation. Teams compete to get the most adult learners to download one (or more) of the four winning English apps and login at least three times on separate days. The PeopleForWords team’s website shows a timeline of the complete XPRIZE competition which started back in 2015. 

How does each XPRIZE app work?

The four winners in the Adult Literacy XPRIZE app competition are below. All apps are free to all users during the competition (April 1 – August 31, 2019) and free for Android users through August 31, 2020. Anyone can download the apps for free during the competition but only Android users will be counted in the competition. Research showed that the majority of adult English Language Learners (ELLs) use Android devices so the app competition only required the developers to create an Android app.

1 ) Learning Upgrade

Students learn English and math through music, videos, and games. As they master the content, they earn awards and certificates.

  • 21 total courses from Kinder to Adult Ed
  • 900+ lessons with songs, video, and games
  • English, reading, math and GED® prep

Free during competition

Students learn English by solving puzzles in this online adventure and discovering the lost language of Atlantis.

  • Solve puzzles to build literacy
  • Practice everyday skills
  • Play in English or Spanish
  • Visit real-world locations
  • Unlock the secrets of Atlantis


Students learn English through listening to audio lessons and answering questions via text messaging.

  • Designed for mobile learning through mini-lessons
  • Meets evidence-based learner needs
  • Focuses on skills required for work and daily life
  • Internet, smartphone, or computer are not required

Free during competition

Students learn English through life skills and non-fiction stories with available Spanish support. They can receive a digital certificate at the end of each level.

  • Engaging games
  • Picture dictionary
  • Reading library
  • Family learning
  • Captivating stories & articles
  • Spanish support
  • Alphabet & word-making videos
  • Tests & Certificates


Want to learn more about the XPRIZE competition?

The ProLiteracy XPRIZE team website (which is the team I joined) provides tutorial videos on how to set-up the apps, recorded webinars about the competition, a ProLiteracy XPRIZE Team Toolkit to help familiarize participants with the competition and XPRIZE apps, as well as provides sample copy for email and social media publicity.

ProLiteracy XPRIZE Team Code: 1155

Other FREE English learning apps for adult ELLs

Students learn English (and other languages) through music videos, movie scenes, and TV show clips by filling in or selecting the missing lyrics.

  • Multiple genres 
  • Three speeds of songs
  • Four levels of difficulty 

ESL Levels: High-beginner to Advanced

Students learn English through videos and quizzes.

  • New videos uploaded daily
  • Quizzes to test understanding
  • Notifications to encourage continual learning
  • Program categories: Everyday English, Learn English with the News, Business English, Grammar, Vocabulary and Pronunciation
  • Programs include: The English We Speak, 6 Minute English, English at Work, English in a Minute, Tim’s Pronunciation Workshop, LingoHack, News Review, and more

ESL Levels: Intermediate to Advanced

7-10 ) USA Learns:  English 1, English 2, English 3, English 4

The web-based USA Learns Course 1 for beginners is broken down into four apps: English 1, English 2, English 3, English 4. Students learn English through engaging videos, interactive games and puzzles, and quizzes.

  • Video-based lessons focusing on life skills with interactive games and activities
  • Incorporates reading, writing, listening, and speaking, along with pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar practice.

ESL Levels: Beginner to High-beginner

teacher preparing lesson with technology

ESL EdTech Jumpstart

Get started implementing technology into your adult ESL classrom with these 6 essential tech tools and activities!

Check your email for you download!

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