And how to use them!
In need of some English language learning tools to supplement your learning at home, or on the go?
It is always a good idea to supplement your English language studies with some self-study English learning tools at home. In fact, I would say it is essential.
All good tools are designed for a specific purpose and English learning tools online are no different.
Whether you need extra help with your vocabulary, listening, speaking or reading and writing, you will find something to suit your needs here.
The English learning tools in this article are fun, creative and designed to maximise learning in a short period of time.
And the best bit is that many of them are free.
Best Tools to Learn English Vocabulary
This app focuses on developing your vocabulary through games, stories, podcasts and contextualized phrases and words. It prioritises useful everyday vocabulary and key phrases through implicit learning when it comes to grammar and structures. The lessons are short and effective so you can spend less time and learn more English.
On Quizlet you learn new vocabulary through flashcards and quizzes. It operates on the presentation, practice and production principles. First you learn the new vocabulary, then you practice this through quiz-like activites and finally, you are ready to go out and use what you have learnt. With audio recordings to check the pronunciation of words and questions that require a written answer, Quizlet can help you learn key vocabulary quickly. You are even able to create your own flashcard sets for specific vocabulary that you need or want to learn and can’t find in their already existing library.
Anki focuses on flashcard repetition to help you learn key vocabulary. All of the materials are there waiting for you to tap into.
Memrise uses spoken phrases and vocabulary contributed by native speakers of the language and flashcards to help you learn key vocabulary and structures. You can then test yourself through a series of short quizzes on the materials you have just learned.
This is a free online dictionary and translation tool that can help you find the meanings of even the most difficult words to build your vocabulary bank and understanding.
Wordsteps allows you to create your own vocabulary lists to practice. There is an audio feature for you to listen to the pronunciation of the words as well. You can create an unlimited number of vocabulary lists and when you’re done you can share it with friends, classmates or conversation partners so you can learn and review together, from afar!
Best Tools to Practice Your Listening Skills
Tune In Radio
TuneIn is a free radio platform with over 100,000 stations. Listen to sports news, music, chat shows and daily news completely free.
This is an online language learning community that allows you to submit any text you want read aloud by a native speaker of English. In return, you will need to record yourself reading a text aloud in your native language. Learn perfect pronunciation with Rhino Spike!
VOA Learning English
VOA or Voice Of America, allows you to watch realistic roleplay videos and general news to learn new vocabulary, improve your listening skills and perfect your pronunciation.
This platform allows you to learn vocabulary and improve your listening skills and grammar through your favourite English and American songs. Lyrics Training provides gap-fills for you to complete with the lyrics of some popular songs by well-known artists. Great for improving your English and your karaoke skills!
Coffee Break Languages
Improve your listening skills and expand your vocabulary on your coffee break. This platform provides podcasts to introduce you to phrases, vocabulary and grammar for specific contexts and purposes. All the podcasts are kept short and sweet so you can fit in some learning around your busy schedule.
Most English learning tools and sites will have blogs providing information and instructions useful for your English language learning journey. Some of the best blogs to help you with your English language skills are Global Exam, I speak Spoke Spoken, spelling-test.com and FluentU.
Best Tools to Practice Your Reading Skills
Learning with texts
This is an amazing platform that allows you to choose from articles, books, magazines and other texts. You are able to paste parts of the text into the app and it will provide you with definitions. You are also able to create your own flashcards containing these words to help you remember any new vocabulary.
This site contains a wealth of online articles for you to practice your reading skills and learn new vocabulary, grammar and structures. Once you have read the article, you can test your comprehension and vocabulary through pre-prepared comprehension questions and quizzes.
The English Learner Movie Guides
This platform allows you to learn English while watching movies. The guides provided give a plot and character summary, plus key vocabulary and phrases contained in the movies themselves. The movies range from big blockbusters to independent lower-budget movies. You will have no trouble finding a movie to get lost in while improving your English.
The Best Tools to Learn and Practice Your Pronunciation
Type in any word into the search box on this website and it will show you how to pronounce it perfectly.
Sounds of Speech
This is an app designed to improve your pronunciation by drawing your attention to the movements your mouth should make, positioning of your tongue etc. It is an excellent resource for perfecting your pronunciation.
British Council Phonemic Chart
Head over to the British Council website to play with the phonemic chart. Learn your phonemes and how to pronounce them with this simple, interactive tool.
The Best Tools to Practice Your Spoken English
This Google app allows you to connect with language learners all around the globe to practice your English speaking with.
Italki will match you with a tutor to fit your English-speaking practice needs. Join the Italki community to connect with tutors and language learners from all around the world.
This is one of the largest language exchange communities online. It is free to join and will connect you with native speakers across the globe. It also provides flashcards and quizzes to help you practice key phrases and vocabulary before you start a conversation with anyone.
This site is dedicated to English speakers living abroad (Expats). Select your country of residence and you can connect with native speakers in your city or town.
The Best Tools to Practice Your Written English
This is a language learning platform that allows you to submit questions and pieces of writing to native speakers from all over the world. The person on the other end will answer your question or correct any grammar and vocabulary errors to help you sound more native.
This is a nifty app that allows you to copy and paste any text that you have written and it will help you to identify and correct any mistakes.
Purdue Online Writing Lab
This site provides worksheets, handouts and videos to help you learn and practice your writing skills. You are also able to submit written work and questions for feedback.
The Best Tools to Practice All 4 skills
This site provides you with videos, Ted Talks, news reels and movie clips, plus interactive games and quizzes to help you progress in your language learning. eJoy has a feature that allows you to note down and save new vocabulary to learn and practice later.
This site will help you develop all 4 skills through videos, movie clips and interactive games. You can take a placement test before you get started to check your level and find appropriate resources.
Google Chrome Extensions for Learning English
Once this extension is installed, it will monitor the text inputted into your keyboard and make suggestions to correct your grammar, spelling and style. This is an excellent internet tool to learn English if you are looking to improve your writing skills.
Read & Write
This extension provides translation for text and speech, pronunciation examples, dictionaries, and suggestions to improve your grammar and structures. This is one of the best tools to learn English for free.
Want to check and practice your pronunciation for free online? Then Pronunciation Checker is for you. It uses voice recognition technology to check your pronunciation of words. You can also add your own audio files to hear the pronunciation of any words you are unsure of or need to practice.
Always wanted to be able to translate anything and everything you read on the web? Now you can with this handy extension. Read Lang will allow you to translate any text you are reading online at the click of a button. You can also create your own flashcards for any new vocabulary to help you remember it. This is an excellent internet tool to learn English.
This English learning tool enables you to convert written text to speech by simply highlighting it. This is one of the best tools to learn English for free.
The extension for Google Translate works like ReadLang above. Simply highlight any unknown words or phrases and Google Translate will translate them for you.
How to use these English learning tools effectively
The first step is to choose the correct sites and apps for your needs. So, ask yourself what your specific learning goals are.
Once you have done this, you want to consider your learning style and what methods you enjoy the most. How do you learn best? Alone, through interactions with others, through videos or text?
What do you enjoy doing? Talking, listening, speaking or reading? You may find the answer is a combination of things. If that’s the case then mix it up with a few different apps for specific skills. Not only will you be appealing to your style and interests, but it will stop things from becoming boring and monotonous.
Thirdly, work out how much time you have daily or weekly to spend studying. Make sure this time is something you can consistently stick to and fits into your regular schedule.
Finally, choose the apps and sites that will best serve your goals, your style and your schedule. You will most likely want to consider a combination of a few of them. For example, Memrise will help you with your vocabulary and grammar, but not so much with your listening and speaking. Combine this with Italki or a language exchange site to attend to your other skills.
The final word on English learning tools…Everyone has their own goals, interests, styles and schedules. What fits you may not fit the next person. Get started today and check out some of the best tools to learn English above. You are bound to find activities, texts, people and tutors that give you the extra support you need to help you progress on your English language learning journey.
Also, you might want to check out these two articles: The Best English Tutors Online and The Accidental Poetry of New English Speakers