Here is a list of some of my favorite links related to studying English:
Test your current reading level in English
Engaging English has a 10-day free trial of reading materials based on your current reading level. There is a free reading test to obtain your Lexile score, which is an objective measurement that helps you find appropriate reading materials at your current level of reading comprehension and range of reading difficulty. For more information about Lexile measurements, you can also consult this link.
Learn new vocabulary
Memrise.com has many useful vocabulary lessons with dynamic algorithms to help you memorize new vocabulary words, definitions, and concepts. You can also create your own personal vocabulary lists or import them from a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel.
Reference tools for definitions, translations and pronunciation
Onelook.com is a collection of dictionaries in one place at the click of a button. Onelook can also you help you find words based on spelling patterns, such as words that begin with “br*” or words that end with “*nge”. Rhymezone.com is also a good resource for pronunciation since it helps you find similar-sounding words. For basic bilingual translations between English and your native language, I recommend using wordreference.com for general vocabulary and proz.com for technical vocabulary and jargon. Wordreference’s forums help you get fast answers to your translation, definition, and vocabulary usage questions from its active community of users.
Put vocabulary in context
Aside from consulting dictionaries for the meaning of words and expressions, it is important to become familiar with common usage. In other words, when is it appropriate to use one word instead of another one when both have a similar meaning? What are the most frequent words that go together (collocations) in English? Brigham Young University has put together a corpus composed of over 450 million words from both spoken sources and written texts from American newspapers, magazines, and academic texts from 1990 to 2012. The database is fully searchable and there are also links to other corpora for British English and combinations of American and British English.
American English pronunciation podcasts
Pronuncian.com has a lot of great resources for teaching American English pronunciation including over 200 podcasts, videos, and explanations with audiovisual aids. As they say on their website, it’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Get your texts corrected for spelling and grammar
Italki.com and Govoluble.com are two international language community websites that both allow you to submit texts for native speakers to correct. With a free membership on Italki, you can submit 2 notebook entries per day (maximum 2500 characters per text) compared to 4 writing practice texts per day (maximum 1500 characters per text) with an ordinary membership on Govoluble. Unlike Italki, Govoluble also allows you to record yourself and obtain feedback on your pronunciation.
Get feedback on your writing style
If you’ve already had your texts corrected for grammar and spelling at Italki or Govoluble, but you would like more constructive feedback on the content and writing style, you should sign up for an account at ABCtales.com. This is an online community of writers who share their work online and give each other feedback. It’s also a great source of original reading material and you can be in direct contact with the author. Currently, there are over 100,000 stories from over 25,000 authors.
Request recordings of your texts
Once you have obtained a corrected version of your text from either Italki or Govoluble, you can then go to Rhinospike.com to request a recording by a native speaker. This is another online language learning community designed for on-demand recordings; learners submit texts and fellow learners record them in their native language. The more you record audio for other learners, the more priority is given to your requests.
Read free newspapers online
Readmetro.com has a network of its free newspapers in over 24 countries and local editions in many, many cities. For English, I recommend the editions published in Canada and the US. The articles are generally easy to read and informative.
Watch inspirational TED talks
I’m truly inspired by all the educational, informative, and motivational talks I find on ted.com. I literally get goosebumps and find the kind of solace I usually get from doing yoga. Aside from working on your listening skills, almost all of the videos have subtitles in English and many other languages.
Listen to free audio books
In addition to reading free ebooks, audio books are great listening practice. Audiobooks.org has many free audio books that you can download in .mp3 format and has links to other free and open-source sites that host audio books. If you can find both the ebook and audio book for the same title, then there are many useful exercises that you can do with both resources. For example, you can listen and take dictation; take notes on the breathing, pausing, and phrasing; and practice shadow speaking by reading along and out loud at the same time as you listen to the recording in order to match the speaker’s pausing and intonation.
Listen to radio stations and music from around the world
Tunein radio is great for listening online to radio stations from around the world. As you can imagine there are many stations to be found in English-speaking countries, ranging from talk radio, news, sports, and different music genres. Spotify is a great site for finding specific songs, artists, CDs and subscribing to or creating your own playlists of music that you can listen to online, on your mobile device, or even in your car.
Participate in Massive Open Online Courses
There are several websites that offer free online courses with content in English. You have no obligation to finish the courses, but if you can participate in an ongoing program, you can interact with other learners and even the course creators themselves. I just participated in a training course on futurelearn.com for English teachers and there were thousands of teachers worldwide who posted comments and replies to the course content. It was very stimulating, dynamic and interactive. I also recommend the free online courses from coursera.org and edx.org. Openculture.com also has lots of links to free online courses.
Practice speaking with language exchange partners
Aside from the possibility of having your texts corrected on Italki and Govoluble, they are great websites for finding language exchange partners. I also recommend Go Speaky as a developing language exchange community where you can have audiovisual and text chats with other language learners directly on their website and app.