Thursday, May 5, 2011

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Favourite Websites for English Practice, pt 2 (Reading)

A couple of months ago I posted about my favourite websites for listening activities for the Internet.  Already I have a lot more listening websites I want to suggest but today’s post, as I promised, is a suggestion of a few websites that would be useful if you wanted to improve your English through reading.

As I already posted, reading is a VERY valuable and useful activity in English (and any language you are studying).  It helps to improve our vocabulary and the more reading we do, the faster we become.  One of the problems with reading activities is that most people don’t enjoy reading a computer screen for long periods of time.

News & Online Newspapers

This is why short news articles are an obvious thing to recommend.  A free, commuter’s newspaper in Britain, the Metro, is also available online (commuter is a person who travels to work every day).   They have a website but if you want to feel like you are reading a newspaper then they have a virtual newspaper you can read as well.  For this service you need to provide an email address and then you will receive a free, virtual newspaper every week day.  The level of English is not too high but you will still get a lot of useful vocabulary. 

If you are more interested in business and finance then you might want to look at a website connected to the Metro newspaper,  You can read articles about various topics in the financial world and there are lots of comments about these articles which are perfect to see how people “talk” about these topics.  If you want to improve your financial/business English but you are at a lower level, the BBC and British Council have made a website for you, Business Magazine.  The articles are short and clear and each article has learning exercises connected to them as options for extra practice.

General Interest

If you don’t want to read a newspaper regularly, then you might want to go so the Wikipedia Simple English site.  I love Wikipedia and I think it is one of the most useful websites on the entire Internet.  Sometimes the articles are very complicated so for learners of English I recommend the Simple English site.  There are not as many articles as in the main Wikipedia English site, but there is a lot of information and it is designed for learners of the English language.

Extensive Reading

If you want to do more extensive reading (as I suggested last week) then I recommend these two websites; Lit2Go and LoudLit are both websites with classic English-speaking stories, such as work by Jane Austen or A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  The great thing about these websites is that you can listen to someone reading the stories while you follow (read) the story.

One more website that is certainly worth looking at is ESL Reading.  It has a variety of different reading materials as well as some learning activities.  I haven’t had much time to look at this site in detail yet but it looks good to me.

Please let me know what you think and, as always, any comments are welcome.



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