Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Your Ultimate Guide to Practicing English Online

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 08:25 AM

learning English online, cat on computerDo you ever feel like you want to practice your English online, but you aren't sure what sites to use and how to use them?

Today's post will solve this problem for you!

We have gathered 17 of the resources that we assign to students as homework or for in-class work.

If you are looking for a way to improve your pronunciation, vocabulary, listening skills, or just to learn some new vocabulary and idioms, these sites will be great resources for you!

Check out today's awesome collection of links and get started!

 

Share this with your followers on Twitter!

 

 

Vocabulary-Phrasal Verbs-Slang-Idioms

 

 

1. English with Jo: 

 

american culture and language book with words

  • Created by Jo, a native English speaker from Australia who is currently based in Greece
  • Clear and well-organized site
  • Uses videos from the news to help you learn new vocabulary words, idioms, and expressions
  • Features ESL app reviews so you can learn more about the best apps to learn English on-the-go

 

 

2. ESL Basics:


  • Site was created and is maintained by Andrea, an American native English speaker and ESL teacher from Kentucky
  • Watch video lessons that mostly focus on new vocabulary terms, idioms, and phrasal verbs
  • Prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Exam 
  • Try fun tongue twisters to help you practice your pronunciation while having a blast!

 

 

3. Self-study Idiom Quizzes:

 

  • Take quizzes on phrasal verbs, idioms, and expressions and have your answered corrected right away
  • Learn new slang words and expressions for your everyday life in the United States

 

 

Listening


1. NPR:

 

  •  headphones, English listening sites betterGreat listening resource for advanced English learners with high quality audio
  • Listen to English at native speed, not modified for English learners
  • Expand your vocabulary to learn advanced words including vocab to contrast points of view and transition to a new topic, and everyday idioms
  • Select an interview news clip on a current event including politics, national and international news, social justice issues, current research in science, etc.
  • Get exposed to a variety of pronunciation styles with different people being interviewed from a variety of U.S. regions and parts of the world
  • Download the transcript and follow along to improve your pronunciation
  • Build an understanding of current events for conversation starters and small talk

 

 

2. Randall's Cyber Listening Lab:

 

  • All material is created by an American English speaker with a moderately strong Midwestern United States accent.
  • Listen to short 2-3 minute conversations between native speakers (kids, teenagers, adults) on a ton of different topics and real-life situations.
  • Choose an activity based on your level (easy, medium or difficult)
  • Take a quiz to check your understanding, study the new vocabulary and idioms, and read the quiz script (transcript) to see what you missed.

 

 

3. All Ears English

 

  • All Ears English smallerGet comfortable with the sounds of everyday, natural English with Lindsay and Gabby
  • Learn about how to succeed in work and life in the United States
  • Learn specific American English vocab words, idioms, and expressions
  • Get inspired, laugh a lot, and have fun on your way to work

 

Subscribe on iTunes

 

Subscribe for Android

 

 

 

 

4. Nobuna:

 

  • Listen to real-life videos and fill in the blanks with words that you hear
  • Get your answers graded at the end of the video
  • Go back and listen again to correct your mistakes
  • Get exposure to a variety of accents and speaking situations
  • Compete with other students on the site for the best score

 

 

5. ESL Podcast:

 

  • English listening lessons geared toward beginner and intermediate students
  • Listen for free and download the learning guide (transcripts and vocabulary explanation) for a fee
  • Voices are very slow and clear to help you understand most of the conversation
  • Build confidence in your listening skills before moving on to a bigger challenge

 

 

6. Ello:

 

  • Choose from hundreds of short conversations between native English speakers
  • Select your level and the English accent that you prefer (American, British, Canadian)
  • Compare different accents in the same conversation
  • Follow the transcript while you listen
  • Get detailed descriptions of each new vocabulary word

 

 

 

Learning through the News


1. MSNBC:

 

reading newspaper on ipad  learning English through the news

  • Good for intermediate to advanced students
  • Select from written articles or videos
  • Read local, national, and international news

 

 

2. The New York Times

 

  • Great for advanced students
  • Improve your vocabulary by regularly reading and discussing new articles
  • Choose from sections on health, politics, technology, business, world or national news and more

 

 

3. The Economist:

 

  • Great for advanced students
  • Includes news coverage on business, finance, and the economy
  • Become more articulate and gain the skills to carry on a conversation about business, economics, or finance with anyone

 

 

 4. Breaking News English:


  • Geared toward beginner to intermediate learners
  • Current events in the news presented for English learners
  • Listen to MP3 recordings of people reading the news story to practice pronunciation and listening skills
  • Take quizzes, get speaking activities for your language exchange

 

 

Pronunciation

 

1. Rachel's English:

 

person with words in mouth, english pronunciation

  •  Get excellent pronunciation training for many difficult sounds and minimal pairs (R and L, B and V, etc.)
  • Find help with stress, intonation, silent letters, and more
  • Watch videos to get exact mouth and tongue positions

 

 

 2. Jennifer ESL:

 

  • Great video to focus on vowel sounds and comparing the sounds
  • Main site also includes tongue twisters, exercises, study tips
  • Get practice pronouncing new vocabulary words

 


 

Inspiration and How to Learn Languages

 

1. Fluent in 3 months:

 

mountain climber, how to learn english

  • Get tips on how to learn a new language from Bennie, a polyglot who travels the world and learns languages
  • Learn about how to deal with fear in language learning, perfectionism, and other common challenges
  • Follow Bennie as he describes his travels and different aspects of the cultures that he gets to know

 

 

2. Everyday Language Learner:

 

  • Get advice on how to assess your language level, how to create language learning activites, and how to stick to a study schedule and stay motivated
  • Find more language learning resources

 

 

So if you have been looking for some great ways to practice your English online in your spare time at home, you now have 16 great resources. Good luck!

 

 

Practice Your English with Native Speakers! Watch the Video Here

 

 

Photo credits: Edvvc, A. Blight, smjbk, Paxson Woelber,

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