Whether or not you take English lessons with a teacher, it is always a good idea to expose yourself to as much English as you can outside of the classroom. Here are some links that some people have found useful. You can visit any of these sites for free, though a few may require registration.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a website that is a good fit for you:

  • If it is not in Japanese, can you understand the English directions well enough to navigate and use the site?
  • What does the site offer, and what do you need? Vocabulary? Listening? Grammar? Etc.
  • Is it free? Does it require registration? Does it require a software download?

To take even more control of your own English learning, surf the web for other sites too! You may just find a site that is perfect for your needs!
And please comment below on what sites you liked or didn’t like—and why!
❖  www.Starfall.com
This is a phonics website that starts with the very basics: the letters and their sounds. Then it gives fun leveled reading practice. Many of the pages in the stories are interactive! Fun, free, and safe. Highly recommended by English Alive!


❖  http://www.follifootfarm.co.uk/
Here you can hear the sounds of the English graphemes. In the peach-colored box that says, “Hear the sounds and say the words”, click on “Letters of the alphabet” to hear the sounds of individual letters (and words that have those letters). Click on “Vowel digraphs” to hear the sounds of ch, ow, etc. (See below.)
❖  http://www.mrthornedoesphonics.com/
This website teaches various components of phonics-based reading.
❖  Both of these YouTube channels have lots of videos to help kids learn and enjoy English:
ELF Learning
Maple Leaf Learning
These sites all have audio to accompany the text of the stories. So the student can read along as they listen to the story.
❖  http://storynory.com
❖  http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-stories.htm
❖   http://www.magickeys.com
On this website, the stories that have the speaker icon    have audio to go with the text.
❖  http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/
❖  http://web-japan.org/kidsweb/language/
The two above are pages from “Kids Web Japan”.
❖  http://www.britishcouncil.org/kids-writing-storymaker.htm
Here children who can read can easily build their own stories. Try it!
❖  http://www.globio.org/
This is not about English, but it is in English. A great site for kids who can read English well!
❖  Bob the Builder
There are games here with some spoken English, and some written English. You can click on the flag for the kind of English you want: American, Australian, British, or Canadian. There are other languages too—including Japanese.
❖  lyricstraining.com
You listen to a song and type in the missing words after you hear them.
Dream Reader
The Moth
Listen to true stories from the lives of real people.
You can also watch them on YouTube:
The Moth on YouTube
❖  http://www.esl-lab.com/
Listening exercises. This site takes a bit of navigating.
❖  http://www.manythings.org/e/podcasts.html
A wide range of audio files with text. Some simple navigation is needed.
❖  http://www.manythings.org/e/listening.html
A wide range of listening challenges. Some are text with accompanying audio.
❖  http://esl-bits.net/Songs/songs.html
This is a great webpage for lovers of English language songs. It has songs of a wide range of genres, and you can read the lyrics while you listen.
❖  www.elllo.org
Here you will find short conversations with a range of different accents.
❖  http://iteslj.org/links/ESL/Listening/Podcasts/
There is a treasure trove of podcasts here, but they are aimed at native English speakers. So they will only be useful listening practice for advanced students.
BBC news
❖  The Japan Times
❖  “Extra English”  This online video series is like a sitcom. The dialogue is easy to follow: It is subtitled in English; the actors speak clearly and a little more slowly than natural.
Each episode is about 25 minutes long. Mostly British English is used. There is a lot of humor and lot of natural language about personal relationships.

❖  One of my favorite weblogs is Open Culture <OpenCulture.com>. Among other things, this site has a catalog of free e-books (here) and a catalog of free audio books (here). And, if you can find the same book in both, you can read along as you listen to the story!

❖  englishcentral.com
I have heard the English Central website highly praised. It has many free features, but some features are only available to paid subscribers. If you try it—paid or unpaid—let me know how you liked it.
❖  ego4u.com
This site has a wide variety of things you might be interested in.
❖  words spoken for you
Do you have a word you want to know how to pronounce? Go to this webpage and type in any word you want to hear. It’s easy!
❖  http://www.real-english.com/
Real English has short videos of simple, real dialogues. There is a version with captions (subtitles), and one without. And you can record yourself practicing the English, then play it  back and hear yourself!
❖   http://eap-audio.blogspot.ca/
This page is another teacher’s collection of recommended sites for self-study.