Robert McDougal of Orange County Reviews His Three Favorite Free Online Resources for ESL Students

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Part of learning English as a second language (ESL) is listening to it being spoken. In a previous article, Robert McDougal of Orange County talked about the different methods a new learner could listen to English being spoken, such as in meetings, on television, on podcasts, on the radio. Here, Robert McDougal of Orange County outlines his top three free resources on the internet which help ESL students learn the language faster.

To evaluate a site for its value in helping ESL students, Robert Bouton McDougal of Orange County looks at several things. “There needs to be a wide variety of subject matter,” he says, “and the audio needs to be clear and concise.” Robert McDougal says an excellent site for learning English will ideally have multiple speakers carrying on a conversation in a casual format, not necessarily using exact “proper” English, but instead, using real, everyday English.

The first site that Robert McDougal of Orange County recommends for new students is ESL: English as a Second Language by Dr. Ron C. Lee. This free site has thousands of spoken terms including Speak Easy and Easy Conversations sections, whereby beginning students can listen to basic conversations. Contents include all types of conversations and essays in a variety of subjects along with exercises for improved listening, speaking, and reading comprehension. The audio is clear, concise, and true to life, although Robert McDougal says the pronunciation of each syllable is a little too perfect. “It very simple, so it’s a great place to start,” Robert McDougal adds.

One of his other recommendations, Activities for ESL Students, is a free online resource that includes quizzes, tests, exercises, and puzzles to help the student learn English. The site itself says it’s a “project of The Internet TESL Journal and has thousands of contributions by many ESL teachers.”

Another free site Robert Bouton McDougal says he likes is BBC Learning English. “This place is a gold mine, although it’s not for true beginners.” The topics here focus on radio broadcasts and BBC-style videos, plus most of it is in the English-style accent, which he says helps advanced users comprehend conversation beyond simple American-English.

Finally, Robert Bouton McDougal of Orange County says new students should check out LiveMocha, which is an interactive language site. “Sometimes, it’s hard to get good resources where you can get speaking practice,” he says, “but the lessons on this site have that.” There are quite a few audio and visual interactive lessons here, he adds. You will need to create an account to get on, but it’s worth it for what you get for free.

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