For anyone looking to supplement their English training, or to practice and advance English speaking and writing skills, the BBC Learning English portal is an excellent site to bookmark.
The main page of BBC Learning English is organized into different panels that include things like English news videos, the latest quizzes or crossword games, and English bloggers. Additionally, the left menu panel will take you to any section of the website that you may want to visit.
Main Page of BBC Learning English
If you click on any of the links on the left, you can visit any resource. One example of a great way to improve your comprehension skills when listening or reading the English language is through the "Words in the News" page. In this section, you can read news in English, or click on the audio link in each report to hear the news in spoken English.
Words in the News
Reading the daily news is a great way to improve English because the topics are subjects that are interesting to read. Another useful area of the site is the "Pronunciation Tips" section under the English Grammar area.
General and Business English
In the "General & Business English" area, you'll discover all sorts of reading and video material, beyond just the news, to practice your comprehension of the English language. These include fun, information and entertaining videos as well.
In the "Pronunciation Tips" section of the "Grammar, Vocabulary and Pronunciation" area, you will have an opportunity to watch video lessons that apply more to classroom style learning of English. In these videos, the "teacher" provides important tips and lessons about correct pronunciation of English words. This area includes useful "sounds exercises" as well.
English Language Quizzes
Another great way to learn English is through quizzes. The Quizzes section of the BBC site offers a wide assortment of fun quizzes that not only test your knowledge of the language, but also correct grammar, spelling and even tests your knowledge about certain topics like first aid, gardening and food - so the quizzes are fun as well as educational.
If you click on "crossword puzzles", you'll discover an area filled with impressive crossword puzzles that hare professionally made and very fun to play. Like regular crosswords, you'll be provided a clue, and you are allowed a few "letter" hints as well. When you know the word, simply type the letters into the squares. Not only does this help you with reading English, it improves topic comprehension and spelling as well.
If correct English grammar is something that you struggle with, then you'll want to visit the "Grammar Challenge" area. These video lessons will teach you important grammar lessons like passive voice, correct verb usage, infinitives and much more. If you are a moderate or advanced English speaker, this is a great area to fine-tune your English skills with even better grammar. At the bottom of the left menu in the "Grammar Challenge" section, you'll discover two more very useful areas of BBC Learning English - BBC China ELT and BBC Arabic ELT.
ESL for Chinese
For Chinese or Arabic BBC readers, these two areas represent excellent resources for learning or improving English speaking skills. The sites are written in the native language, but lead to useful areas that offer valuable resources and tools for learning English. Many of these areas include videos, articles and audio downloads.
The "Specials" section of BBC Learning English features all sorts of useful and interesting content. Some examples include recipes from all around the world, written in English or special information from the BBC College of Journalism with content targeted toward journalists that are trying to improve their English speaking skills.
If you're often "on the go" - don't forget to check out the "downloads" area which features PDF files and audio files that you can download to a mobile device, like an iPod or your mobile phone, so that you can listen to BBC Learning English features while you're traveling.
Overall, the BBC Learning English site is not a lot unlike the BBC Languages site, also offered by the BBC World Service. However, the English learning site provides far more content and resources because there are so many people around that world that are studying the English language.
Learning a new language, or improving your English speaking and writing skills is something that takes time, practice and years to perfect. However, with perseverance and everyday study, you will improve your English so much that your writing and speaking skills may become even better than people who have English as their native language.
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