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English as a Second Language (ESL) Resources

Resources to assist in the study of English by nonnative speakers in an English-speaking environment.

GCC Tutoring Across the College:

FREE Drop-In ESL Conversation Circle

Want to improve your English conversation skills? Join Conversation Circle on Mondays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. via Zoom - Meeting ID: 960 0457 2241

Students are encouraged to attend as often as their schedule permits and, in doing so, will reap many benefits:

  • Practice speaking and understanding English
  • Learn new vocabulary 
  • Develop confidence
  • Share experiences

To learn more about this free drop-in program, email

Rosetta Stone:  Want to learn or practice a new language? All GCC students, faculty and staff have FREE access to Rosetta Stone. You can choose from 23 different languages and multiple levels. Rosetta Stone can help you:

  • Build language skills 
  • Improve pronunciation 
  • Increase vocabulary 
  • Use real-world phrases 
  • Learn to read and write

How to get access:

  1. GCC students and employees should complete this Google Form or contact to gain and then confirm access.

  2. If you are in a course using Rosetta Stone as part of the course curriculum, your instructor will give you information about your account. If you need help, contact Kim Feld at or Dede Elrobeh at

Tips to Use Rosetta Stone:

  • You can access Rosetta Stone on a computer, tablet, or a mobile phone using the Rosetta Stone app. 

  • The best strategy for Rosetta Stone language learning success is to work through each task in order, and complete 3-5 sessions per week for about 40 minutes each session.

The Rosetta Stone program has been made available to all of GCC thanks to the English, Reading, Journalism, and Creative Writing Dept.; Communication and World Languages Dept.; and the Center for Learning.

A Visual Dictionary:

Reading Techniques:

  • Skim and scan. Scanning a text means looking for a specific part or for the answer to a specific question. Skimming a text means letting your eyes look over the text quickly without really reading every word. These are both excellent strategies to use before you start reading. They will let you understand a little bit about the text or topic so you have a rough idea of what you’re going to read about.
  • Make sure you’re comfortable and have plenty of light. Poor lighting can make you strain your eyes, and being uncomfortable is distracting. You want your mind to be completely on the text, not on how much your back hurts from your terrible chair!
  • Eliminate distractions. Find a place where you can have some peace and quiet when you read, to help you concentrate. Turn off the television, put your phone on silent, and go to a quiet room alone.
  • Use a pen or finger to guide your reading. If you’re still having trouble focusing, slide your pen or finger under the words as you read them. This will help keep your eyes from moving all over the page.
  • Take breaks. After a while, your brain gets tired. When you’re tired, it can be difficult to focus. Schedule breaks to give your eyes and mind a rest, or only read for short periods of time.

Inference - Coming to a Conclusion:

An inference is defined as a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.  Often when we read, we must infer the author's purpose based on the evidence provided to come to a reasonable conclusion.  Many times we're asked to infer the purpose of answer to a question based on a reading passage - below are some tips as well as a short practice passage:

Step 1: Identify an Inference

First, you'll need to determine whether or not you're actually being asked to make an inference on a reading test. The most obvious questions will have the words "suggest," "imply" or "infer" right in the tag like these:

  • "According to the passage, we can reasonably infer..."
  • "Based on the passage, it could be suggested that..."
  • "Which of the following statements is best supported by the passage?"
  • "The passage suggests that this primary problem..."
  • "The author seems to imply that…"

Some questions, however, will not come right out and ask you to infer. You'll have to actually infer that you need to make an inference about the passage. Sneaky, huh? Here are a few that require inferencing skills, but don't use those words exactly.

  • "With which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?"
  • "Which of the following sentences would the author most likely use to add additional support to paragraph three?"

Step 2: Trust the Passage

Now that you're certain you have an inference question on your hands, and you know exactly what an inference is, you'll need to let go of your prejudices and prior knowledge and use the passage to prove that the inference you select is the correct one. Inferences on a multiple-choice exam are different from those in real life. Out in the real world, if you make an educated guess, your inference could still be incorrect. But on a multiple-choice exam, your inference will be correct because you'll use the details in the passage to prove it. You have to trust that the passage offers you the truth in the setting of the test and that one of the answer choices provided is correct without stepping too far outside the realm of the passage.

Step 3: Hunt for Clues

Your third step is to start hunting for clues – supporting details, vocabulary, character's actions, descriptions, dialogue, and more – to prove one of the inferences listed below the question. Take this question and text, for example:

Reading Passage:

The widow Elsa was as complete a contrast to her third bridegroom, in everything but age, as can be conceived. Compelled to relinquish her first marriage after her husband died in the war, she married a man twice her years to whom she became an exemplary wife despite their having nothing in common, and by whose death she was left in possession of a splendid fortune, though she gave it away to the church. Next, a southern gentleman, considerably younger than herself, succeeded to her hand, and carried her to Charleston, where, after many uncomfortable years, she found herself again a widow. It would have been remarkable if any feeling had survived through such a life as Elsa's; it could not but be crushed and killed by the early disappointment of her first groom's demise, the icy duty of her second marriage, and the unkindness of her third husband, which had inevitably driven her to connect the idea of his death with that of her comfort.

Based on the information in the passage, it could be suggested that the narrator believes Elsa's prior marriages to be:
A. uncomfortable, but well-suited to Elsa: 0 votes (0%)
B. satisfactory and dull to Elsa: 0 votes (0%)
C. cold and damaging to Elsa: 0 votes (0%)
D. awful, but worth it to Elsa: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

Step 4: Narrow Down the Choices

The last step to making a correct inference on a multiple-choice test is to narrow down the answer choices. Using the clues from the passage, we can infer that nothing much was "satisfactory" to Elsa about her marriages, which gets rid of Choice B.

Choice A is also incorrect because although the marriages certainly seem uncomfortable based on the clues, they were not well-suited to her as she had nothing in common with her second husband and wanted her third husband to die.

Choice D is also incorrect because nothing is stated or implied in the passage to prove that Elsa believed her marriages to be worth it in some way; in fact, we can infer that it wasn't worth it to her at all because she gave away the money from her second husband.

So, we have to believe that Choice C is the best – the marriages were cold and damaging. The passage states explicitly that her marriage was an "icy duty" and her third husband was "unkind." We also know that they were damaging because her feelings had been "crushed and killed" by her marriages.

Step 5: Practice

To get really good at making inferences, you'll need to practice

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