Which websites do you recommend (3)?

Which websites do you recommend (3)?

Recently I was looking for free web resources that might help with different word forms. For example, you want to know all the word forms/families that stem from “organise”, as well as definitions and examples of usage. I wasn’t looking for a traditional dictionary, but something more innovative.

After some searching, I stumbled across some mindmap websites, many of which required a subscription, but then I found this one:


(click to enlarge)

I think it’s really clever and was what I was looking for. You input a word at the top of the screen and you see a mindmap of words connected to it. On the left, you have a legend explaining the colour coding in the diagram. Hover your cursor over any of the words and its definition appears. Then double-click on one of the words and it spawns a connected mindmap. You can even print it.

So how is this useful for training?

Well, for learners who enjoy visual stimuli, this could prove more effective than paper dictionaries. For me, it’s also great fun!

Which websites do you recommend (3)?2016-10-16T17:04:58+02:00

Use the news to keep up to date!

Use the news to keep up to date!Funky-Old-TV-300px

News on-demand

One easy way to keep your English up to date is to regularly read, listen to and watch news bulletins. Probably you are aware of the news broadcasts in your own home location, so your knowledge of the context and background will help you when attempting the English version.

If you don’t have much time, then the BBC‘s one minute international news could be perfect for you. The bulletin on their website usually contains three or four different news items. Needless to say, the speed of delivery can be quite fast and there are no subtitles, so it’s good for training your listening skills! The content of the bulletins changes during the day, so it is usually up to date. Another useful feature is that you can experience a variety of British regional accents as there seems to be a wide variety of newsreaders.

The BBC video is a recording (so you can stop,  restart and listen again), but what about live news?

Live news from around Europe

UK-based Sky News offers a live streaming service. Try it out!

The BBC World channel is often part of cable/satellite packages, as is euronewsFrom its HQ in Lyon, France, the channel streams live news with reports and commentary in a variety of British accents. Reports are broadcast regularly (currently every 30 minutes), so if you miss something the first time around, it will doubtless reappear the next time around. If you watch euronews as part of a cable/satellite TV or TV bundle, you can change the language in your TV’s audio settings.

Looking for an American accent?

CNN may be part of your cable or satellite TV package. If not, you can access the website and select which edition (US or International) you prefer. On the web, live streaming is also available on the ABC website.

Or perhaps you’re planning on visiting Australia?

Try out the on-demand 90 second news bulletin provided by ABC news Australia.

What else?

For financial news, there are some specialist channels broadcasting free over the Internet or also via cable/satellite. Watching Bloomberg is free and you can also select a region-based stream via their website – Europe or US.

Do you know of any other news streams? Just let me know. Happy viewing!

Use the news to keep up to date!2016-10-16T17:04:59+02:00

Which websites do you recommend? (2)

Which websites do you recommend? (2)

How about trying to find a free website designed for ESL learners and filled with stimulating and relevant materials? One which is actually entirely in English and accessible to all learners, rather than being targeted at speakers of a certain native language.

The BBC Learning English website is still a valuable resource for self-study. It has been redesigned and currently includes two courses and various individual “features”.

The courses are currently classed as lower-intermediate and intermediate. The former contains 30 units comprising video material supplemented by activities, vocabulary and grammar sections. The latter is work in progress and has no video for the moment, but seems to be aiming for 30 units too. The activities are scored, allowing progress to be tracked. However, CEFR levels are nowhere to be found.

The individual features are good for “dipping into”: “The English We Speak”, “Words in the News”, “6 Minute English”, “Pronunciation”, “Drama” and “News Report” are sufficiently varied to be able to offer learners relevant items short enough to study during the lunch hour or on the train home. Video and downloadable audio and transcripts accompany the features, although there seem to be no exercises – yet.

The website is not finished, but a great deal of work seems to have gone into it already. Maybe the best bit for me is that there are none of those annoying ads that intrude on so many other web pages!

To see for yourself, go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish and, for the videos, check out the YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/bbclearningenglish.

Which websites do you recommend? (2)2016-10-16T17:04:59+02:00

Which websites do you recommend? (1)

Which websites do you recommend? (1)

I am often asked which websites I would recommend for English learners.

It’s often difficult to find a website which caters for all levels, but here’s one I would highly recommend for the following reasons:

  • It’s based on the news, which is always a good talking point.
  • It offers seven different levels so that learners can choose the text that suits them.
  • There are mp3s that accompany the news items.
  • A variety of comprehension exercises accompany the news items which can be completed inside or outside the training room, online or offline.
  • For trainers, it’s a ready-made and relevant resource for any group of trainees.
  • And it’s 100% free!


English News Lessons in 7 levels with graded multi-level listening and variable scrolled-reading, and all-skills activities.

Which websites do you recommend? (1)2016-01-10T10:09:25+02:00