The right English learning tools can really make a difference in your daily life.
Whenever you are bored and have nothing to do, you can make that time productive by using it to improve your English skills.
Any tool for improving English on the go will help you learn English faster by giving you more opportunities to study.
In this post, we will show you our eight favorite English learning tools that you can take anywhere on your phone or tablet.
Why On-the-go English Learning Tools Are So Useful
- They are convenient to use: These English learning tools can be installed on your smartphone and follow you around all day. They let you practice English whenever you have a few free minutes. Ten minutes at a bus stop and half an hour in a cafe here and there will quickly add up.
Many of these apps work offline, so you do not need a Wi-Fi network, either—you can conveniently learn English online or offline.
- They provide “bite-sized” ESL learning: These tools offer bite-sized (small/easy-to-absorb) language lessons. As noted above, all it takes is a few minutes to add to your vocabulary or reinforce English concepts.
This makes learning less overwhelming and keeps you motivated with immediate results. For English learners using textbooks or language courses, it provides an excellent supplement.
- They make ESL learning interactive: These tools are interactive, which also makes them fun to use. Users can interact with the tools in multiple ways, like typing, dictating or swiping. Many of these tools also have gamification elements, meaning they turn studying into a game with points, rewards, competition, etc.
The engaging experience means learners want to keep using their English language tools and learning more.
Learn English On the Go! 8 Fun English Learning Tools You Can Take Anywhere
iOS (UK edition) | iOS (US edition) | Android (UK edition) | Android (US edition)
This is a free interactive English grammar practice app from the British Council, with tons of ESL learning material. There are two editions, U.K. and U.S., which is great if you have a preference for one type of English over the other.
With each one, you will learn the specific British or American spelling, usage and pronunciation rules.
There are four levels from beginner to advanced, so learners at all stages can benefit from using the app. There are more than 1,000 practice questions to help you learn dozens of grammar topics.
The app is designed to keep you interested with a wide variety of interactive activities. You will be practicing English grammar with fill-in-the-blanks, reordering and labeling words, multiple choice questions and more.
iOS | Android
FluentU is an app that uses a learning method called immersion learning, which is surrounding yourself with a new language so you absorb it naturally. The app teaches you English with video clips like movie trailers, news clips and cartoons.
FluentU’s clips all include interactive subtitles that let you look up words while you watch, so you can learn their meanings and see sentence examples. You can also review what you learn with flashcards and personalized quizzes.
The videos on FluentU are sorted by difficulty level and topic. This lets you focus on the specific vocabulary and grammar that you want to learn. The program also tracks your progress, so you can know how much you’ve studied and what you should work on next.
With FluentU videos, you get to hear and see the language you’re learning. This can make learning more engaging and material easier to remember.
iOS | Android
Want to learn English online without adding any extra time to your schedule?
You can think of Grammarly Keyboard as a personal editor for all English text that you type using your smartphone—be it a message, an email or an update on Facebook.
Once you install the keyboard on your device, the app will automatically check for spelling and grammar mistakes in all your text. By learning from the mistakes you make, you will write more effectively in English. Use it while you write your daily emails, social media posts, etc. and watch how quickly your skills grow!
Better yet, Grammarly does not just show you your mistakes. It actually explains your mistakes. You get detailed reports that help you understand what you did wrong, so you do not make the same mistakes again in the future.
LearnEnglish Sounds Right
This is another one of the British Council’s free English learning tools. The Sounds Right app is an interactive pronunciation chart for English learners. It takes you back to the most basic elements of English pronunciation.
With LearnEnglish Sounds Right on your phone or tablet, you can practice pronouncing difficult English sounds anytime, anywhere. When you tap on one of the chart’s cards—for example, the consonant t—you will hear how it sounds.
There is a small arrow on the top right that will take you to example words with that sound (in this case, tree, stop and want).
As pronunciation is the key to being understood, all English learners can benefit from this simple app. Beginners can learn to speak English correctly from scratch while advanced students can refresh their knowledge and start recognizing their pronunciation flaws.
iOS | Android
English learners can improve pronunciation further with this free pronunciation app. It lets you listen to how a word is pronounced, learn it and record your own pronunciation of that word.
The sample pronunciations of a word come from native speakers with different accents. Both male and female voices are available as some learners might find it easier to imitate the sound of a person of the same sex.
The app allows you to keep track of the pronunciations that you listened to recently. This feature is a great help for your review sessions.
A bonus feature is the ability to message other Forvo users, creating a chance to socialize in English.
iOS | Android
LingQ is an English learning tool that teaches you with content you enjoy.
With the LingQ app on your smartphone, you have access to thousands of captioned podcasts, audiobooks and interviews. Better yet, if you find interesting content on the web, you can import it with LingQ and learn from the material.
As you listen or read, you can easily look up new words and save them to a personal database. LingQ also tracks your progress so you can set goals and watch how quickly you learn.
LingQ uses gamified features to keep you motivated. You will get an avatar that you can watch grow as your language skills develop. You can also connect with real native speakers for live conversation—one of the most important types of practice for English fluency.
The app works offline so you can really learn wherever you are.
The Kindle e-reader was not specifically made for language learners, but if you know how, you can transform your Kindle into an English learning tool.
Here are two tips to use the e-reader to increase your vocabulary and your reading comprehension on the go:
- Improve your vocabulary with the Kindle Vocabulary Builder. While reading your English books on Kindle, you can look up new words with the built-in dictionary. All the words that you check will go into the database of the Kindle’s Vocabulary Builder.
You can go there to review newly learned words. There is even a flashcard option so you can quiz yourself on the vocabulary.
- Improve your reading skills with Word Wise. Word Wise is a feature on many popular Kindle devices. It will automatically give you a simple definition of any challenging words in a text. You can ask Word Wise to help you with fewer words when your reading level progresses.
iOS | Android
Feedly is a smart news reader that keeps you up-to-date on the latest stories from your favorite publications.
For example, if you are interested in technology, Feedly will curate news from major magazines that teach you English for technology like TechCrunch or Wired. Reading about your favorite topics is a great way to stay motivated while learning a language.
Here is how to use the Feedly app as an English language tool, to increase your vocabulary and improve reading skills:
- Set up an account, search for the magazines that you like to read and add them to your feed.
- Check the feed (list of recent news stories) whenever you have some time to spare.
- Pick a headline and guess the content.
- Quickly write down words that you think might appear in the article.
- Open the article, scan through to see if you can spot the words you have written down.
If you do, give yourself a cheer. You have done well!
- Keep skimming (quickly reading to get essential facts) the article and look for words you do not know. Write them down.
Use Forvo to check the pronunciation if you like.
- Once you know the meaning of the words, read the article completely.
If you cannot finish reading the whole article at once, bookmark it and go back to it later.
- Once you finish reading, go back to your note and see if you had guessed the content correctly.
This is a great way to learn new words and pick up ideas so that you can write about similar topics in the future.
These English learning tools are easy and fun to use. Head to the app store, download and install them today so that you can start learning English more and more on the go.