Reading

Site of the Day — Read Listen Learn

Reading is one of the four main skills that learners of English need to improve (the others being Listening, Speaking, and Writing), but it's not always easy to find interesting reading material at the right level. Most of the main EFL publishers have a range of graded readers (see here and here, for example), but they are usually physical books and not available in digital form (plus you have to pay for them). Which is where Read Listen Learn comes in ...

Read Listen Learn is a free website that offers digital graded readers for English teachers and learners. There are currently over 180 readers and they come in two forms: short stories adapted from works by over 50 authors, and articles on history, science, crime, sport and more. The readers are graded at 5 different levels for English learners and they all come with audio versions so you can listen while you read.  Each reader also has a glossary. And once you have registered (using Facebook), you can create you own personal library of readers.

Readlistenlearn

MY THOUGHTS
Read Listen Learn is a great resource for both teachers and learners. In fact, it's quite similar to the excellent Dreamreader.net website, which I reviewed here. The readers vary in length from 250 words to over 5,000 words, and the audio versions vary in speed according to the level. However, it would be nice to have some different voices, and comprehension questions would be a welcome addition (it's something that Dreamreader.net already has). The navigation could also be improved — to see a list of all the articles you currently have to click on the My Library button on the homepage, and then on Find Articles, which doesn't seem very logical. Co-founder Simon Dalton tells me that he's in the process of updating the software, so hopefully these minor problems will be ironed out soon. Apparently, an app is on the way too, which is good news for mobile learners. By the way, you can read an interview with the other co-founder Mark Bartholomew here. I'm adding Read Listen Learn to the Reading page on the Learn English Online website.


Site of the Day — Gif Lingua

Everyone is familiar with GIFs. A GIF is basically an image file format that is animated by combining several other images or frames into a single file. GIFs are all over the Internet on blogs and social media, and are part of what makes news and entertainment sites like Buzzfeed very popular. And now they are also being used in language learning by Gif Lingua. Gif Lingua is a site created by David Deubelbeiss, who is also a key person behind the excellent English Central. Gif Lingua has over 3,000 'books' at different levels, although they aren't books in the traditional sense, or even e-books. A Gif Lingua book consists of a number of pages (usually 20 or fewer), each with a sentence in written and audio form, illustrated by a GIF. The site has tons more features, including quizzes and videos, and works on any device. There's even a web app. New books are added every day, and users can create their own books too.

Gif lingua

VERDICT
Gif Lingua is a really original site that makes reading fun. Definitely worth checking out!