Breaking News English website for ESL?

I just fired off a letter to Sean Banville. He is the owner of various English study websites asking permission /copyright authorization to copy, include, and the republishing of same to a OER2GO module to be distributed / republished on Rachael. Hopefully we will hear back from him soon

I have used his Breaking News English website while I was working in Thailand several years back and found it a valuable resource.

Here is a couple of links to those sites. I am expecting he will agree to the publication as he already teachers and students to use the material or free.

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Hi Jeremy,

When I first found this community and learned about Rachael a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I thought it would be very useful to include content from the Breaking News English website as a Rachael module. I also mentioned that I would attempt to contact the owner of the content to get permission for World Possible. I am very Happy to report back that Sean Banville the owner of the content and the website has replied and sounds very agreeable to allowing World Possible to include the content from his website for noncommercial use. He has asked me to pass this on to World Possible and you Jeremy to work out the details.

I don’t know if you have had time to check out the links I posted previously to see for yourself how valuable this content would be for an English teacher. The content itself is based off current news stories in the news and is broken down to several levels of learning for the various levels of ability for the students. The content stories range a wide area of interests which I found helpful as a teacher to be able to target the content interests of my students which made the learning a lot of fun for my classes.

Each Breaking News English Lesson includes an mp3 of a native English speaker reporting the news story at the various levels. The more recent lessons have both a British and American English versions also. It is accompanied by a PDF worksheet with the report word for word as reported in the mp3.

Included in each Pdf student worksheet are various activities for the students to work on to support the objectives of the lesson.

These worksheets inclided:

The reading / listening activity,
Targeted vocabulary words
Matching activities
Writing activities
Role play activities
Discussion points and suggestions
Spelling words

As of this post there are 2484 completed lessons available on the Breaking News English website. As I mentioned previously, as an English teacher I found these lessons invaluable to me and my students.

Also, Sean has several more English websites he owns linked to the Breaking News English website. These are of interest also:

Breaking News English. com
Pre-Intermediate +
2,484 lessons

Lessons On
Pre-Intermediate +
65 lessons

ESL Discussions .com
Pre-Intermediate +
705 lessons
14,100 Questions

Famous People Lessons .com
Pre-Intermediate +
165 lessons

ESL Holiday
Lessons .com
Pre-Intermediate +
199 lessons

Business English Materials. com
Pre-Intermediate +
102 lessons

Listen A Minute. com
Elementary -
480 lessons

Lessons On
American Presidents. com
Pre-Intermediate +
43 lessons

News English Lessons. com
326 lessons

Below is the email I received from Sean Banville. I hope my legwork has been useful. He can be contacted at:

Sean Banville


@john, @johnw, @NicoleC – any of you have some time to evaluate and follow up with Sean?

Hi @SiamSam, thank you so much for letting us know about this great resource, and for contacting the owner on our behalf! It looks like it could be a wonderful opportunity for our English-learning users. I’ll contact Sean and see if it will work as a RACHEL module, and will let you know any updates here.

Thanks again,

Hi Nicole,

It was my pleasure to be of assistance in this matter. Sean is a business man and an educator. As a teacher I am sure his inclination is to want to help. Since Rachel is being deployed to places and schools where there is not internet access available I is not in competition with his Web product so satisfied his business propensities.

I found these classes very helpful to break the monotony of the English classes I taught in Thailand. The content of the classes is drawn from actual news articles so also has cultural and current events, and the older ones, historical value to my student’s. I used to gage the interests of my student’s and then chose which the lessons i felt would most interest my students. This was easy using Breaking News English because of the wide range of topics to choose from.

Let me know if I can be of further help.

Carl, aka.SiamSam

Thank you, Carl! It’s always great to hear what resources teachers around the world are using, as they are definitely the kinds of resources we want to continue adding to RACHEL! Hopefully Sean will say yes.

Either way, we’d love to hear any other ideas you may have. Websites that are licensed under a Creative Commons license are always the easiest to share, but it’s true that sometimes creators of copyrighted materials agree to share their content as well.

Thanks again,

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This is great news for those without Internet access. Thanks to both Jeremy and Sean… Question, what is the file format? Would it be possible to download some of the modules and will they maintain their integrity? Given the limited space on a 64 SD card, would it be necessary to have Rachel plus?


Some of those non-news related sites seem great also!

When will the ESL package be part of KA-Lite or Rachel Plus, as well as, when will it be available to download?

@dula do you mean the package we’re talking about in this thread? It has to get evaluated, approved, permissioned, and offlined. It will take two months if everything lines up and this becomes the highest priority item. Looking through the content relative to some more high quality early readers and other items on our content list though, I’m not sure this will be done all that quickly. It will depend on the quality of the content, our staff availability, and other projects in the pipeline.

We don’t manage KA-Lite, that would be Learning Equality. We just include their software.

Hi Siam Sam and others.

I know Sean personally and if I can help out let me know.

I’ve been involved in English language teaching many years and especially as it concerns technology. Currently the Director of Education for EnglishCentral - video based platform for learning English used by Open English and 1,000s more schools.

But just became aware of Rachel and I’m looking into how useful my personal site of leveled readers for ESL and EFL students would be - Appreciate if people here in the forums could access and let me know if useful. I believe so. I’m currently in Guatemala and working with many schools here and it would be great to have on Rachel I believe. I am also in the process of getting all 3,000 books translated into Spanish so a Spanish version could be available.

Happy to be here and learn more about Rachel.


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Hi David,

Good to hear from you. I am not sure what progress Nicole has been able make regarding getting the use of Breaking News English added to the Rachel platform. I imagine that Sean is concerned that his allowing it’s use by World Possible on Rachel will somehow result in his content being stolen as I don’t think he had ever heard of World Possible or Rachel prior to my first contact. There are so many scams on the Internet now that his concern is understandable.

I myself just became aware of Rachel a few months ago and purchased one for my daughter to use as reference since we live off grid without Internet access. I am very satisfied with Rachael. The Breaking News Content would have no use to someone who is not a native speaker. As you know the content is already free to those with Internet access. It is my understanding that if the Breaking News Content was added as a Rachael Module World Possible can program the module to redirect to Sean’s site if and when the module is ever connected to the Internet.

I am sure that it would be very helpful if you contacted Sean to put in a good word to encourage Sean in this matter. I am sure that he is very likely so busy that he has not had the time to research in depth World Possible to the extent necessary for him to feel comfortable in this matter. You might contact prior by sending her a message here with your offer as I am not in the loop as to where things stand at the present.

Thanks again for your interest.

Carl Gregory

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Hi Carl,

Yes. Will reach out to Sean and know he’s been “burnt” a good number of times with others stealing his content and that definitely for him is a concern. I’m a little more laissez faire about it but we each are different. My one concern about his content is that it is more for downloading and printing and not for use off in different devices and screens nor self directed learning and more student oriented. It’s more teacher oriented to download worksheets (though there is listening content) as supplemental material.

I just found out about Rachel and will be doing more “digging in”. I moved to Guatemala 5 years ago and have been setting up schools with computers and mostly just networking them to use one server with stored content. But Rachel seems to be the perfect solution, saves lots of time and is low on the training threshold. I will have to investigate the content more to judge it in terms of quality.

H David,

I suspected that content stealing was Sean’s primary concern. I noticed that on one of the modules that were loaded on the Rachel I purchased that it had to be preloaded at World Possibe as a copyright release stipulation. That might be the solution that might give Sean the confidence to go forward with granting permission World Possible needs to go forward with also allowing World Possible to send out download load links to those who previously purchased Rachael plus servers.

As a teacher I used both the listening Mp3’s and the downloadable PDF’s. I believe both are necessary to make the content useful.

As to demonstrating what the content of the proposed content the potential module would contain world possible could just post a summary on its module content site with a link to Sean’s actual site.

Here is where the content is stored for download. You will notice some of the content is NOT available for download due to copyright restrictions.

Hi David and Carl, thank you both for your advice! I haven’t heard back yet from Sean at Breaking News, so I just wrote to him. I’ll let you know what he says. We certainly understand his concerns about being burnt and want to make sure he’s comfortable with having his content on RACHEL.

David, you may also be interested in connecting with our Guatemala Chapter, Mundo Posible, since you’re in Guatemala–they have an office in Antigua but they travel all over the country installing RACHEL at school and training teachers. I’m sure that they would be happy to learn about your content and give you a demo of RACHEL!