Every day, we discover more new tools online that support learners in their journey towards English language proficiency. Not only will these tools help you learn faster, but many are also designed to motivate, inspire and make learning more fun. These tools are so effective even ESL teachers use them!
We focus on listening skills and polishing your spoken English this time. Here are several websites and tools you can use, as suggested on our Teaching with Technology series. Most of these are free (at least for the basic features) so try them out and see which ones will help you best:
Pronouncing words can sometimes be difficult. But don’t worry, even native English speakers have a hard time with them. For proof, watch this video:
This is why it is 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 and listen to them on an mp3 player if you want to learn on-the-go. Phrases are grouped by topic and are easily accessible.
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 review some vocabulary words and 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 your 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 find out 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 as well (some sites may need registration). 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.
- Audiopal, recordmp3online and Vocaroo.com – These sites do not need registration. They are voice recorders that are very simple to use. You can save the files and send (if you need your teacher to hear them).
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 is free and you don’t need to register to use it. However, it also has some paid features that you can avail.
Dictations Online – Through this tool, you can learn sound recognition and pronunciation (and spelling) of difficult words. At first, a whole passage is read at a normal pace for you to get the gist. Then it is read slowly twice, for you to write the words down. After this, everything is read again for you to check your work. Finally, the written text is shown for you to compare and check your work. The passages are arranged by English level, from beginners to advanced.
Dictations io – This is a voice recognition tool that can help develop your pronunciation and spelling skills. For this, you dictate a paragraph which the tool writes down on the screen. If you did not pronounce a word clearly, it will be misspelled on 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.
Online resources to improve English pronunciation
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