Hello lovely English students.
Students often ask me the following question:
Which websites do you recommend for studying English?
I believe that variety is the spice of life, and also the key to successful learning.
Here are my recommended online resources for improving, expanding and enjoying studying English between lessons.
Obviously my #1 recommendation is our own website, smithweb.co.jp where you will find blogs, One Point English lessons, Newsletter, Videos and more. Want listening practice? I recommend SSE Ikoma’s page, made by Les. His listening tools are excellent.
Like classic rock? Check out ROCK 101 (rock101.com) which is my favourite Vancouver radio station.
Prefer something quieter? Check out CBC (cbc.ca) which is the Canadian equivalent of NHK Radio.
CBC Radio offers various different options, including news, talk radio and classical.
There are various ways to use TV and Movies as study tools. Shadowing is a wonderful way to develop natural English and listening to dialogue is a great way to improve vocabulary and learn casual English phrases. I recommend always using a notebook when watching TV. What to watch? Firstly- choose something you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you are more likely to stick with it long-term. Where to watch? I offer 2 modern day suggestions: Youtube and Disney Plus. Also: your standard Japanese TV has great offerings.
Youtube: Easy English: Learning English from the Streets is a great channel with videos of people from different places around the world having regular conversations. Nothing fancy.
Disney Plus: Of all the current streaming platforms, Disney Plus offers the most and easiest language options, plus a great selection of movies and lots of animations. Study with your whole family!
Japanese TV: MLB and Sumo. Both of the major sports in Japan offer language options: MLB games are broadcast with 3 options (Japanese, English or Ballpark Audio) and Sumo offers bilingual commentary from 4pm to 6pm (English and Japanese). Also- NHK and NHK E-tele offer many excellent study programs daily and weekly.
Other Online Resources
DeepL: DeepL is a powerful translation tool. Available in many languages, the free version is easy to use, requires no sign-up and is powerful enough for most students. Use it on your PC or smartphone.
Wikipedia: Wikipedia is a great resource for learning in general. How can we use it for studying English? Find a page of interest to you, read it in Japanese, then switch to the English page and try reading it in English. Switch back and forth and enjoy learning about something while improving your English.