Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Websites For Learning English Pronunciation


Ways to Help ELLs Learn Pronunciation is the headline of one of my Education Week Teacher columns.

I had to make a lot of difficult choices to come up with this latest “The Best…” list.

One decision I made was to focus this list more on Beginning and Early Intermediate English Language Learners, or for more advanced ELL’s who primarily would use these sites more to “brush-up” or review some basic pronunciation skills. I am developing another list that I’ll call The Best Sites For Developing English Conversational Skills. That one will probably be geared more towards Intermediate and Advanced English Language Learners, and will include more of the sites I received from readers in my call for recommendations.

Several readers recommended sites using the phonetic alphabet. I’ve included them in the second part of this post, but didn’t include any in my Top Ten list. I know some very gifted teachers have been able to help students learn through using this alphabet. I, however, have generally thought it was too confusing for my students, so I don’t feel comfortable including them as one of “The Best…” sites.

In addition, I had a very difficult time ranking this particular list. All ten seemed pretty good to me and, unlike on my other lists, I just couldn’t pick one over the other. So these ten are not listed in order of preference, though I’d be interested in hearing from readers which ones they particularly like.

As with all my “The Best…” lists, links to these sites can also be found on my website.

This list is also linked to the The Best Sites To Practice Speaking English. Those sites could certainly be used in conjunction with using the ones on this list.

Here are my picks — not in any order of preference — for The Best Websites For Learning English Pronunciation:

Susana Canelo and Crystal both recommended Ship or Sheep, and I agree with them. The site offers excellent practice using minimal pairs.

English Online has a good pronunciation course that’s worth having your students try.

I recently blogged about Spoken Skills. If I have a favorite out of any of the sites on this list, it’s this one. Spoken Skills provides good, clear, listening practice, and also provides users the ability to easily record what they hear and play it back for comparison.

Minimal Pair Practice and Quizzes from Charles I. Kelly is one of the many extraordinary activities he has created over the years. This is also one of the sites I might slightly favor in this list.

Simple English News has short and current news stories spoken very clearly and very slowly. It’s great for pronunciation practice, and it has engaging content.

Voice of America Special English News, also recommended by Crystal, is probably for students who are closer to being Intermediate English Language Learners than Beginners, but it is an excellent resource because of its interesting content.

I like WordBuilder because it has a zillion exercises and helps students learns both spelling and pronunciation simply in context.

Spoken English has a lot of examples. The lay-out can be a little confusing, though, and sometimes the words are spoken too quickly.

I think WordBuilder from I Know That is the best site out there for phonics practice. And, yes, it has the same name as another “WordBuilder” site on this list. Like with all I Know That activities, when you click on it, an annoying pop-up asking you to register shows-up. Just click on “Maybe Later” and you’ll automatically proceed to the exercise.

A new site is called English Central. David Deubelbeiss has posted a very thorough post about the site titled English Central – Bringing “voice” and output to learning English. I’d strongly encourage you to read it — I don’t feel any need to “reinvent the wheel.” A quick description is that it’s a free video site for English Language Learners, lets users listen to parts of the video, then lets them repeat what the characters says and compares it to the original. You get graded on how well you do. It has even more features, but you can read David’s post or check out the site directly. The other great thing about it is that the videos are all appropriate for the classroom, unlike several other ESL video sites that have come online recently.

That’s my list. As I mentioned earlier, though, some readers had other recommendations. I’m going to list some of them here, though not all. A few will be included in The Best Sites For Developing English Conversational Skills that I’m working on.

Laura suggests Pronunciation Tips From The BBC and Cambridge English Online to gain familiarity with the phonetic alphabet.

Ronaldo Lima recommends a Guide To English Phonetic Symbols .

In addition, both Ronaldo and David Smailes thought Howjsay was a good one. David also suggested Free Resources For Learning English.

And EFL Geek likes the Sounds of American English.

Carissa Peck has published the 34th ELT Blog Carnival (also know as the ESL/ELL/EFL Blog Carnival) and its focus is on teaching/learning pronunciation.

Pronunciation – native speakers struggle, too! is a series of videos at Links For Students (note that one video on the list isn’t appropriate for the classroom).

I can’t say that is by Mike Harrison.

The New Voice Typing Feature In Google Docs Is Great – I Wonder If ELLs Can Use It For Pronunciation Practice?
This Interactive Could Be The Most Motivating Tool Ever To Help ELLs Improve Pronunciation

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. I tried to trackback this entry, but it failed for some unknown reason. Thanks for the shoutout.

  2. thanks Larry,

    I am in the midst of writing course content for and which are upcoming sites for make-up courses that will be used by high school kids in Italy. I think some of your suggestions may be interesting for “Approfondimenti” or resourses.

    thanks, Susan in Florence

  3. Hi Larry: For my ESL students I try to reduce my Thai students accent by using this very cool website from the University of Iowa:

    I have not found another site as superior as this one.
    Thanks, Ajaan Rob

  4. Hi there Larry,

    Interesting post. This could be a great help especially for English language enthusiasts. Pronunciation is an important area to consider when Learning English Keep it up.

  5. I would like to suggest another useful resource for learning English pronunciation. It is located here:-

  6. I like …. It is an excellent website for worksheets ect

  7. Great article, thanks.
    I have used HowJsay and of course I use the BBC, (being English) but I am always looking for new sites to help with pronunciation.

    Also, I do use phonetics when I teach – simply because my students say that when they study at home, they can’t remember how to pronounce the new vocabulary they have learned. Knowing phonetics gives them a way to write down the words and be able to practise them when not in class.

  8. Thanks again Larry for this great post! It was a welcome addition to the 34th ELT Blog Carnival

  9. Thanks Larry, for the list. I shall look up the ones I didn’t already know about.
    Susie Kay

  10. Thanks for this useful post. I think the text to speech website you mentioned in one of your other posts has helped me a lot when learning pronunciation in English and other languages, too. Thanks for that recommendation as well, from one of your other posts.

  11. Excellent information, I would recommend an application that has helped me to learn English. I hope it will be useful for all

  12. Thanks Larry for including my post on the list! 🙂

  13. Hi Larry,

    I love the helpfulness of this list combined with the judgment you apply.

    As a former universtiy professor who taught linguistics for years we are wondering what you might think of the approach we take in an app we have just published. In the Google Play Store it’s EZ2BClear. The idea is to use methods we found successful in actually teaching phonetics to many students. We have a simple means of doing this with non-technical language and without technical symbols as in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

    As we move forward and prepare the next version we’d love to have your critique as well as any users who are interested. We plan to release the IPhone version very soon.

    Anyway thanks for sharing all your knowledge in this area.

    From: Another…

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