How to improve your English (year 1)

Now that the second term is almost over, maybe we can have a look at this list of activities, apps and resources you can use to improve your English, and particularly some skills that might be more complicated to you. All my recommendations are free, or at least have some functionalities which are free.

Using a dictionary: 

At this level, you should really be using an English-English dictionary, and only use a Spanish-English dictionary from time to time.

NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, USE GOOGLE TRANSLATE!!!

These are my recommendations for online dictionaries:

  • Oxford dictionary: English-English dictionary, with definition and pronunciation of the word. You can also use the thesaurus, if you want to find synonyms (and you really should).

  • Cambridge dictionary: English-English, Spanish-English dictionary, with definitions, pronunciation of the words (British and American), and phonetic transcription.
  • Macmillan dictionary: English-English dictionary, with definition, pronunciation, and very good thesaurus.

Spelling: 

Spelling City– On this website you can create your lists of words you know you have to learn. They may come from our literacy classes, or from Social /Natural Science. Then, click on “play game”, and you can practise the words you wrote but playing games, not just memorising. It will be easier for you to remember both spelling and pronunciation.

Tutorial on how to register with Spelling City and create lists to play games.

In any case, reading is what is going to help you the most. (More about reading later)

Pronunciation:

  • For most words, go to any of the dictionaries I mentioned above.
  • For countries and place names, people, (and for all other words) you can visit this website: FORVO. Real native speakers (not computers) have recorded themselves pronouncing these words and names for you.

Type the word or name you need, then look it up:

Then you can choose if you want to listen to a British person pronouncing the word, or American, or Australian…

Grammar: 

Reading:

Apart from the books I recommended at Christmas, there are some books in English you can borrow from the school library. You have quite a few by Roald Dahl, for example. Please visit the library. You will get a Class Dojo point if you tell me examples of books in English you could borrow from the library (because you’ve had a look there).

Reading books, comics, articles online…is going to help you understand better, but it will also help you with your writing and spelling. 

Listening: 

In the English Department there are some films you can borrow, and that can help you improve your English. Please ask me.

You can also visit the British council Learn English section on listening. Choose exercises for A2 level, and if that’s too easy, take B1.

-ed pronunciation (regular simple past ending)

Watch this video if you need to remember how to pronounce -ed at the end of past simple verbs.

Would you like to try this exercise? Apart from deciding on the right pronunciation, you can also listen to a native speaker reading the text.

You can also play these games.

Phonemic chart- listen to the sounds of English

If you want to try the same phonemic chart I used in class, and be able to listen to the sounds, you may visit this website (scroll down the page to see the chart)

If you want to download the app for your mobile device for free (iOs only), click here.

Pronunciation practice /h/, /p/, /t/,/k/

You may watch the Alphablocks videos we used today here. Click on the links:

If you want to try the same phonemic chart I used in class, you may visit this website (scroll down the page to see the chart)

Homework: watch and listen to Adele’s song “Hello”. Spot as many words containing the sound /h/ as you can.

Please pay attention to the way she pronounces them. You may sing along to the song as well! (that’s why you have the lyrics)

 

 

Protected: #CLILphonetics (7)- /b/, /v/, /f/ – cash, vision, bridge, catch

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Protected: #CLILphonetics (6)- t, th, ed

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Protected: #CLILphonetics (5): /s/ vs /z/- materials

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