Marie's best of ideas for learning English

The best of online English learning resources

I think the best way to learn English online is to have a interdisciplinary experience thanks to multimedia websites and application, by reading, writing, listening, and speaking the language online.



Reading the daily news on English-spoken information websites seems to be a good start to get used to regularly read and understand written English. Bourque gathers about a hundred links to all kinds of online newspapers from all over the world. There is a large part dedicated to English and American news websites. Moreover reading news in a foreign language may give you another approach on a given topic, rather than reading only the national news websites.

My favourite news portals are:

Another good way of reading English on a daily basis is to subscribe to two or three blogs' RSS feeds. It's a good solution to be read English on a daily basis while enjoying yourself since you will choose some blogs that are directely devoted to some of your interests. I personally read Lorelle's blog which is mainly about customizing your own Wordpress blog. It allows me to learn some technical vocabulary as well.


There a numerous online resources to help you to write English online, but you have to pay for most of them. However I found a few free solutions, such as:

  • writing a blog in English, which will not only help you to practice your written English but read comments in English as well
  • Speakspeak is a website which mixes business and general English grammar and vocabulary exercises which might be useful if you feel you're lacking some knowledge in this field.
  • World English gathers a lot of online vocabulary and grammar tests as well. E.g you can work on homonyms, lacking words, pronouns, etc. The site's design and functions are not that great (missing pages i.e), but it gathers many exercices you do not necessarily find somewhere else.

You may also sign up in an English-speaking community which deals with your interests. As for me, I'm a senior member at deviantART, an international community about arts (mainly digital and anime). If you're an active member, a community lets you interact with many members, who are all using English as an universal language. It may allow you to learn some specialized vocabulary and exchange personal feelings and experiences about your own artistic practices.

Listening and speaking

In France, you are used not to talk English a lot while attending high school. It's a pity, but I personally passed my baccalaureat without saying a little word in English: the final exam was written only, and I didn't have to speak English so much during three years. In college, it just didn't get better.

However, how can you think you're learning English without listening nor speaking the language? Fortuntaly, the contemporary Internet offers a large variety of multimedia resources for you to practice as much as possible, without the rigid frame of an academic course.

There are chats reglarly programed on World English where you can join in a group to get an English lesson in our English chat room - just make sure you have a microphone and some speakers.

Video Nation, a service brought to you by the BBC, is a video portal where you can find short documentary films such as Boys Dancing, a reportage about two boys fond on dancing. This kind of website can be a good way to mix English learning as well as cultural and social discoveries.

The BBC has its own service dedicated to learning English. On this website, there are many exercises and activities to let you improve and practise your English.

Series in original version

While we often spontaneously think of the traditional ways of learning English online, there's also more entertaining ways. I.e, watching movies and series in original version can help a lot in order to learn English. I personally think having the subtitles turned on in English is an excellent way of understanding the English which is being spoken in the movie or episode you're watching: i.e, in American series, the pronunciation can be a little different than the British accent, so can the vocabulary. Turning the English subtitles on lets you read the words you may not understand at first when you're listening to the dialogues.

I really learnt a lot of English vocabulary and how to stress words with movies and TV series. Thanks to the DVD technology, you can set up the DVD to play any language and any subtitles, which is an excellent way of learning English while enjoying yourself.

My favourites are: Sex and the City, Prison Break, Desperate Housewives (great pronunciation), Ugly Betty and Lost, for they are all captivating and different screenplays, thus different types of vocabulary and atmospheres to learn from.

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