17 Fun and Easy Ways to Learn English for ESL Learners
The key to learning English well is to not give up.
But how can you stay motivated when you’re frustrated or bored?
Try something new.
- 1. Add Some Music
- 2. Play Scrabble
- 3. Learn English with Fun YouTube Channels
- 4. Learn English with TV
- 5. Study in a New Location
- 6. Find a Conversation Partner
- 7. Learn English with Movies
- 8. Learn English with Authentic Videos
- 9. Use English Resources for Children
- 10. Get a Book of English Jokes
- 11. Learn English Slang
- 12. Sing Karaoke
- 13. Read Blogs About Learning English
- 14. Start Your Own Blog in English
- 15. Get an English App for your Phone
- 16. Make a Mnemonic Device
- 17. Track Your Progress like “Giveit100”
1. Add Some Music
Listening to music while you study English can wake up your mind and put you in a better mood to learn. Happy songs can help you feel re-energized and motivated if you’re getting bored, while calming music can help you feel more relaxed if you’re feeling nervous about an upcoming test.
Keep in mind, however, that listening to music with lyrics can actually distract you from what you’re studying. The words of the song can take your attention away from the English words you’re trying to learn. If this bothers you, then you can study with music that doesn’t have lyrics, like jazz or classical.
2. Play Scrabble
Scrabble is a classic board game in which players use random lettered tiles to create words in a crossword fashion. It’s a fantastic way to strengthen your English vocabulary. Playing Scrabble challenges you to really think in English as you try to come up with different words with your set of letters.
If you’re taking an English class, buy the board game and invite your classmates to play with you. You can also play Scrabble online through websites like Facebook, where the game is called Words With Friends.
3. Learn English with Fun YouTube Channels
Not only does YouTube have funny entertainment videos, but there are also some excellent resources for learning English! Here are nine awesome YouTube channels that you can use to study English!
4. Learn English with TV
No matter your preference, you’ll find something to watch with these lists of the greatest TV shows for learning English. If you’re looking for a laugh, here are the 10 best modern American sitcoms to learn English.
If you’re not so much into modern humor, check out the 10 best ’90s sitcoms for learning English. And finally, for those sci-fi fans out there, here are the 10 best sci-fi shows to learn English.
5. Study in a New Location
Sitting in the same place, in the same room, every time you study can start to get boring very quickly. If you always study at home, try going to a library or a coffee shop. The change of scenery will improve your enthusiasm, plus changing locations has been shown to improve memory.
Your brain makes connections between what you’re studying and where you are. When you study somewhere different, you force your brain to make new connections to what you’re studying. The more connections your brain makes, the more likely you are to remember what you learned!
6. Find a Conversation Partner
Get more English conversation practice by searching for English friends online. You might be able to connect with another language learner in your area, or even just exchange emails, instant messages or have Skype conversations in English. Try Conversation Exchange, a free website that helps language learners connect for language exchange.
In a language exchange, you have conversations with an English speaker who is studying your native language. This way, your partner practices speaking your native language with you, and then you get to practice speaking English with him or her.
7. Learn English with Movies
Who doesn’t enjoy a great movie? And if you can watch a movie while learning English, even better! To get started, use this complete guide to learning English through movies and films. In addition to the seven movies recommended in the guide, you could also watch one of these modern American classics or a classic American film.
8. Learn English with Authentic Videos
Authentic videos are made by and for native speakers. They can be challenging to understand at first, so start small. I’d recommend looking for 5-minute-long YouTube videos about topics you’re interested in. For example, if you love to cook you might try a recipe channel like Food Network (this one has goodies like Alton Brown’s popcorn and Ina Garten’s chocolate cake).
Five minutes is the average length of FluentU’s video clips too—there’s a wide range of topics for any interest on this language learning platform, and each clip is paired with interactive subtitles, flashcards and quizzes to facilitate understanding and learning.
9. Use English Resources for Children
Pick up some English children’s books from your local library to use for reading practice. The simple language will be easy to follow, and the stories are usually more entertaining than the typical dialogues you find in English grammar books. You could also play some interactive games that are geared towards young English readers, like educational video games or even free online ESL games.
10. Get a Book of English Jokes
While at the library, you could also look for joke books, which are surprisingly useful learning tools. In order to have English conversations, not only do you need to speak the language, but you also have to understand English culture.
Humor is very culture-specific; something that’s funny in one country might not make sense in another. Reading a joke book is also a good way to practice tricky concepts like puns and idioms. You might find the joke book entertaining, and they will teach you how English speakers laugh and have fun.
11. Learn English Slang
One of the most fun parts about learning English is the slang. Slang is more informal and interesting, plus you’ll sound less robotic and have more of your own personality when using it.
Here are some essential American English slang words and phrases to get you started. To better describe your exercise activities and health habits, check out these health and fitness English slang words, too.
12. Sing Karaoke
Learn a few English songs and sing along with them. It might be interesting to finally learn the meaning of the lyrics to some of your favorite English songs. Both FluentU and Lyrics Training are great online platforms to learn the lyrics to your favorite English song.
You can sing at home while you’re cooking or taking a shower, or gather some friends and go sing at a karaoke bar. Singing English songs is a great way to practice speaking and intonation, plus you can have fun singing songs that you already know and enjoy.
13. Read Blogs About Learning English
Following a blog is an excellent way to add some fun to your English learning. And lucky for you, there are lots of fantastic blogs out there about learning English! With a selection that spans from “ESL Hip Hop” to “English with a Twist,” you’re sure to find a blog that interests you.
14. Start Your Own Blog in English
Once you’re familiar with the idea of a blog, why not start your own in English? Spend a little time writing in English every day. It doesn’t have to be exciting; you could write about what you did that day or how your English studies are going.
While you certainly could publish the blog for all to see, keep in mind that you can always keep it private too – or you could even just write in a journal. This exercise is a perfect way to become more comfortable describing your interests and hobbies in English.
15. Get an English App for your Phone
You’re probably constantly on your phone, right? So why not use it as an opportunity to practice English? There are dozens of great apps, and so the hardest part is simply narrowing it down to just a few. Here are the current eight best smartphone apps for ESL learners.
16. Make a Mnemonic Device
A mnemonic device helps you remember information by associating it with words, images or sounds you already know. For example, to remember how to spell “because,” you could think of the phrase “Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants.”
You can find many examples of mnemonic devices online, but mnemonics are most useful when you make up your own. You can connect the mnemonic device to your native language, and you’re more likely to remember something that has personal meaning for you.
17. Track Your Progress like “Giveit100”
“Giveit100” was a community of people all striving to get better at something in 100 days. They would record a 10-second video every day that showed them practicing their skill.
You can follow the same method to record 100 days of English study/practice! Even though Giveit100 is no longer active, you can watch all the videos for inspiration on YouTube.
You’ll be able to see and hear your progress over time, while creating some accountability for yourself. Share the videos with your friends or on social media—it’s very motivating to have other people rooting for you (hoping for your success)!