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Great Sites: ESL





Language Assessment


Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks

  • The Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) is used in Canada to teach and test language learning for adults. These benchmarks describe tasks that people can do in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Most adult ESL programs in Kitchener and Waterloo use the Canadian Language Benchmarks.

Assess Your Canadian English Skills Online

  • This website has an online self-assessment tool for people who are interested in assessing their English as a Second Language (ESL). The tests on this site are based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) and will assess your language proficiency in the areas of reading and listening. This assessment is for personal purposes only and will not be accepted as an official assessment by schools or organizations.

YMCA Coordinated Language Assessment Referral Services

  • The Coordinated Language Assessment Referral Services (CLARS) at the YMCA in Kitchener provide the following services:
    - Help Newcomers get an official Canadian Language Benchmark Assessment
    - Help Newcomers choose the most appropriate language learning option
    - Share information about language tests, literacy programs, and more

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 Language Classes


Learn more about English language learning programs on the following two websites.


Immigration Partnership

  • Learn more about English language learning options for children and adults in Waterloo Region.

  • Learn more about English language learning options in Ontario.

There are several schools in Kitchener and Waterloo that can help you learn English.


St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centre

  • St. Louis Adult Learning Centre offers adult ESL (English as Second Language) and LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes.

Conestoga College

  • Conestoga College offers adult ESL (English as Second Language), LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada), and OSLT (Occupation-specific Language Training) classes.

English at First

  • English at First offers LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes.

Renison University College at University of Waterloo

  • Renison University College offers ESL programs and courses to help students succeed in reading, writing, listening and speaking in English.


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English Conversation Circles


English Conversation Circles (ECC) can help ESL learners improve their speaking and listening skills. ECC’s also give ESL learners a chance to meet new people in the community. Learn more about English Conversation Circles in Kitchener and Waterloo on the following websites:


Centreville Chicopee Community Association

English Café at Morning Glory

Historic St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Kitchener Public Library

Victoria Hills Community Centre

Waterloo Public Library

The Working Centre

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English Language Tests


Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)

  • The CAEL is an English language proficiency test that tests a person’s ability to use English as it is used in Canadian universities and colleges. It is a topic-based performance test that consists of an integrated set of language activities. Test takers read articles, listen to a lecture, answer questions and write a short essay – all on one subject. The test takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. This test is used by colleges and universities.

Find CAEL materials in the KPL catalogue

Find CAEL Testing Centres in Canada


Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)

  • There are three versions of this test: CELPIP-General, CELPIP-General LS, and CELPIP-Academic. The CELPIP-General is a complete English language testing program that assesses four language skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing proficiency in typical everyday situations. This test takes 3 hours to complete.

  • The CELPIP-General LS Test assesses listening and speaking proficiency in typical everyday situations. This test takes 1 hour to complete. The CELPIP-Academic tests a higher level of English language proficiency. It covers the following areas: Listening, Speaking, and Academic Reading and Writing. This test takes 3.5 hours to complete.

  • All three tests are delivered through the computer. These tests are used by Citizenship and Immigration and some Canadian schools.

Find CELPIP materials in the KPL catalogue

Find CELPIP Testing Centres in Canada


International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

  • The IELTS test assesses the English language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as the main language of communication.

  • The test has four parts – listening, reading, writing and speaking. It assesses the test taker’s ability to use English in real-life situations. The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  • There are two version of the test, the IELTS Academic or IELTS General. IELTS Academic measures the English language proficiency needed for an academic, higher education environment. IELTS General Training measures English language proficiency in a practical, everyday context.

  • The test is used by Canadian universities and colleges, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, government bodies, and some professional associations.

IELTS Testing Centres in Canada

Find IELTS materials in the KPL catalogue


Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)

  • The TOEIC test is an English language proficiency test for people whose native language is not English.

  • This multiple-choice test consists of two sections that measures listening and reading skills. The Listening Section tests how well you understand spoken English and the Reading Section tests how well you understand written English. The test consists of 200 questions and takes two hours to complete.

  • The test is used by some Canadian schools, employers, and professional associations. Many international workplaces recognize TOEIC and a high score on the test can help you find the job you want or assist in promotions.

Find TOEIC materials in the KPL catalogue

Find TOEIC Testing Centres in Canada


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • The TOEFL test is used to measure a person’s ability to use and understand English at the university level. Overall, it evaluates how well you combine your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.

  • The TOEFL test is offered in two formats: TOEFL iBT test, administered via the Internet, or the TOEFL PBT test, administered in a paper-based format. The TOEFL PBT is being phased out.

  • The test is used by Canadian colleges and universities, agencies and other institutions.

Find TOEFL materials in the KPL catalogue

Find TOEFL Testing Centres in Canada

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ESL Websites and Tools


Comprehensive Learning English

Athabasca University – Mobile ESL


Dave’s ESL Cafe

The Internet TESL Journal – Activities for ESL Students

Janis’s ESL Links

Learning English Online

Learning English with BBC

Learning English with British Council

Learning English with CBC

Live Mocha

Rong-Chang’s ESL – ESL Corner

Talk English
University of Victoria Study Zone




Collins English for Learners Dictionary

Merriam-Webster’s Learner Dictionary

Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary

University of Texas Libraries – Dictionaries and Translation Sites

Your Dictionary




English Club Grammar

Grammarly Handbook

Frankfurt International School




English Learner Movie Guide

5 Minute English – Listening

Language Learning Lab

Randall’s ESL Listening Lab


Pronunciation Minimal Pairs

English Accent Coach

The New Okanagan College

Phonics Game

Sounds of English

University of Iowa – Sounds of spoken language



English Vocabulary Games

Idiom Quest

BBC Words in the News


Workplace English


Business English

English for my job

Oxford University Press






iPad in the Classroom

MCC Libraries’

Scripps Research Institute








YouTube Channels


Pod English

BBC Learning English

Listen and Read Along

English with Jennifer

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