Whether you’ll be spending the summer at the beach or simply lazing around on the grass at home, why not take the time to practice your English and enjoy some great books in the language? We’ve put together a list of the top 20 books for learning English during the summertime, a mix of comedy and drama, horror and history, sci-fi and romance, plus a whole lot more. You’ll find something for young and old alike, and, with our graded and active readers, something to suit you perfectly, no matter what your level of English.
Top 20 books for learning English during the summertime
1.- The Beach (Alex Garland) – One night, while travelling in Thailand, Richard is given a map with directions to a mysterious beach, part of a beautiful lagoon hidden far off the beaten track. He sets off in search of this paradise, meeting other travellers along the way. Not long after finding the beach, however, the hard reality behind the idyll soon becomes apparent. Find out what happens with our graded reader. Continue reading →
The Global Scale of English has been a great support and a positive change for my practice. As I previously discussed, the GSE can be used in a variety of ways, but my three favourite uses are as a tool for validating my students’ learning objectives, as a tool to enhance and improve my assessments, and, finally, as a tool to create content. In this discussion, I’d like to look at how you can use the GSE and the Teacher Toolkit to create custom rubrics and also explore the potential of the GSE Assessment Framework for teachers. First up, a refresher on rubrics (please skip to the section titled “Using the Global Scale of English to create English learning rubrics” if you’re already familiar with the concept). Continue reading →
Summer might be the season for taking time off work, but for many English language students it’s also the time of year to sign up for an exam and work towards passing it. Whichever exam you’ll be taking, be it PTE, FCE, CAE, CPE or IELTS or another, we are here with some advice that will help you prepare. Here, then, are our 10 best practices for tackling English language exams.
1. Avoid learning language in isolation
If grammar is the skeleton of the language, then vocabulary is the meat (and we might say idiomatic language the blood). Of course, you can’t have one without the other. When learning new words, make sure you learn the grammatical constructions that go with them (e.g., dependent prepositions, whether verbs are followed by a gerund or the infinitive, and so on). When learning grammar, make sure you personalise and contextualise it with lots of examples. Familiarise yourself with collocationsand learn language in chunks. Continue reading →
Teaching English to teenagers can be frustrating and fulfilling in equal measure. They can be full of energy and ideas that add a real buzz to the class, but they can also be sullen, self-conscious, reluctant to work together and difficult to engage. However, if you approach lessons with teenagers with the right ideas, materials and tricks of the trade, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be a great success.
Here’s our list of indispensable teaching skills for working with teens:
***Do group project work***
Group projects come in all shapes and sizes and work well with teenagers. They increase motivation, promote learner autonomy, have clear, achievable objectives, involve all four language skills, and can be managed in a way that lets everyone in the group take on a role that’s best suited to them. They also make a welcome break from routine and can be run over several classes, with a section of each lesson allocated to them. You’ll find plenty of examples of project workhereandhere. Continue reading →
Summer is here and school is out, so if you’re looking for a way to practice everything you’ve learned in class, why not head overseas to an English-speaking country to practice with the locals? Here are 7 English-speaking countries to practise English in this summer:
From the bright lights of bustling New York to the famous drives and boulevards of LA, from the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon to the Northern Lights across Alaska, the USA offers more than a lifetime’s worth of variety for the visitor. Many of its sights are familiar the world over: the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial, the Hollywood Sign. So is American English, in all its rich diversity, so if you’re looking to study or improve your language skills this summer, the USA gives you no end of choice. And wherever you go, you’re bound to be given a hearty American welcome and made to feel at home. Continue reading →
When learning something new, maintaining a good level of motivation is key – and this applies to learning English, too. Students learn at different rates, and motivation will vary from learner to learner, so it’s useful to have a way to measure their English skills and provide step-by-step goals that they can aim for. The Global Scale of English (GSE) Learning Objectives can do just that.
The GSE is a global standard that allows teachers and learners to accurately measure progress. It provides an easy answer to students asking questions such as, “How good is my English?” and “Am I progressing?” To motivate students and help them move to the next level, the GSE Learning Objectives give learners guidance on what to concentrate on next. Learning a language requires a mix of skills across reading, writing, speaking and listening. If a student understands that they are weaker in one skill they can focus more on this area to help raise their overall proficiency score, or they can tailor their learning to meet the needs of their overall learning goal. They have all been constructed in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Continue reading →
It’s approaching the end of the school year and while you’re concentrating on finishing off the year, here’s an update on what’s new in the world of Speakout and what you can look forward to exploring.
When you’re writing in English, especially when you’re writing for exams, it’s not enough to choose the correct words and put them in the right order. You also have to link sentences together to show how your ideas are organised and to guide the reader through your text. For this, you need a good command of connectors, or linkers, those little words and phrases like but, however, in spite of, because of and in order to. In this article we look at using connectors in English to improve your writing skills.
The most common connectors, and the ones used most frequently in speech, are and, but, or, because, so and then, and with them you can express most ideas quite well. However, in order to demonstrate a more sophisticated knowledge of the language and to express more nuanced ideas, especially in formal writing, there are many other connectors that you need in your repertoire. Let’s have a look at some of them. Continue reading →
Euro 2016 is just around the corner, with double the usual of number of teams taking part in one of football’s most exciting tournaments. Whether you’re a die-hard footie fan or just have a passing interest, whether you’re rooting for host country France, cheering on title-holders Spain, or waving the flag for one of the 22 other contending nations, you’re bound to hear a lot about the beautiful game over the coming month. To help guarantee that you’re on the ball during the conversation and to help make sure that you always know the score, we’ve put together 21 idioms from the world of sport. Let’s kick off, then, with kick off!