Learning a new language can be a daunting experience that doesn’t come easy for many people. Children, in particular, can feel demotivated without appropriate support, learning resources, and feedback. Figuring out how to learn English, like any other new language, can be fraught with challenges that impede learning and progress. But worry not!
If you’re interested in discovering the English language step by step in the comfort of your home, then you’ve come to the right place! Even though English is considered to be one of the more accessible languages that’s easy to learn, it can throw off even the most advanced students and fluent speakers.
As the most commonly studied second language in the world, however, learners of the English language have access to a wealth of resources to make learning intuitive and fun! We bring the best tips, learning resources, and apps to make sure that the time you spend learning English is fruitful and effective!
10 Tips on How to Learn English Online and at Home
There are a few strategies that you can employ as both a novice and advanced learner of the English language to improve your proficiency and fluency. While you may already be familiar with some of these, others may be new! What do we love about these tips? You can incorporate them into your learning process from the comfort of your home to help take your English to the next level!
1. Start Reading!
We live in an age with an abundance of reading material for kids available just a click (or tap!) away. And there is a wealth of content in the English language! Reading is a great way to help you build your vocabulary and expose you to different sentence structures while keeping you engaged!
Whether you decide to go with fantasy fiction, or a nonfiction article on the latest scientific developments, reading offers a chance for you to become comfortable with a language you may not otherwise speak frequently! Here are some other things you can explore to incorporate reading into your lifestyle:
- For some casual reading, consider browsing through easy-reading websites like Buzzfeed, Upworthy, or Mashable.
- If there’s a book written in your native language that you’re very fond of, you can try picking up its English translation.
- Switching the default language in your search browser and phone to English can help you incorporate English.
- If you’ve got Facebook or Twitter, try following more public figures that post in English to see more English content in your feed to read!
2. Join a Community of English Learners!
Learners of the English language would be surprised to know that other learners of a similar proficiency often face similar challenges and issues. Whether it’s working on your pronunciation, or getting a better grasp of the tenses, learning any new language can be a frustrating experience. However, overcoming this frustration can become easy when you’re in touch with like-minded learners with similar goals.
You can share your insights and breakthroughs in this journey of discovering a new language, right from the comfort of your home and become part of a community-driven learning process. Here are some ways to find and connect to a community of English learners today:
- Facebook is full of groups for ESL (English as a second language) learners. You can filter through a few to find one that caters to English speakers that share your proficiency level.
- You should have similar luck on Reddit’s English language forum, which is a large community of English learners and speakers that come together to answer any questions you may have as a novice or advanced learner.
3. Start Speaking!
As a new learner, it can be discouraging to start using a language that you haven’t yet mastered. The fear of making silly mistakes can restrict even the most proficient learners from ever speaking English to give an order at a restaurant, or to seek help shopping for groceries.
However, the evidence couldn’t be clearer. Students who learn languages through conversations tend to see faster results than students who rely on more traditional methods.
- A University of Michigan study from 2016 found that students who learned English by speaking made significant improvements in their language skills over students who studied through vocabulary and grammar exercises alone.
- Learning through conversations allows learners to improve their retention of new words, better understand grammar, better recognize words, and speak more fluently and confidently.
There are plenty of ways to speak in English from the comfort of your home. You can call your friends to practice speaking with them when you’re free. Alternatively, you can find English tutors that can speak to you over video calls to help you practice your English.
4. Set Clear and Attainable Learning Targets
It’s easy to promise yourself that you’ll master a skill or hobby by the end of the year, or by the time you reach a certain age. This could look something like, “I’m going to become fluent in English by the time I’m in high school!” How to learn English at home, you may have asked yourself. Well, here it is, setting clear and attainable learning targets can help you stay on track with your learning progress. There’s so much besides “getting fluent” that your targets can focus on to help you become more fluent and proficient.
Your goals could instead look something like this. “I pledge to learn a new word every day until the end of the year” or “I promise to refer to the dictionary every time I come across an English word that I don’t understand.” Instead of setting a broad goal, it’s more effective to have smaller, but clearer, attainable learning targets that can also help you measure your progress. Here are some other targets you can set for yourself.
- Within nine months, I want to score 110 on the TOEFL exam so I can pass the language admission requirements for my dream university.
- Within six months, I want to be able to have short conversations on sports and the weather with native English speakers.
- Within three months, I want to be able to text my friends in English to ask about homework and school without needing a dictionary.
Related Reading: How to Use Formative Assessment in Your Classroom: 5 Effective Ways
5. Keep Your Chin Up!
The English language has over 750,000 words, grammatical rules that are often broken, and pronunciation irregularities that confuse even native speakers. So if you’re having a hard time grasping this language, that’s okay. When you’re in a position where it feels like you’re not progressing in quite the way you hoped, which is something that most learners experience, you shouldn’t let in thoughts such as “I’ll never get this.” Instead, replace those negative and intrusive thoughts with “It’s not easy now, but I’ll get there!”
Instead of telling yourself, “I don’t speak English well and I should quit learning,” you should remind yourself you’re “learning a little every day and improving slowly.” Learning any new language can feel like a steep, uphill walk, but that’s only because new languages come with a steep learning curve. As long as you keep your chin up, you’ll get there. Focusing on how to learn English fast may be counterintuitive, and your focus should be to learn a little every day.
6. Look Out for New Words!
Words are the building blocks of any language. The more words you have in your pocket, the better you can express yourself to communicate with others and articulate your thoughts. When you are reading a book, watching a movie, or speaking to someone, there’s a good chance that you might come across a word you’re unfamiliar with.
Just imagine how many new words you can learn if you made an effort to take note of new words you came across in your day-to-day lives. Whenever you come across a word you’re unfamiliar with, this is what you should do.
- Instead of ignoring the word, use it as a learning opportunity to make note of it, and look up what it means.
- Building your vocabulary is crucial to mastering a new language, and can be as simple as writing down any new word you’re unfamiliar with so you have a chance to look it up later.
- You can take this a step further and revisit your ever-growing word collection to see if you still remember what the words mean.
- Try to form sentences with the new words you’ve learned. You can take this a step further by trying to use them in conversation.
7. Watch TV!
Whether you’re looking for a new movie for kids, want to get an update on the weather, or keep up with the news, TVs still have a place in our modern lives. This is especially true if you’re trying to learn a new language.
If you make an effort to watch more native speakers converse in the language that you’re learning, you should be able to listen and learn. You can improve your pronunciation of words by listening to them speak while building your vocabulary. If you want to discover how to learn English fast and have fun while you do, here’s what you should try.
- Turn on the television the next time you don’t feel like studying your next language lesson and find a show that you think you might enjoy.
- If you’d like to take this to the next level, you can even check out this Language Learning extension for Chrome that allows you to view the subtitles of any show that you’re watching in two languages.
- One stream of subtitles can be your native language, while the other can be English. Having these two streams of subtitles running side by side can help you get a better grasp over spoken English.
Consuming English content on TV or any other medium is also a great way to discover new accents and improve your ability to understand words in an accent that you may be unfamiliar with.
8. Sing in English
Don’t worry if you don’t have the best singing voice or are a little out of practice! Just sing along to any English songs that you can access. YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music are just a few of the platforms where you can access a rich collection of songs in English, and maybe even some that you enjoy! But why should you sing along to songs in a language that you’re trying to learn?
For starters, singing can be a great way to make a new language feel more natural. Like listening to native speakers talk, it can help you get a better understanding of pronunciation, and sentence structure, and build your vocabulary without giving you the feeling that you’re sitting through a language lesson.
9. Enroll in Online Classes
The conveniences of modern technology allow you to take classes from anywhere in this day and age, including the comfort of your home. Irrespective of your proficiency and fluency level, you should be able to find an English language course that suits your skill level and goals! If you have to travel for a football tournament to an English-speaking country, for example, you can probably find a course that can help you brush up your conversational skills before you get there!
Alternatively, you can take longer courses that can help you slowly advance your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. One of the biggest advantages of enrolling in online classes is that, unlike regular school language classes, you can access them at a time that’s convenient for you. Many online language classes also come with regular quizzes, digital flashcards, and homework that can help you test what you’ve learned!
You know what they say! Practice makes perfect. You could be doing well in your English class this week with English learning resources, but unless you practice what you’ve learned regularly, you may find it difficult to retain and apply what you’ve learned. Practice can take different forms! Going over english worksheets, class notes and quizzing yourself on what you’ve learned at home is a good starting point!
Another great way to practice your English is by making flashcards of new words you come across, and writing their definitions on the back. You can go through the flashcards regularly to see if you remember what the words mean. If you’re feeling extra confident, it may even help to try using those words in sentences before you move on to another flashcard.
Related Reading: Best Tips & Strategies to Teach English Language
5 Indispensable Resources to Speed Up Your English Learning
If you’d like to discover all the amazing resources you can access to aid your English learning, then keep reading. Learning English can become tricky as you get older, but having the right learning resources at your disposal can make a world of difference. Here are some learning resources for kids that are indispensable once you incorporate them into your learning. But don’t take our word for it. Try them out yourself!
1. BBC Learning English
The renowned BBC network is no stranger to using the world of technology to assist learning. BBC Learning English is a free online platform that offers English courses for different levels of learners, quizzes, vocabulary resources, and pronunciation videos. The learning content that it provides centers around current events, making your learning even more relevant.
Where to Access this Resource: BBC Learning English
Fluency Level: Suitable for all levels of learners
2. British Council’s LearnEnglish
Perfect for auditory learners, this online platform offers a rich collection of audio clips that range from short stories to podcasts! The service also provides worksheets with all their audio clips so that learners can test themselves on what they’ve listened to, and help them make the most of their time. Each audio clip also comes with a transcript, which can be useful for newer learners that would prefer to follow along with a text while listening!
Where to Access this Resource: British Council’s LearnEnglish
Fluency Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced learners
3. A Dictionary!
A dictionary? That’s right! It’s always handy to keep a dictionary with you at all times so that you can immediately look up a new word that you come across. It may not be convenient to carry one around, but you can always have one installed on your mobile device! If you’d prefer to download one, we recommend Merriam-Webster. It is easy to use and offers a host of features such as easily keeping track of new words that you come across!
Fluency Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced learners
4. LanguageGuide English
If you can’t figure out how to learn English online for free, then check out LanguageGuide English. It’s a free online tool that lets you generate words in different tenses. If that isn’t enough, the website also offers a database filled with vocabulary arranged into different categories (food, nature, clothing, etc.) that you can practice through listening and speaking challenges!
Fluency Level: Suitable for intermediate and advanced learners
5. Learning Chocolate
Perfect for younger learners, Learning Chocolate delivers an audio-visual assortment of words to help improve your vocabulary. The words are intuitively organized into different categories and are accompanied by images and audio that allow you to not only see a corresponding image associated with that word but also hear how it’s pronounced!
Related Reading: Best Vocabulary Games to Play in Your Classroom
Our 5 Favorite Apps for Learning English
Apps can be a great addition to your language-learning process. When it comes to English, there happen to be quite a few to choose from! Check out these English learning apps to help you improve your English.
If you’re interested in discovering how to learn English step by step, then this is the app for you. Quizlet delivers flashcards that you can use to improve your vocabulary, and then follow that up with simple activities and quizzes provided by the app. It’s a simple formula that can help you focus on the fundamentals in an intuitive way.
We’ve already stressed the importance of speaking as a way to improve your English proficiency. If you’re interested in another way to connect to other learners to practice speaking, Tandem is an app that lets you do that. You can connect to English language learners from across the world to have casual conversations that can help you improve your pronunciation.
Figuring out how to learn English online for free becomes easier with Beelinguapp, an app that should be useful for learners that prefer reading over listening, writing, and speaking when it comes to new languages. This app provides side-by-side translations of English text in a language that a learner is familiar with to aid comprehension.
Spotify may not be the first app that comes to mind when you’re thinking of resources that can help you learn English. But you’d be surprised! There are plenty of podcasts for English learners that you can subscribe to. If you want to switch up your learning, you can even start listening to English songs and sing along to them!
Learning English with qualified tutors is a great way to take your English to the next level. If you’re interested in finding a tutor to get one-on-one English lessons, then Preply is the place for you. The app makes it very easy to find a tutor that’s right for you, and allows you to take language lessons from the comfort of your own home.
Let’s Get Learning!
Discovering how to learn English at home is a daunting affair, but armed with these learning resources, apps, and tips, your learning journey just got a whole lot easier!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As an intermediate to advanced speaker, will these tips be helpful for me?
These tips, resources, and apps can help learners across all levels, from beginners and intermediate speakers to more advanced learners.
Will these tips be useful for learners across all age groups?
These tips should be useful for learners across all age groups, but some might be more appropriate for intermediate to advanced speakers!