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Authentic materials can even be cookies!     

Keeping It Real!  Authentic Materials for Teaching Languages

Authentic materials - also known as realia - can be described as anything created for native speakers of a language. The cookies in the photo on the left are a good example of realia - they were made in Germany for German consumption, and they are a great source of authentic reading material - before they get eaten, that is!

There are an almost limitless supply of materials available online that come directly from the target cultures of the languages we teach. These resources provide "real life" linguistic input as well as valuable cultural information for our students. Below is a list of some of our favorite online authentic materials.


Click here for a PowerPoint presentation about the incorporation of authentic cultural materials into the world language classroom. There is a handout also available here that details some of the benefits of using these materials with students.


  • Mama Lisa's World of Children and International Culture: A neat site with children's songs, nursery rhymes, stories and other materials from around the world. The site can be viewed in English, French and Spanish, but the songs lyrics are available in many languages (Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, German -- just to name a few!)
  • LanguagesOnline: Fantastic series of well-organized lessons, games, songs and other teaching/learning materials for Chinese, French, Italian, German, Indonesian, and beginning ESL.
  • TV5 Musique: A collection of lyrics from popular songs in French - a very hip site; excellent for creating cloze listening activities for students of French
  • Canciones para la clase: lists of popular songs in Spanish organized by grammatical point or theme with lyrics from the songs and links to music videos

Television and Videos
  • LangMedia: features video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries and of many different ages and walks of life. Some interviews and discussions are in English; more are in the language(s) of the countries involved. Translations and/or transcripts are given for all non-English video clips. Topics include family, food, education, religious and cultural customs, work, art, sport, travel, and more
  • WWITV: a huge collection of free live internet TV stations streaming online. A portal to watch live and on demand TV broadcasts from around the world.
  • Ver-taal: Authentic listening and viewing in Spanish: vocabulary, grammar, listening exercises from news, movie trailers, radio, TVE (television from Spain) and other authentic sources
  • Africa Remix - fantastic video clips of African artists answering questions about l'art, la multiplicité des pratiques, l'africanité, la mondialisation, l'héritage; transcripts are provided for each interview

Podcasts and Radio

  • OMNI Radio: search for all live radio stations of the world by country
  • Foreign Internet Radio: online news radio, talk, information programs, and music programs featuring music in many languages; these stations require the Real Audio player, Windows Media Player, or other onlineMP3 players
  • Multilingual Radio Broadcasts: Live radio broadcasts are available in many languages including Croatian, Greek, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Turkish, Italian, Dutch and Thai.
  • Audiria: a new online tool that supports learning of Spanish, offering multimedia audiofiles to increase knowledge of the language. You will find daily a new audio file about different topics. Audio files are accompanied by the corresponding texts (also for free) and exercises where you can check your understanding.
  • ChinesePOD, FrenchPOD101GermanPOD101, and SpanishPOD101: Great podcasts with native speakers; you can sign up for a free 7-day trial - after that there is a charge; all newbie lessons (two per week) are free.

Magazines and Newspapers

  • Newseum: An amazing site that (among other things) collects images of the front page of newspapers from around the world. Click "sort papers by region" to find a specific country.
  • OMNINews: search for newspapers from around the world by country
  • Newspaper-World: links to world newspapers, magazines, and periodicals in Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish
  • World Press: One of the web’s largest and most comprehensive directories of World Newspapers and Magazines, sorted by Country, region, and political affiliation.
  • AllYouCanRead: massive media directory of 22,800 local and international magazines and newspapers from all over the world. Over 200 countries are represented.

Children's Literature and Folklore

  • International Children's Digital Library - an amazing resource for online children's picturebooks in many languages. You can search for books by country of origin, title, author and even theme!
  • Aaron's Storybook: A good collection of folktales, myths, legends, magical tales, sacred stories and more from around the world; all in English - good for ESL/EFL, but also as a source for stories to translate into WLs
  • BLAA Digital - Solo Para Niños - this excellent site from Colombia houses a collection of short stories, biographies of indigenous children, games and links to museums like the Museo Botero.
  • Adivina, Adivinanza - a collection of adivinanzas (guessing games) organized by topics/themes

Games and Fun

  • Childtopia: a large collection of educational games, tales, listening and reading comprehension activities and even arts and crafts project videos in English, Spanish, French, Catalan and Euskera
  • Mi mundo en palabras: Centro Virtual Cervantes site for kids; fantastic beginning level activities, games and other fun materials - great for Spanish FLES
  • Planet Schule: A collection of Games in German; of special interest is a game in which kids can explore different religious groups in Germany
  • Caillou: French version of Caillou site - great for FLES, elementary students; games and activities