Free audiobooks–Librivox

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Listening, Vocabulary |

We all need to practice our listening skills, but it can be difficult.  Listening to the news can be boring.  Watching films or TV shows can be fun, but do we really understand what they said?  Can we remember it?  Sometimes we want to check if we really heard everything. Librivox is a community of people who are trying to record all of the books in the public domain.  This means that all of their resources are 100% free and legal!  It also means that you won’t find Harry Potter there, but for a free resource it is really excellent. How does it work?  Go to Librivox and do a search or just browse their collection.  I enjoy short stories, and I got a lot of results for “short” and “stories” when I searched for those terms.  You can also try terms like “poetry,” “ghost,” or “mystery.”  Click on one of the titles and on the next page you will be able to find links to the text and the recording.  Some readers are better than others (they are all volunteers), so try a different title if you don’t have a good reader.  Read along in the text as you listen, you’ll learn lots of new vocabulary as you improve your listening...

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Ask a teacher

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Grammar, Learning Websites, Vocabulary, Writing |

You’ve checked your dictionary and your grammar books and you still don’t know the best way to say something.  Or maybe you know the “right” way to say something, but you want to know why it’s the “right” way.  You might have problems with an idiom, slang or phrasal verbs; or you just want someone to check some sentences you’ve written. Here are two great forums where English teachers and native speakers will answer your questions for free!  I post on these forums because I like to learn more about the language and I just like talking to people. UsingEnglish.com/forum  I post here as Mr_Ben EnglishForums.com  I post here as mrBen Please be patient with the teachers on these sites we all answer questions in our free time and some questions are more difficult than others.  A lot of us answer questions on both sites as well, so please only ask your question once.  But I look forward to hearing from you… see you on the...

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Test your vocabulary and donate to the UN World Food Programme

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Vocabulary |

Freerice.com seems like a simple game: you just match the word you see with a synonym.  But for every correct answer you get, the game gets harder.  When you choose an incorrect answer, the game gets easier.  The real challenge is trying to remember if the words are nouns, verbs or adjectives… it’s a lot harder than it seems!  This is a good way to practice for Part 4 of the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE). The game is run by the United Nations World Food Programme.  For every correct answer you get, you donate 10 grains of rice (an advertiser donates for you).  So practice your vocabulary and help end world...

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Learning with your DVDs

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Listening, Videos, Vocabulary |

Practicing English by watching films is good for improving your stamina, but there are other things you can do as well.  Take a film that you know very well from watching it in your mother tongue.  Now watch this movie in English (with English subtitles if you like) and you will learn all kinds of language because you know what they will say so you can pay attention to how they say it. When you’re watching a film for the first time, after a conversation you understand that he’s mad at her, she wants a divorce, there’s not enough money… the basics.  When you watch a film that you know, you know what will happen–he’s going to tell his mother-in-law that he hates her and then she’s going to tell him that she’s going to ruin his life (I’m afraid I’m not very good at writing movie scripts)–so you can really pay attention to how he tells his mother-in-law that he hates her and how she says she will ruin his life.  You’ll be able to remember much more vocabulary this way and learn lots of new and exciting ways to express...

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Learn and laugh with the news

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Grammar, Learning Websites, Listening, Reading, Videos, Vocabulary |

The English Blog is a great place to browse lots of news stories and videos with notes from an English teacher.  He updates the site daily with relevant stories and interesting cartoons and videos that show real English in context.  There really is a huge amount of material here (search the categories) as well as a lot of links to webistes for English Language Learners (ELL) and...

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