Wednesday, July 23, 2008

free practice TOEFL tests

Go to this website and click on "prepare for the test." You will find two free practice TOEFL tests there (one the paper based test and one the internet based test).

Good luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Go 4 English! is a website designed for Arabic speakers who are learning English. Much of the site is in Arabic (and hence, I can't tell you what it says), but it looks great. It's put together by the British Council, a wonderful English language learning and teaching organization. (You'll see other British Council websites in other posts below.)

Monday, July 14, 2008


This link goes to the Purdue's OWL site (a website I've given you already). Specifically, it leads you to a page which explains plagiarism and citation. If you plan to go to school in Europe or America or if you plan to publish an article in an English-language journal, you must understand the ideas of plagiarism and citation! Be sure to give the name of the author and full information on the study/research/article/book which that author wrote whenever you use someone else's ideas.

movie trailers

If you would like to watch more movie trailers (those short advertisements for movies) you can download them for free from this site. Watching and listening--especially about a movie you have seen--is a great way to practice English!

free textbooks in English

Both of these websites offer access to free textbooks and course materials in English. Many of the textbooks are for the sciences and for math, but look around to see if you can find things that interest you. The second link ( is created by MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This institution is a world-class engineering school. It is very very prestigious, and you can be absolutely sure that the material on the website is of a high quality.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


If you don't have itunes already, you might consider getting it. Download this audio program free here:

Once you have itunes, you can go to the "itunes store" and search for free podcasts. I recommend podcasts from NPR (search for "NPR" and many podcasts will show up; almost all will be free. You'll be able to tell which are and which aren't free). Also, if you would like to listen to good short stories, search for "New Yorker" and subscribe to the "New Yorker: Fiction" podcast. These 20 -30 minute pieces consist of someone reading a short story and then two people discussing the story.

You can also search for "ESL" or other podcasts for learning English. Many of them will be free.

(Note: if you "subscribe" to a podcast, it means your computer will automatically download each new podcast in that series. You can always unsubscribe or delete the podcasts. You can listen to podcasts on your computer or on an MP3 player (an ipod).)

This website is one to look at when you want a challenge. The stories are opinion stories, commentaries on American happenings (often on politics). The site, written by writers of The Washington Post (a newspaper out of Washington, D.C.) is well written and often very clever. I really like it!

News Resources
This link goes to the New York Times, a respected newspaper published in New York City. The paper is left leaning (Democratic) and pretty much all the articles are free. You may be asked to "sign up." Just give your email address. You will not be charged; the service is free. Click on where it says "World" on the right to have news that is about the world and not about the U.S.
This is the main BBC (the British Broadcasting Corporation) website. There are many world news stories and lots of good reporting. Many of the stories have video or audio that goes with them.
Also check this link out! This website is designed to help people learn English. There are games and news stories. There are lessons with new vocabulary and with comprehension questions. There are ways to read an article and listen to the same article (click on the icon that looks like a speaker to hear the news story). Listening and reading the same thing is a fabulous way to increase comprehension. Almost all the BBC stories will have people speaking with British accents.
This is the American version of the BBC. NPR (National Public Radio) is a news service which has many articles which you can read and listen to (like above). Again, reading and listening to something is a great way to increase comprehension. Plus, this website will help you practice hearing the American accent.

OWL--Purdue's On-line Writing Lab

I've passed along this link, but I can't recommend it highly enough. There are LOTS of resources for non-native speakers.

Click on the link that says "English as a Second Language" over on the right side. You can also look at the resources on citation and on different types of writing. It's great!

Helpful Websites

A few helpful websites for students learning English.

This page has vocabulary often on the TOEFL (which tends to mean the words are generally useful). The words are sorted by root (that is the word part that is most important to the meaning like "act" in "reaction" and by prefixes (a part that gets added on to the beginning of a word like "un" in "uncomfortable") and suffixes (the part added to the end of a word like "er" in "worker"). Please email or ask in class if the website is confusing. With any luck, you'll find it helpful.

2. and
These are two good resources for finding scholarly things in English. The first searches recent articles (and you may not be able to see all the article without paying, but you will likely be able to see at least an abstract); the second site searches books. You'll be able to see the entire book if it was published before 1923 but only parts of books published after then. (The date relates to American Copyright law.)

This website focuses on spelling. Look around to find tips for how to spell as well as games and exercises.