Improving from home

Actualizado: 21 jun 2020

I often have students asking for advice on how to improve different areas in which they are struggling. These are some of my top digital picks for learners, broken down by skill. (Also, they’re all free!)

Free Rice

If you’re looking for a fun way to improve your vocabulary this is just for you. A multiple choice vocabulary quiz, but the questions are endless, and as you master new words, you can move up levels. In addition, the organization that runs this website donates ten grains of rice for each question answered correctly. Go ahead!

ESL Lounge

Organized by level, this website has about 25 reading comprehension exercises per level where you read a short text and then answer some comprehension questions. I would suggest giving yourself a time limit when doing these exercises to also increase reading speed. After you’ve answered the questions, take some time to look up any new words. Also the First Certificate section provided could help you improve your skills and training. Give it a try!

Write and Improve

This is a cool website for students who are looking to improve their writing, especially in terms of grammar and spelling. There are a variety of prompts according to level that you respond to and are given immediate feedback. It’s not perfect, of course, and may miss some mistakes, but overall it’s a really great tool for improving your writing.

Record function on your device

For students who want to improve their speaking, one of the best ways is by recording yourself. You might feel a little uncomfortable, but I know students who have done this every day and really seen improvement.

Here’s what I suggest: Find a quiet place where you won’t be bothered. Choose a topic or discussion question from one of your classes. Then, turn on your recording device and answer the question, talking for about two to three minutes. You can just use the microphone, or use the video recorder (with or without you in it the shot). Then play it back and listen to yourself. I know, I know, we all hate the way our voice sounds, but I promise you, it’ll be worth it. Do you notice any mistakes? Were there pauses, places where you were searching for a word but couldn’t think of it? Can you look for that word in a translator or dictionary now, so that you’ll be ready the next time you want to use it? Also, simply the act of speaking can help you become more comfortable and fluent.


TED talks are quite popular, and with this website, students can find any number of videos related to a topic they are interested in. Each video is accompanied by a lesson that includes comprehension questions to check for understanding as well as open-ended questions and links to explore more about the topic. Most of the videos are pretty short, so you can easily watch it twice if you need, and you can usually find the transcript as well.

Hope this helps you spend your time productively! 

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