By Paulina Wozniak
“How can I help my child, if I can’t speak English myself?” That’s the question I often get from my students’ parents. They often believe that if they don’t know the language they are useless and the game is over for them. What they don’t know, however, is that there are plenty of online tools that their kids can use to practise English outside of their English academies. Let’s have a look at some of them!
Quizlet is a website and a mobile phone application which creates interactive flashcards. Students can use it to practise vocabulary, play games with their vocabulary sets and even test themselves. Apart from learning vocabulary, it can be used to practise word formation and key word transformations. Your child could create the sets themselves or study the sets prepared by their teacher.
ESL GAMES+ is a platform full of educational games. It offers a variety of games, quizzes and videos to revise grammar and vocabulary. I guarantee your child will never get bored of them!
Learn English by British Council
British Council offers a variety of activities for a wide range of levels and ages. Learn English Kids is full of activities for children, such as vocabulary games, grammar games, printable worksheets, songs and videos. Learn English Teens offers students an opportunity to practise skills such as listening, reading, speaking and writing as well as their grammar and vocabulary. There even is Premier Skills English for all the football fans! Finally, dear parent if you want to refresh your English you can go to Learn English and have a look at some of their resources for adults.
Oxford Owl is a free website with electronic readers for children and younger teenagers. Apart from the books it has games and activities. A huge advantage is a section with some useful advice for the parents.
Lyrics Training is one of my students’ favourite online tools. It’s is a website and a mobile application on which students can listen to video clips of their favourite songs or movie scenes and have to complete missing words. They can choose whether they want to type the missing words or just choose one of the four options. Either way, students always find it very entertaining.
Learning English by BBC
Learning English is a website where you can learn English with the news. It offers activities to practise all aspects of English learning, including pronunciation. I, myself, am a huge fan of two radio podcasts designed for English learners: 6 Minute English and The English We Speak. The first one lasts more or less 6 minutes and it discusses some interesting topics with focus on vocabulary. The second one is slightly shorter and explains how to use English idioms and expressions, for example ‘it’s on the tip of my tongue’
If you are one of those parents who are particularly worried about your kids’ exam preparation – you needn’t be. The Internet is full of free exam practise websites and platforms, here I’ll only mention the three ones that I use the most. The first on my list is English Revealed. I love this website because it helps students with everything they need for their exams from A2-C2 level. What is more, it doesn’t only give students right or wrong answers, but it also gives them explanations and clues about the correct and incorrect answers. Another two similar websites which help students with their exams skills are Flo-Joe (for A2-C2 levels) and ESL Lounge (from B2 First to C2 Proficiency).