The internet has provided us with amazing opportunities to stay connected, get hold of up-to-date and current information and find resources for anything from finding a new job to practicing your English with enormous amounts of online grammar exercises, reading, writing and listening activities, and speaking games.
So, apart from using some great internet sites for specifically practicing your English grammar, reading, etc. what are some other ways you can use the internet to study English?
Listening to and reading news articles is a great way to practice because the language of news channels and reputable organisations is clear and direct. Also, the content is always fresh and you will never get bored by reading or listening to some information that has long become old news, or is outdated. So, not only do you get to practice and improve your English, but you also stay informed.
Here are some tips for using this great resource:
• When reading an article, try reading it out loud. This is great for practicing your speaking, listening and pronunciation. As the more difficult words come along and you find yourself struggling to pronounce them, reach for your dictionary and see how the word is broken down into syllables and what the sounds are. Repeat these words out loud over and over again until they start to feel and sound natural. If you are not sure, write it down and ask someone who speaks English or your teacher to help you with the pronunciation.
• Use the different sections of news to build on your vocabulary for specific things. For example, sports news, sports articles and sports bulletins are a great way to build up vocabulary and knowledge of use of English in sport–talk. Or, watch weather reports in English and learn vocabulary for weather. This is also a great way to listen to the use of tenses as they make future predictions for weather patterns.
• Always read the comics! Comics can be difficult to understand because they can make use of irony and/or sarcasm in language, or they may be very particular to a social or cultural context for that news channel/article. But, never miss a chance to try and understand it. It doesn’t take that much time to read a comic.
There are so many interesting bloggers out there today. There is something for everyone and certainly a person or group who shares many of the same sentiments and experiences as you. You can search Google for bloggers on any topic and start following them. For example, if you are into sport, then try football bloggers or basketball bloggers! One of the best things about good bloggers that manage to attract many followers, is that their writing will generally be good. But, always remember that just because someone blogs in English a lot, it does not mean they are the authority on English writing and grammar. And be careful of slang and swear words! A more formal way to ensure you are following blogs that are probably written by someone who is qualified in their writing or has some experience, is following blogs of many of your favourite brands (check out your favourite makeup brand, for example and see what tips they are giving).
Access to any and all types of videos is obviously a great way to improve your listening. Downloading movies and English teacher videos are all excellent. But how about using this resource in different ways? How about going onto YoutTube and watching some old music videos with the lyrics coming up on the screen (subtitles)? Or TED Talks! This is a very interesting and innovative resource for talks. Watching these videos not only gives you excellent access to English, but also a lot of new ideas! And the same goes for vloggers. If you enjoy the visuals of a diary-style video, then make use of this medium because it will give you access and training to listen to more natural speech. Again, beware of bad language!
There are many more ways you can get creative with the resources available to you online. You don’t have to troll websites with English specific content to stay on top of your learning. All you need to do is be proactive and creative. If you visit a website and they ask if you want to be on their mailing list (in English), why not say yes? When a newsletter does pop into your inbox, there is no harm in reading it for a bit of practice!
For some more unusual ideas for learning English, not internet related, read our blog here. If you would like to book a course with us and find out more about how to supplement your learning outside the classroom from one of our experienced and qualified teachers, contact us at any time.
Happy learning everyone!