You can learn English with videos the easy way, or the hard way.
Maybe you’ve already tried the hard way:
Searching through hundreds (or thousands!) of English videos on YouTube trying to find the ones that actually work.
Here’s the easy way:
Just read this article with our top recommendations for websites and YouTube channels to learn English with videos.
We chose these sites because they all offer unique, entertaining English learning videos—as well as interactive learning features to make sure you’re really learning while you watch.
It’s like an instant, enjoyable English class, right on your phone or laptop.
How to Watch English Videos Like an Expert Language Learner
Have you ever noticed how you remember information much better when you actively use it?
So when you learn English with videos online, don’t just click play and put your feet up. In essence, it’s your job to make sure that watching these videos is an active learning experience.
But you’re probably thinking, “How can I interact with a screen? What methods do I use to make sure I understand the information?”
Some of the videos that we’ve included in this list come with instructions, recommendations and ideas on how to get the most out of them (some even come with worksheets and scripts!). For those that don’t, you’ll find some ways below to help you make them more interactive.
- Identify your learning style. Learners can usually identify themselves using common learning types. The types are usually visual, auditory (listening), kinesthetic (learn by doing) or tactile (feeling). You don’t identify as a visual learner? No problem. English videos can help you no matter how you learn. If you use the provided activities, you’ll get the most out of your videos.
- Have a plan. Before you start watching a video, have an idea of what you’re going to do. Are you going to jot down unfamiliar words? Make sure you have a notebook handy. Are you planning on stopping the video and repeating what the speaker says? Great! Be ready to hit “Pause” frequently.
- Break up the sessions into different activities. Sometimes, doing the same thing with each video makes the experience dull. Stop periodically to write down questions. Watch a portion of the video a couple of times, then pretend you’re teaching the concept to someone. Draw out the information instead of write it. Whatever you do, mix it up to stay motivated.
- Pay attention. Sometimes when the TV is on, we become distracted. We may be on our phone or tablet, playing games, cooking, even reading. Many people become used to the sound of the TV, using it as background noise rather than a learning tool.
When you load your English videos, turn off any other distractions. Think of it as your study time. Have a notebook in front of you to write down unfamiliar words. Take your viewing time seriously.
- Use provided activities. As I said before, some of the suggested sites below include interactive activities to help you engage in your learning. For example, FluentU includes transcripts, clickable subtitles, reviews and quizzes to help you review what you’ve seen in your videos. Take advantage of anything that’s provided to you.
- Keep your sessions brief. You can suffer study burnout even from videos. It helps to choose content that interests you. If you like music, go with music videos. If you like dramas, select TV programs with the subject matter you enjoy.
Still, listening to dialogue in a new language while taking notes may leave you feeling like you’re doing homework. Incorporating videos into your study routine is supposed to be fun. Keep it fun without overdoing it.
Instant English Class! Learn English with Videos on These 9 Interactive Online Lesson Sites
The following interactive websites are excellent starting points to learn English with videos!
E-learning for Kids’ Language Arts Videos
This site offers free video lessons designed for learners ages five to 12. While E-learning for Kids is not specifically an ESL website, it is a great resources for language learners of any age.
The language arts section features videos on English word recognition, learning letters and more.
You may find this site especially beneficial since these resources were designed for native English-speaking children to learn their language. That means you will hear authentic English spoken at a slow and easy pace. You will pick up lots of basic vocabulary words and phrases.
The colorful kids’ cartoons also make it a fun and engaging website for English practice.
Video Zone: British Council’s LearnEnglish Kids
The British Council’s English for Kids web page features videos with songs, stories and grammar rules. Many of the videos include documents that give you the words in the videos, related lessons and activities and answer sheets so you can check your progress.
While these English learning videos are designed for children, adults may enjoy the activities as well. Remember, since this is a British website, expect to see the British spelling (i.e., colour instead of color) and hear the British pronunciation of words.
English 4 Kids
English 4 Kids offers many different videos to help children understand different concepts of the English language. The videos are divided into grade levels from kindergarten to sixth grade.
The website provides instructions on how to get the most from watching the videos and they also include worksheets, games, flashcards and other resources to help children understand and interact with the material. There are even additional resources for parents and teachers to help guide their children and students during the learning process.
For older learners, English 4 Kids also runs English Media Lab, a similar website with lessons geared towards adults.
Sesame Street Videos
“Sesame Street” is a very popular TV show, even outside of the U.S. This children’s TV show has been on the air since 1969, teaching children how to read and count, as well as some everyday life skills.
While “Sesame Street” is translated into languages all over the globe, English learners will find the simple lessons in letters and numbers suitable for their children and themselves. The video website features popular videos from the kid’s show.
English Club is a free resource for you to learn English with videos. Founded in 1997, English Club has provided videos, games, blogs and more for English learners. They report that many student visitors to the website aren’t native English speakers.
English Club is mainly in British English, though most lessons can be used for English learners in America as well. English Club states that they make the differences clear when they come up.
While they have tons of video clips for a variety of topics, check out their “Learning English Videos” section for specific videos about the English language.
FluentU’s mission is to expand language learning beyond traditional textbooks. It’s easy to remember words you hear through material that means something to you—that’s why FluentU features videos from many different genres that will help an English learner like you understand English the way it’s naturally spoken.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
It also tests your understanding with reviews and quizzes so you can get immediate feedback and mark your progress.
Keep in mind that FluentU is great for learners of any age and level—it may just be an especially great resource for older and more advanced English learners, since it puts native materials right in front of you.
Founded by American and British English teachers, Real English is devoted to providing English learners with native English in everyday environments. The videos on the website are mainly everyday, spontaneous (unplanned) dialogues.
The videos feature native English speakers who aren’t actors. They include interactive exercises to help you actively learn.
Fun English Games
Fun English Games features many different free videos for English language learners. Whether you want to focus on vocabulary, grammar or just want to have some fun, there’s a video you’ll enjoy.
The videos show the words to help you understand. The website also features games and activities you can use with the videos you watch. There’s even a special section for children.
English Learning Videos on YouTube
To learn English with videos, who can forget YouTube? Type “ESL videos” in the search engine and you’ll see that many suggestions will pop up. There are too many options to list here! The variety of choices may be overwhelming, but you can get started with these suggestions.
Here are a few of our favorite channels with interactive videos to help you learn English.
- Learn English by Cartoon: From everyday scenarios to specific categories such as jobs or food, practice your English with fun cartoons.
- Learn English Conversation: These videos include simple conversations and exercises to help you hear the language and practice using what you hear.
- Daily English Conversation: Not to be confused with Learn English Conversation, Daily English Conversation is a separate, free channel that gives you exposure to grammar tenses and conversation.
Now that you have some suggestions, try the different websites to see where you’ll find your favorite English videos. We hope you have fun while you learn English with videos!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.