I just found a list of documentary websites that have some slower English videos for students. Listening to documentary videos is a much better means of learning English than watching American comedy and drama television shows and movies, because the English in documentaries tends to be the polite and formal English used in business and academics. There is too much slang and informal English in American television and in movies.
A website that has some good documentary videos suitable for English learners with slower English is here: http://www.neok12.com/
A caution I have is that not all of these videos are in slow, measured English, but I think many of you will find good videos to help improve your listening skills. Here is one:
If you click on this video actually in You Tube, it has a transcript, so you can put it in Readlang as well and track your new vocabulary words!
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There is a new, free, non-fiction ebook on the We Give Books website. It is one of those wonderful DK books that have great illustrations and describe something from history or nature. In this case, the topic is lions and tigers.
You do have to register for that group, but they will not try to sell you anything. They are an NGO that wants people to read more. They will only send you emails about new, free ebooks!
Also, I had written in the past some tips about when to use the word “while,” because many of my Japanese students fail to use it. One of my students explained to me that she still did not understand when to use “when” and when to use “while.” Let me clear this up…
Try to place “when” and “while” in these four sentences:
____ I eat corn, it gives me diarrhea.
He got a ticket for talking on his cell phone _____ driving.
She had no choice but to study ______ she ate her dinner.
_____ you get to the store, don’t forget to buy some chicken.
Before you look, try these out and write down your answers. Can you see the differences in when to use “when” and when to use “while?” What do you think the difference is? When you try to figure out the difference for yourself, you are more likely to remember it for future use. Also, this is why I encourage my students to take even 15 minutes (30 is better) each night and read a book at your level in English , because you see the correct usage over and over. This helps your mind to begin to automatically make these connections. Your English will improve much more rapidly.
“When” is used to indicate “at that time.” “While” is used to indicate “during an event or action.”
1) When I eat corn, it gives me diarrhea. (During the time I am eating the corn, I don’t have stomach problems; it is after. The times I eat corn this occurs.)
2) He got a ticket for talking on his cell ph0ne while driving. (He was on the cell phone during the time he was supposed to be driving. Two actions were going on at the same time.)
3) She had no choice but to study while she ate her dinner. (She had to eat and read at the same time. Two actions were going on at the same time).
4) When you get to the store, don’t forget to buy some chicken. (At the time you have completed arriving at the store, do the next action). But, “I bought chicken while I was shopping ” – two actions at the same time.
Sometimes, you can use “when” and “while” interchangeably, but not always. If you can use them interchangeably, it usually allows you to emphasize the time (when) or the two events or actions going on (while).
If you would like to practice this during your appointment, let me know. As always, you can set an appointment here:
Right now, Google is running a coupon code. You can get a free first lesson with me, if you have never used a Google Helpout before. The coupon code is: LAURIE15Z
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The offer for two free audio books from Audible.com is up on the Amazon website again. It is only for customers who have never had an Audible membership before.
BTW… I am not affiliated with Amazon or Audible in any way.
Many of my students likely already know about Jake Shimbukuro, the Ukelele master. PBS has some really great, short videos about him that are in English. They are labeled as Levels 6 though 12, but I really encourage all but my beginner students to try to watch, because Jake and the other commentators (at least on Video 2) speak slowly enough, that I think many of my students will be able to follow what he is saying. There are about 9 videos. After you watch 2 videos, you have to sign up for a free PBS account, but I encourage you to do so, because PBS has many more videos at all levels that are great listening practice.
I have come across a website that I recommend very highly. It has a unique means of using graphic organizers, short explanations or stories, and learning games in order to help students learn English grammar. This website has quite a bit of verb tense practice for students in a really understandable and fun learning format:
I downloaded one sample chart to show you how great the graphics are to help you learn.
I can’t recommend this site more highly. Check it out…
Someone asked on Google Plus what they should do to improve their English. There are so many applications for language learners out today. Sadly, many are just drill programs. They help students drill language learning, but they do not have students engage in authentic types of actions that make their language learning meaningful and efficient. Things we drill we do not learn. Research has shown we learn when we are doing meaningful actions while learning English.
This is why my lessons have students reading, viewing, and listening to meaningful and interesting information that we discuss. Vocabulary and sentence constructions are introduced at the beginning of the lesson, and there is plenty of opportunity to use the new words in meaningful and interesting conversations. This is how a language is acquired, by using it for interesting purposes that our minds find useful. You can find out more about my lessons here: https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/video-on-english-lessons-with-laurie-flood/
Another meaningful and interesting way to learn English that is very powerful is to read English at your current level. In the past, I have mentioned Readlang as a very good eReader that I highly recommend. This eReader allows a student of almost any world language to read content on the web in the eReader, translate words they do not know, and keep track of the new words, for later practice. This is a great way to learn English, because you are reading interesting content, so it is meaningful English instruction. Saving the words automatically and drilling them later is not bad, because the words are presented in the context of what you have just read. Readlang has lists of articles and has leveled the lists, so you can find content at your level without searching. Also, this article has a link to good intermediate English reading podcasts with the transcript of each podcast that you can put in your Readlang eReader : https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/podcast-with-transcript-to-put-in-readlang/ This gives you reading and listening practice!
Of course, you do not need to read ebooks or solely online content. Our minds find good books meaningful and interesting as well, as long as we choose books that are not too difficult (no more than a few new words on each page!). There are quite a few books I have recommended on this website for English Language Learners. If you are not sure of your level, I can determine that in one lesson. The testing is easy and relaxing. It is meant to allow you to learn a few new words as you take the test. At the end, I will provide you a list of books at your reading level (most of which can easily be bought on Amazon.com for $5 to 6 USD, some of which are free online books).
Many of these same books from your list that I give you can be found as Audible audio books, so you can practice your listening at your present level of English as well as your reading. Audible usually has an affordable plan that allows you a one audio book a month (used to be around $15 USD). Audible books can be uploaded to many different types of devices, such as MP3 players, iPods, iPhones, other smart phones, and tablet PCs. Usually an Audible plan will provide you with one free audible book as a trial, to see if you like the service.
Also, there are some good sources of documentaries that are at levels of English suitable for English language learners. Some are listed in the Resources page on this website, but I will do an article soon about one other very good source of many documentaries suitable for English Language Learners.
When you encounter new words in your book or in the documentaries, you can either save them in your Readlang browser, or you can save them in the electronic flashcard file called Anki. For myself, I like to store all of my new Spanish words in one place in order to study. That makes things more efficient.
These are a few powerful ways to begin. There are many more resources on this website that can help you learn English. Click on this link: https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/references/
All of these recommendations and sources are enjoyable and powerful ways to improve your English.