Becoming bilingual is no walk in the park - learning to speak a new language involves memorising thousands of new words and you're bound the encounter strange pronunciation, idiomatic expressions, present perfects and irregular verbs.

Sometimes a one-hour English lesson per week just done feel like enough.

So if you're at an intermediate level, what steps can you take to keep polishing your English outside the classroom? 

Hands down the best way to improve your English is to speak and read and listen to the language regularly

In this article, we'll be exploring some of the best websites for reading the English news.

You can also book interactive English classes in Sydney.

Honing Your English By Consuming the Media

So what's the benefit of learning English in this way?

Staying up to date on the news in your target language instead of in your mother tongue is a great way to familiarise yourself with a foreign language like English.

If your goal is to master English grammar, nothing beats watching English news broadcasts, listening to English radio or reading the Anglophone newspapers.

But make sure you cover the basics as well - you should always have a good English dictionary handy!

Set clear goals for yourself so you can feel confident that your linguistic abilities are a progression.

Or why not check out some English conversation classes?

Learning English with the BBC News

Read the BBC news to learn English as a second language
Perfect your English level with the BBC news website (Photo credit: Frances Berriman via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND)

Did your English teachers in school badger you to listen to more English media? The BBC should be your go-to when deciding to learn English from the news. 

The BBC is a very diverse channel with a long-standing reputation, making it one of the top ways to brush up on your English speaking skills. Want some background on English? You can also explore how English has evolved over the years.

For ESL learners who are serious about their language learning, the BBC has many great resources to support your progress.

BBC teaches language skills from the basics up, so you can practise writing, reading, grammar, listening and syntax.

If you want to diversify your understanding and pronunciation of the different English dialects, the BBC will expose you to lots of different Anglophone accents, such as Welsh, Scottish, Irish, and British. 

The BBC has three main tools for English learners:

  1. Video lessons featuring clear tutorials for learning English
  2. Articles on fun day-to-day topics, where you can pick up vocabulary to do with leisure and sport
  3. A "children's" area aimed at parents who want to support their young children to learn English

Other than the diverse languages category, the BBC is also a goldmine for polishing higher levels of formalised English. For example, the BBC has travel stories and great sections on international news. Take English classes Melbourne here.

Practising English with ESPN

Are you a diehard sports fan? Why not combine your passion for sports with learning English? You can keep things fresh and engaging by reading and listening to English through ESPN, a major Anglophone sports website.

Speaking and remembering English is much easier when you're covering topics you're passionate about.  You won't get side-tracked and you'll feel so much more confident and inspired. Every sports lover learning English should check out the ESPN website. They have new articles published in English every day, about baseball, football, hockey, racing or the NBA.

The popularity of US sports is only growing around the globe, and students wanting to learn English can read articles on all the major leagues on ESPN, whether it's the NBA or NFL.

Passionate followers of European soccer leagues will appreciate the daily articles about the Spanish and British championships. 

No matter which sport you follow, ESPN has many high-quality articles on the forefront of reporting from many major sporting events. So you can stay up to date, and make English fun at the same time! It's a win-win situation.

To practice your English listening, you can also check out the numerous videos, which will aid you in your phonetics and listening comprehension, and support your online English lessons. This is a great way to familiarise yourself with English and other languages.

Brushing up on English through CNN

Watch the news channel, CNN to enhance your level in English
Improve your English and gain fluency through the CNN. (Photo credit: Julie, Dave & Family via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA)

CNN is renowned internationally for covering events from all over the globe.

It gained its reputation in 1991 with the outbreak of the Gulf War (the first major conflict between the US and Iraq). CNN witnessed and reported on the conflict- the only channel to do so.

Nearly 30 years on, CNN is a powerhouse of international media. They publish news stories from all corners of the globe and cover local news from the United States as well.

You can go to edition.cnn.com, which is designed specifically with English learners in mind. This site is for those who want to learn to speak fluently and expand their English knowledge by reading the news. You can also familiarise yourself with many different Anglophone accents and opinions from across the political spectrum.

There is also a handy filter on the CNN website that allows you to select the news you read based on the continent; Europe, Ameria, Asia, etc. So you'll be able to easily find news related to your life and interests. Heads up - the English on CNN is less formal than the BBC English, but it is nonetheless correct.

English and The New York Times

The New York Times, fondly known as "The Times" among its loyal readers, is a hugely popular English language newspaper featuring global journalism. 

The Times dates back to 1851 and now is also available online.

This resource is better suited to intermediate to advanced English learners, as the English in it tends to be much more formal than other sources.

You can check out their website to challenge your English comprehension skills through their articles. Fair warning - their English might be a little tricky for the low-intermediate learner. It won't be easy, but we can guarantee that serious study will bring results.

You can dive into Anglophone journalism to improve your English level and pick up lots of fantastic new vocabulary. If you are an intermediate-high level English learner, the New York Times is a great resource to have on hand.

Want to be the best of the best in your English classes? The New York Times is for you.

No matter your interests - sport, music, art, politics, current affairs - the New York Times has such a diverse range of topics you'll almost always find something to suit! You can improve your English by learning about politics, the economy, public health, world news, and many, many more!

Even better, the New York Times' online platform stays modern and engaging by publishing plenty of articles on fun "lifestyle" topics such as fashion, the arts, food and sports.

Interested in learning about food in English? Why not check out the much-maligned, yet intriguing world of Australian cuisine.

You know you're close to achieving true bilingual fluency when you can read the New York Times with ease.

From across the Atlantic, you can check out The Times, The Observer or the Guardian - which are all very well-regarded British newspapers. And keep polishing your English with some of the most famous English quotes of all time.

Read English in the Huffington Post

If you're anything like the typical Internet user, you'll be spending multiple hours a day surfing the net and reading up on politics and culture and you've likely encountered The Huffington Post.

The Huffington Post is a US online news site covering culture and politics and is more accessible for lower-level English learners. The language is simpler and you'll find articles written in a concise, clear manner. It deals with serious subjects such as politics and current affairs, as well as things like food and fashion under the "Entertainment" category.

The Huffington Post also provides exercises in translation to help enhance your reading comprehension and improve your English overall.

English Listening Practice: Radio + Podcasts

Now we've covered a few of the main English-language newspapers worldwide, we should turn to the radio!

Radio stations keep things fresh and engaging by offering music breaks among the current affair and politics. Whether you're into hip hop, jazz, disco, funk, pop or rock, there'll be something for all musical palettes.

Many official radio shows also offer podcasts so you can listen to what you want on demand.

You could check out Voice of America, Euronews Radio, CBS Radio News, America's News Network, just to name a few. Or dive right into the world of English language podcasts via the podcast app on your smartphone.

Anglophone Media From Around The World

Until now, we've only mentioned media from the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This limits our list somewhat; English happens to be the official language in over 53 countries around the world. It's also an official language of the UN and the EU. There are 400 million native speakers and English as a second language has been mastered by over 1.4 billion people.

So where can you consume Anglophone news outside the US and UK?

If you're a rugby enthusiast, why not read the sports section of the Herald a newspaper from New Zealand.

Or from the northern hemisphere, you could try CBC News from Canada.

For updates on world news and the Middle East, you could check out Al Jazeerawhich comes from Qatar but publishes high-quality journalism in English.

There are so many English language newspapers and news channels from all corners of the globe, including India, East Asia and Africa.

Once you've familiarized yourself with different media from all over the globe, you're well on your way to becoming an expert in English. You can ever start to recognise the different Anglophone accents!

Alternative Media Resources

Find an English speaker who wants to become pen pals on social media!
You can communicate with English speakers in their native language via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (Photo via Visual Hunt)

You don't need to be a regular blog reader to improve your English language via social media.

Social networks are fantastic for communicating in a foreign language and polishing your English.

There is a veritable goldmine of free online video channels on YouTube designed to help you improve your English. Turn on the subtitles if you are still a beginner.

To Recap:

So what possibilities are out there for improving your English with social media?

  1. Online newspapers and magazines
  2. TV
  3. Social networks and blogs
  4. Online radio stations and podcasts

Why not get your very own English pen pal and meet up on Skype sometime?

If you're learning English to dominate in the international business world, make sure you're staying abreast of current events through English news!

Up for another challenge? Try learning English through Shakespeare.

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Erin

Erin is an Australian francophile living in Paris. She is a music teacher, writer and passionate learner of languages.