Children’s books are shorter and easier to understand. They’re really good practice for someone learning English. Reading to a child can help you with:
- Vocabulary – learn new words
- Comprehension – better understanding when you read
And – you will learn faster when you use English for something you enjoy. (It’s really good for your child too!)
You can read along with this book by Dr. Seuss called One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
Reading books and listening to audiobooks is an excellent and enjoyable way to improve your English. Did you know that you can borrow eBooks and audiobooks (with thousands of choices) – for free – right on your phone or tablet? All you need is a library card from your local library, and the new Libby app from OverDrive.
If you live in Massachusetts, you don’t even need to visit the library to get a card. You can get a free eCard from the Boston Public Library.
After you enter your library card number in the app, you can borrow ebooks or audiobooks. There are also some “Read Along” books (mostly kids’ books) that you can listen to while you read.
Humans of New York is a website, and Facebook page, that has lots of interesting pictures of people – and a very short story about them. Brandon (the publisher) started with pictures and short stories just about people in New York City. But then he started including personal stories from people in other places around the world – such as Pakistan, Iran, India, Vietnam – and some longer stories on subjects such as refugees and people in prison. The latest set of stories is about people in Brazil. Here is an example:
“He fell in love with me the first day he met me. He kept calling me princess. He said we were meant to be together because our feet were the same size. Look how embarrassed he’s getting!” (São Paulo, Brazil)
— Thanks to Pat for suggesting this website. She uses it for reading practice in her English class. —
If you have kids out of school this week, or just have extra time for yourself, here are some places to go – to see more of Boston and MetroWest, have some family fun, and practice your English:
- Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden
Now open for the season
GPS: 4 Charles Street, Boston
- Watch the Runners in the Boston Marathon – Monday April 15
It starts in Hopkinton and goes through MetroWest along Rt. 135
- Patriots Day Activities – Monday, April 15
- Spring Carnival – Pinefield Shopping Center, Framingham
Thursday-Sunday April 18-21, Rides, Games, Food
- Garden in the Woods – Now open for the season
GPS: 180 Hemenway Rd, Framingham
- Danforth Art Museum – Now re-opened in Framingham Center
Free open house – Sunday, April 14th Noon to 4pm
GPS: 14 Vernon St. Framingham
- Vacation Week Activities at these museums:
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Story Telling, Art projects, more
- Boston Children’s Museum
Special Story Telling events April 16-20
- Franklin Park Zoo
Special talks with the zookeepers April 15-19
- Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston
Special activities April 16-19
- Discovery Museum in Acton
Special activities, including Tinytropolis April 15-20
- Animal Adventures in Bolton
- Ecotarium in Worcester
- Boston Museum of Fine Arts
- Cambridge Science Festival – Now through April 21
250 events – in Cambridge, and around Boston
- Big Apple Circus – now through May 5th
At the North Shore Mall in Peabody
GPS: 210 Andover Street, Peabody
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston
Special day for visitors named Isabella on Wed. April 17th. (It’s free for Isabellas every day)
Take a virtual tour of the museum
GPS: 25 Evans Way, Boston
- Society of Arts & Crafts
Small, free museum in new home at …
GPS: 100 Pier 4 Boulevard, Seaport area of Boston (next to Ocean Prime restaurant)
- Rotary Club Craft Fair – Sat. April 20th from 10-4
At Keefe Tech High School in Framingham
More than 100 crafters
- Lots more to find on…
If you don’t know how to pronounce someone’s name, or you have difficulty repeating their name, here is some help.
One good place to listen to the common pronunciation of many names is YouGlish.
- Type in the name (first name or last name)
- Choose “US” to see only videos using American English
- Below the video, you can change the speed to “slower”, to listen more carefully
- Listen to the name pronounced as part of several videos
Try to pronounce these names by yourself, and then try them in YouGlish, above:
Elijah, Genevieve, Zachariah, Reynolds, Holmes
Finally, if you would just like to hear the pronunciation of a lot of common names, you can try these:
- books to borrow and read – to yourself or your kids
- music and movies
- videos on learning English
- and so many more free resources
Beginning on Tuesday, April 9th, there will also be a Bookmobile, that will bring a piece of the library to neighborhoods, schools, and other places all around the city. On Tuesday morning at 8:30 in front of the Memorial Building (City Hall), there will be a little celebration for the bookmobile’s first day, with some snacks until 10:00. Later that day, the fist places that the bookmobile will visit will be:
- Woodrow Wilson School
- Brookdale Senior Community
- Carmel Terrace Senior Community
- Framingham YMCA
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States. The baseball team in Boston is the Red Sox. They play their first game of the 2019 season on Thursday, March 28th.
There are many expressions – ‘idioms’ – used commonly that come from baseball. A few examples:
- Someone who is “on the ball” is a person you trust to get something done. They are knowledgeable and responsible.
- Someone who “strikes out” fails at something (there are other meanings too).
For example: He asked for her phone number, but he struck out.
- If you “Go to bat” for someone, it means that you help or support them.
A synonym is a word that has the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word.
Synonyms for “cold“: chilly, icy, frigid, and frosty.
They are good to learn because:
- They improve your vocabulary
- They make your speaking and writing more interesting (not always using the same words)
- They make your speaking and writing more clear (closer to what you really want to say)
One good place to find synonyms is Thesaurus.com A ‘thesaurus’ is a synonym dictionary. Type in a word such as delicious, or enjoy, and they will show you several synonyms – with the most common synonyms listed first. You can also check the pronunciation and definition for each of these words. (It’s important to check the definition for words that you don’t know.)
There’s a popular thesaurus that’s part of the Dictionary.com App – available for free for IOS and Android. After you install the app, you can switch to the thesaurus to find synonyms. There’s also a special tab for English learners, with more explanation.
Here’s a basic list of synonyms for almost 100 very common English words.