Learn English from Elementary to Intermediate: Useful Resources and Motivation

I share my experience of self-study of the English language. For 8 months I have used many different resources, the search for which took my time. Hopefully writing this article will help you save yours.

Background: 11 years of school and 2 years of university English. Then 6 years of a break and oblivion.

Motivation: when my son was 8.5 months old, she began to learn English and saw that he understood, reacted and began to speak English. It seemed like a miracle to me. After all, she remembered how at school I taught and cried, cried and taught. Language was given to me barely, with a creak, pain and suffering. And then the baby understands everything, speaks and does not think!

And in order to continue giving the kid live English, I had to pull it up.
Started by going through the Enterprise tutorial. But doing it alone was boring. Then she decided to teach others English herself. I took several students in person and via Skype. Lessons had to be prepared willy-nilly. And since I wanted to make them as informative, interesting and effective as possible, I studied textbooks and websites at night. Some of them worked, others did not. As a result, a list of favorite resources and a methodology for self-education and training on them of my wards were formed.


1. Textbooks

Such as Speak out, Headway, Cutting Edge, New English File, Upstream.

The textbooks allow you to quickly and effectively pull up all 4 skills: Listening, Speaking, Writing and Reading. Each has its own strengths. Speak Out is the lightest, most modern and most efficient. Upstream - gives a lot of vocabulary and amazingly gives grammar (my favorite), but loses in fascination. The New English File has cool exercises on Pronunciation. Download, choose which you like and start to go through. In lessons, I usually combine materials from these textbooks + add assignments for working out grammatical constructions for speaking.

2. Longman en-dictionary

This dictionary is my first in the bookmarks bar.

My favorite feature of the site is the ability to listen to the search word in sentences. Here you will find Collocations, synonyms and antonyms of the word.

An example of how I work with a dictionary. I meet an unfamiliar word in an article. Impressing it in Longman (Writing practice). Then I listen to it separately and repeat (developing Pronunciation). After that I listen to sentences with a word and repeat them (I train Listening). In general, one can learn a language from this dictionary as well. There is an online and desktop version.

Beginner and Elementary students usually advise reading the transcription, saying the word, and then listening to the announcer. Thus, you can easily assimilate phonetic symbols without memorizing them on purpose.

3. Cambridge en-dictionary

If you have not yet grown to a monolingual dictionary, then the Cambridge dictionary is your option. It gives a much more accurate translation than the Google translator and other dictionaries I know.

4. Google Pictures

If you read the text and come across a word-object of the real world, then it’s better not to drive it into dictionaries, but to drive images directly into Google. So you will immediately know what a screw is and associate a picture with an English word. Without translation

5. Engvid and Show-English and Learnathome

On these sites we listen to live English.

Learnathome - simple videos that are easy to watch even on Elementary /
Show-English - TV shows and movies with subtitles. 40 minutes a day for free, but, believe me, if you work out the material, then this will be enough for you.
Engvid - vocabulary and grammar videos from native speakers.
Well, do not forget about Youtube, where there are videos on your interests.

6. Grammarly

Extension for Google Chrome, fixes your mistakes (training Spelling)

7. Speaking24.com

Here we find a language partner to chat on Skype. I talked with people from Poland, Slovakia, Pakistan.

8. English speaking clubs in your city

A wonderful place to practice English. From every meeting, I discover new thoughts, new ideas. Since interesting people usually go to such events, there is something to listen to and talk about.


1. Learning all the way

The bottom line is that first we do the most complex and effective: we go through the textbook. If you are tired of doing it, then watch Engvid. Forces are running out - enjoy the show on Show-English.

Motivation has disappeared - go to the English Speaking Club or at Speaking24.com.

We do at least something to move forward.

2. Expanding passive or active vocabulary

We determine the goal for this hour / day. We write out the expressions that we want to introduce into our speech or words we have hitherto completely unknown.

3. Blank sheets with collocations

Usually I study for 30-60 minutes and during this time I fill out a white sheet of A4 with expressions and grammar. Then I attach this sheet to the file. And voila - the task for today is ready. I walk and talk to myself practicing vocbulary and grammatical constructions. In the bath while I cook dinner, while I play with the baby at home, or while he sleeps in a stroller.

3. Learn the right words and phrases

I have a principle: verbs are more important than nouns, nouns are more important than the rest. Usually, if you understand the verb and noun in a sentence, you will understand the meaning. So the main thing is to first gain verbs.

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