Learning English for IELTS with ReadLang

If I were to choose the best online language learning tool, I am sure I would vote for ReadLang. You know, there are plenty language apps/web apps/services which  supposedly can help you master a language. Unfortunately, most of them fall short of this promise. They seem to be directed more to casual language learners who want to learn basics rather than to serious students who need to master the language as quickly as possible, as it is the case with IELTS learners.

ReadLang is different and it is a real game-changer. It focuses on reading in a foreign language rather than on speaking, writing or listening. Before you start to frown, I can assure you, it is actually a good thing for you!  At the end of the day, you are not going to write and speak academically well if you don’t have great reading comprehension skills in the first place. In a similar vein, good reading skills will support your listening comprehension. In other words, reading is the foundation of excellent language skills and this is even more true for international students who intend to study in the UK/USA/Australia/Canada. Nevertheless, ReadLang reading activities can be extended, in fact, should be extended with listening, speaking and writing activities. I will explain that later.How does ReadLang work? Firstly, ReadLang works as a pop-up dictionary. You click on words you don’t know and the translations appear on the top. Furthermore, you can click on longer phrases and again the translations are provided. The consulted words are automatically added to ‘vocabulary manager’ with audio pronunciations and sentences the words were taken from. You can practice new vocabulary with ReadLang flashcards. Alternatively, you can export flashcards to Anki on smartphone to practice them on the go.

Where do you find texts to read? You can start learning English or 40 other languages, by reading texts uploaded by other users. You can choose the difficulty of texts (from very easy A1 level texts to very advanced C2 level materials). Alternatively, you can add own texts by copying them from e.g. BBC website or a journal article and pasting into ReadLang. ReadLang also offers a Chrome extension and other useful features e.g. customised dictionary and video.

I have several years of experience with Readlang and trust me I gave it the proper treatment. i used it to learn Spanish and French and currently I am learning Russian and Mandarin. How do I use it? Firstly, i look for an audio book with a PDF text. Alternatively, I find an interesting podcast with a transcript. The text should be slightly over my present comprehension skills.  I paste the text into ReadLang and read it. All the new vocabulary I export to AnkiDroid on my Android phone. I can practice novel words whenever I want. After I have finished reading the book, I listen to the audio. If I have a chance I discuss the text with a native speaker. Finally, i write a short summary of the text. Thus, I practice all language skills. As a language researcher, I can assure you it makes sense on a methodological level. As a language learner I can tell you it simply works.

Advantages:

  • simple, clean and intuitive interface
  • pop up dictionary for words and sentences
  • words are automatically added to word list
  • words lists can be exported as flashcards to Anki and used on smartphone
  • flashcards contain a target word and sentence from which they were extracted
  • offers audio pronunciation
  • plenty of free texts to read
  • possibility to add own texts
  • works like a charm on smartphone and tablet
  • you can learn English and have everything translated in more than 40 languages
  • the FREE version gives you unlimited word translations, and 10 phrase translations per day.
  • The PRO version costs $5 for a month and offers unlimited word translations and unlimited phrase translations
  • generally enjoyable learning experience

Disadvantages:
Translations are based on Google Translate which might not be perfect, however you can edit and improve translations with customised dictionaries.

Wrapping Up
ReadLand is the probably one of the best web apps for language learners. It is also an excellent choice for IELTS learners. You are never going to get stuck on a word again. Therefore, I urge you, give it a try and you are likely agree with me. Please note, I don’t have any affiliation with ReadLang. I am just evangelical about their great service.

www.readlang.com ​

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