The Writer’s Resource
This page provides a list of links and resources suggested by MaWSIG members and non-members. The list is regularly updated and we welcome your suggestions. In your message, please provide the name of the resource, the link, and one short sentence about why it’s useful. Please also let us know if you discover a link is no longer working or any information needs updating. Thanks for your support!
Online tools for creating exercises and texts
Make Wordclouds online.
http://www.discoveryeducation.com/free-puzzlemaker makes exercises such as word searches.
Another site that creates wordsearch exercises is https://worksheets.theteacherscorner.net/make-your-own/word-search/
LearningApps and Flippity can be used to create interactive activities which can be played online.
If you need names for people to appear in a listening text, for example, you can use Behindthename to generate ideas. It can also create the basics of their life story.
Story Dice can be used to inspire creative writing.
Plot Generator has a wide range of idea generators, including opening lines, headlines, blurbs, characters, letters, and names. It could be useful to clear writer’s block, even if you don’t end up using the actual ideas in your writing.
Online tools for analysing texts
Text Inspector is recommended for checking the levels of graded texts. Remember that MaWSIG members get discounts as part of their membership. Find out how to claim these on our About MaWSIG page.
The Oxford Text Checker will tell you which words in the text are outside of the 3000 and 2000 most commonly used words.
Vocabkitchen is also useful for profiling the words in a text by the CEFR level.
Lextutor provides a variety of tools for analysing texts.
The English Vocabulary Profile page from Cambridge allows you to check vocabulary by CEFR level.
The Sketch Engine is designed for anyone wanting to research how words behave.
Google ngrams allows you to see how word usage has changed over time. You can then see the results in the books Google has mined for the data.
Online tools for creating original listening material
There is plenty of recorded material you can use in your listening lessons but what if you want to create your own listenings? Here are some tools you can use.
Vocaroo is a very simple voice record tool. Just record yourself speaking, save it, and share with your students.
Text-to-speech lets you cut and paste a text into the screen the reader automatically reads the text aloud. Students can also speed up and slow down the speech. The speech quality isn’t 100% natural but for a quick way for students to listen to a text, it’s a useful tool.
Starting out as a new writer
Here are some links to resources which will help you get started in ELT writing and get published.
The No-nonsense guide to writing is a free-to-download book on how to get published in the ELT industry. Each chapter is written by an experienced ELT author based on their own experience.
A webinar by George Chilton on stepping beyond teaching and exploring writing as a career, recorded by the British Council.
The IH Journal has two related articles: How to Become an ELT Materials Writer by Kirsten Holt, and Becoming an ELT Writer – Ask the Publishers Q&A with Neil Wood from Oxford University Press.
Books on the subject of materials writing
ELT Teacher 2 Writer publishes ebooks and paperbacks for ELT teachers who want to develop their materials-writing skills. Remember that MaWSIG members get discounts as part of their membership. Find out how to claim these on our About MaWSIG page.
ETpedia Materials Writing is a book for both inexperienced and experienced materials writers. It includes tips, ideas, advice and photocopiable resources for teachers who write and published authors.
English Language Teaching Textbooks, edited by Nigel Harwood and published by Palgrave Macmillan, is a collection of essays looking at the content, consumption and production of ELT course books. Useful for academic study on the subject.
Nik Peachey is an epublisher and ebook writer. In Becoming an e-Publisher he offers tips for how you can do the same.
Self publishing your materials
If you’ve written some materials or even a whole book that you’d like to share with the world, then self-publishing is one alternative.
Phil Wade, who is an ELT author and self publishes his own materials, has written a useful introductory guide on writing ebooks.
theround is a collective of ELT writers who provide peer support and self publish their own work. Other ELT writers who self publish and can work with you to share your materials include Dorothy Zemach at Wayzgoose Press, and Walton Burns of Alphabet Publishing.
Organizations for materials writers
Apart from MaWSIG itself which supports ELT materials writers, there are other organisations for writers which are worth knowing more about.
The ELT Publishing Professionals directory helps writers find work and offers members a range of discounts and useful resources, as well as access to a closed discussion forum.
If you are a published author, you can join The Society of Authors. Its members include famous novelists like Philip Pullman through to self-published ebook authors. It also has a special ELT writers group with separate meetings and events. One of the society’s most useful functions is to give free advice writers on contracts and legal issues – the membership fee is worth it just for that! Remember that MaWSIG members get discounts as part of their membership. Find out how to claim these on our About MaWSIG page.
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society collects money from around the world from language schools and people using published materials who pay license fees. They then pass a percentage of this money to each author who is a member of ALCS. So for anyone with published work (either royalty-based or fee-based) you are eligible to receive extra money twice a year! Just register with them and list all your publications.
We were very proud of our first newsletter, Building Materials, which was published in April 2014. It was much admired but not repeated. Since then we have decided to replace our newsletter with this website, but to see that issue you can go to the IATEFL home page and log into the Member Area.
Webinars on materials writing
Finally, remember that IATEFL members can access recordings of MaWSIG webinars by logging on to https://www.iatefl.org/ and clicking on My Resources. Filter by SIG Resources to find past talks. You can also see a list of our webinars on the Past Events page.
[Last updated October 2022]