ESL Resources

ESL Resources

The library has many resources to help you excel at learning English as a Second Language!


Easy Reader Collection

The Easy Reader Collection is located at the beginning of the Paperback Shelves, (last row of the book stacks on the east side of the library). The readers are written in simplified English and arranged by reading level. Browse through the books until you find the best level for you. You can check out five books from this collection. The online catalog can show you a list of easy readers. Scroll through the titles until you find something that interests you.

Series Books              

When you are ready to move beyond the Easy Reader Collection, it is time to try reading some of the series books that the library carries. The contents of these books is suitable for adults, but the vocabulary and
writing style are simplified for people learning English. To find specific series names, ask the librarian for help.  Then, type the series name in the online catalog as a title search. All the books in the series will appear on the screen. The library carries more than 100 series and is adding more all the time!

English Language Grammar, Reading, and Writing

There are many books that can help you with grammar and writing. They are located in the book stacks. The general call numbers are PE1112 through PE1413.
If you would like to browse the online catalog for books about specific subjects, select Subject from the drop-down menu, and type a heading such as:


The library carries several magazines that are appropriate for the intermediate and advanced student, for example Reader’s Digest; People Weekly; Women’s Health.


The CD Collection is located in a cabinet near the reference desk. Look under the category, Language Learning to find CDs that will help you improve your English. You will find only the cover in the display; the actual CD must be checked out from the Circulation Counter. Here are some of the CDs that the library carries:

ESL Collection (includes Easy Readers, CDs and much more)

The library has many books and CDs to help you with English. If you would like to browse through a list of them, click here on ESL Collection. You can browse through more than 500 items. These materials are not all located in the same place. Ask the librarian to help you.


Magazine, newspaper and journal articles provide current information on many topics. The following are a sample of the databases that provide some helpful features for the ESL student. You can also search the databases from home,
or any off-campus location. You will be asked to enter your name and seven-digit college ID number. 

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

This database specializes in current controversial issues. It gives overviews of topics, magazine articles, images, statistics, websites, links to audio and video files and more. It is appropriate for the intermediate to advanced ESL student and offers translations and  "listen" option for articles. Using the Advanced Search screen, you can search by content levels and Lexile range.

Literature Resource Center

Ask the librarian how to use the "Topic & Work Overviews" feature. It will help you understand important works of literature, such as novels, short stories, poems, etc. Most articles are available in written translation and in audio ReadSpeaker.

MAS Ultra

This database is geared for high school reading levels and contains articles from many popular magazines. It also has many biographies of famous people, over 500,000 photos, plus maps, flags, etc.  You can search for information by Lexile Reading Level. Most articles provide written translations and a "Listen" feature.

Primary Search

Intermediate ESL students will find articles from many popular magazines here. You can search for the right articles for your reading level by the Lexile reading level indicator.



Reference books are used often by librarians and students, so they cannot be checked out. Sometimes the library also has a copy in the book stacks that can be taken home. A librarian will help you find the best books
for your needs. The following are examples of reference books that you might find helpful.


Suggested Books for ESL Students


101 American English idioms  

American Manners and Customs                                                                      

ESL Beginner: English as a second language made nice and easy        

Let's talk 1                                                                                                          

Master the basics--English
Word by Word; Basic Picture Dictionary         


101 English verbs: the art of conjugation        

Active Listening

Correct your English errors: avoid 99% of the common errors made by learners of English

Let's talk 2  

Slangman Guide to Street Speak    



25 business stories: a practical guide for English learners  

Barron's English for foreign language speakers: the easy way                    

Cheater's guide to speaking English like a native                                         

Mastering the American accent                                                                       

Read & think English                                                                  


Cesar E. Chavez Library 

The Library Building is closed but we are available to assist you virtually.


January 25 - May 21

Online Reference 

Email or Chat

Monday -Thursday

9:30am - 6:00pm



Closed on weekends and school holidays 


Please email questions to:

SJCC Supporting Page
San Jose City College