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.
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:
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.
Kids R Cool teachings pronunciation of words through the form of a game my students like.
Spoken English has a lot of examples. The lay-out can be a little confusing, though, and sometimes the words are spoken too quickly.
Lastly, 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.
(I’ve added Perfect Pronunciation to this list)
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.
Susana Canelo has an extensive list of good sites for English speaking practice.
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