Every day we discover more new tools online that support learners in their journey towards English language proficiency. Not only do these tools help you learn faster, many are also designed to motivate, inspire and make learning more fun. They are so effective even ESL teachers use them!
Here are several websites and tools you can use, as suggested on our Teaching with Technology series. These focus on listening skills and polishing your spoken English. Many are for free (at least for the basic features) so try them out and see which ones will help you best:
Pronouncing words can be difficult. Don’t worry, even native English speakers have a hard time with some words. Watch this video for proof:
This is why it’s necessary to practice saying English words as often as you can. Aside from engaging in conversations regularly, these resources can help you practice:
Spoken Skills learning lab – This website features free self-practice activities for learners. Through its practice pages, you can listen to a phrase, speak or practice saying it, then compare your delivery by recording yourself. You can even download the teacher’s audio example to listen and learn on-the-go. Phrases are easily accessible – they are grouped by topic.
Simple English News – The site features a collection of short news with audio recordings. You can read the text while listening to the audio clip then review some vocabulary words. You can even take a quiz to heighten your comprehension.
BBC site (pronunciation tips) – This site contains videos, quizzes, activities and downloads to help you practice English pronunciation. You can imitate the sound, rhythm, intonation and stress of the words or symbols on the video or audio clips. These can be downloaded on your computer for use anytime. It even has a guide for phonetic symbols which will be very useful in the course of your English language learning.
Recording – Voice recording is a great way to practice pronunciation. It’s an effective tool to hear if you are pronouncing words properly and if you can be understood. The following sites are great for voice recording and providing assessment or feedback. You can even send your audio/video clips to your teacher:
- Soundcloud (needs registration) – You can create audio clips and ask your teacher to comment at any point of the recording.
- Voicecoach, Vocaroo.com and Audiopal (needs flash) – These sites do not need registration. They are voice recorders that are very simple to use. You can save the files for your own use or send to others. Voicecoach also has other tools to improve articulation like tongue twister practice and talking with images.
Interactive games – Cambridge English Online.com offers various fun and challenging ways by which you can improve your pronunciation and knowledge of phonetics.
English Accent Coach – This is a website and mobile application developed to help English language learners fine-tune their English pronunciation. With this sound recognition tool, you learn through interactive game-like activities and track your progress. It’s free and you don’t need to register to use it. However, it has some paid features if you need more help.
Dictations Online – You’ll learn sound recognition and pronunciation (as well as spelling) of difficult words. Initially, a whole passage is read at normal pace for you to get the gist. Then it is read slowly twice, to enable you to write the words down. After this, everything is read again so you can check your work. Finally, the written text is shown for comparison. The passages are arranged by English level, from beginner to advanced.
Dictations io – This is a voice recognition tool that can help develop your pronunciation and spelling skills. Simply dictate a paragraph and the tool writes it down for you. If you did not pronounce a word clearly, it will be misspelled on the screen. You can save the resulting text in your computer.
Rachel’s English – This site teaches American English pronunciation and the keys to conversational English (rhythm, intonation, linking and stresses). It has over 400 free videos that feature a variety of topics as well as exercises and tutorials on correct mouth positions when pronouncing words.
English Central You Tube Channel – This site has numerous free videos and tutorials that can help you properly pronounce sounds.
Article updated August 18, 2020.
Adapted from Teaching with Technology webinars: Tools and Websites for Teaching Pronunciation by Tatiana Nedelko. With thanks to Theo Harris for additional resources.
Online resources to improve English pronunciation
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