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Resources for adult learners

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The more time you spend practising English, the quicker you will learn! Here are some great resources to help you improve your English.

Language learning apps

The videos and other resources produced by BBC Learning English are very popular with students.  You can download the app or follow the BBC on social media. In particular, BBC 6 Minute English is widely used by beginners and intermediate students. Download a short podcast and listen to it while you are on the tram or when you are having a break from work. Transcripts are available if you can't quite understand everything.


Quizlet is an app that is great for learning vocabulary. Simply create a set of words that you want to learn and practice them by doing your favourite Quizlet games. Come along to classes at Kreis 6 English to get access to the many Quizlet sets we've created.


Would you like to start reading in English? It's a fantastic way to expand your vocabulary. Try to find books that match your level. Don't worry if you start with children's books - the pictures should help you to understand them! Try different authors until you find a favourite and then keep reading. Audio books from the library are another great way to learn the language.

Books that our students have enjoyed reading include:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

  • Normal People by Sally Rooney

  • Lion: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly

  • The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller

  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

  • About a Boy by Nick Hornby

  • Man and Boy by Tony Parsons

  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

  • The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley

  • The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

  • The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley

Some classics you might enjoy include

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

  • Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

  • The Outsider by Albert Camus (I know this one is French but it's one of my favourites!)

For the novels discussed in book club, see this blog post.


It's really important to use a good dictionary. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary is available in book form, as an app, and as a free online version.  Don't worry that it is not a German-English dictionary, the definitions are clear and there is a lot of extra information. It's definitely worth looking at!


Here are some podcasts to listen to.
BBC (British English)
ABC (Australian English)
NPR (American English)

En Clair - linguistic podcast from Dr Claire Hardaker at Lancaster University. Fascinating topics and each podcast comes with a full transcript so you can read and listen at the same time.  Highly recommended.

Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 2 was first broadcast in 1942 and eighty years later the program it is still going strong. The interview style means that this is an excellent resource for students who want to listen to authentic spoken language. Because it is authentic, it might be too fast for you to catch everything. Luckily modern technology means that you can play it back at a reduced speed.


Try to find programmes that you are interested in.  You will be much more motivated if you are watching something that you enjoy. Documentaries and news programmes are quite easy to understand. Comedies and dramas can be more challenging, especially if the actors speak quickly or have strong accents.

Our typical recommendations include:

  • BBC news

  • Match of the Day

  • The Great British Bake Off

  • The Great British Sewing Bee

  • Grand Designs

  • Planet Earth or anything with David Attenborough (nature documentary)

  • Chat shows - such as Graham Norton

  • Dramas such as Broadchurch, Downton Abbey, Succession

  • Gogglebox (great for the range of accents)

  • Taskmaster (daft comedy)

  • Storyville (documentaries from around the world)

  • Happy Valley (gritty crime series)

  • Death in Paradise (very light crime series)

  • Pointless (quiz programme)

  • Countdown (word and numbers game)

  • The Repair Shop (reality TV with a heart)

Films and programmes that our students enjoy watching include:

  • Suits

  • The Ellen DeGeneres Show

  • Jimmy Fallon

  • Wonder Woman

  • Back to the Future

  • The Crown

  • Springwatch

Social Media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok can all be used on a daily basis to help you improve your English. Some of the sites and #hashtags my students follow include:

  • British Council, BBC Learning English and Cambridge Assessment

  • #englischlernen #englishtips

TED talks

TED talks are excellent for advanced students. These are lectures given by experts on a huge range of topics. Subtitles and transcripts are available.

A selection of my favourite TED talks:



Resources for young learners

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We offer help during the Gymnasium Probezeit to students who are learning English.  Below is a list of books and websites that are useful in teaching.  For more ideas about resources for young learners check out this blog post.

English grammar

To help your child to practice grammar, we suggest trying the excellent books by Raymond Murphy.  Your child may already have a copy as they are used in several local schools.

The red book, Essential Grammar in Use, should be sufficient for the Probezeit.  Older students and native speakers may prefer the blue book, English Grammar in Use.  Be sure to get the books with answers so that your child can study independently.

Online study materials

Many of the publishers of the textbooks used in schools offer additional material online which may be helpful in preparing for tests. Check the inside cover of your course book for more details.


The Sounds App from Macmillan is a valuable resource to help your child learn phonetic symbols.

Quiz websites

The one I use the most is Sporcle - it's particularly good for learning all the countries of the world!


Resources for business learners

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Many of our students work for international firms and need to use English at work.  In the lessons we provide an insight into how English is used in the business world. Outside of the classroom, students are persuaded to deepen their knowledge of English by reading business newspapers, following companies on social media, and watching videos relevant to their work.  Here are some of the excellent  resources.

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Newspapers and social media

Consider following newspapers and other financial companies on social media or subscribe to their mail lists. 


Company websites

Check out the websites of large companies operating in your industry.  Many of them include videos announcing the financial results and press releases.


Television programmes

The following factual television programmes are business related:

  • Dragon's Den

  • BBC News


Some films and dramas also have a business focus and can be useful for learning about the business world:

  • Suits

  • Mad Men

  • The Good Wife


Resources for teachers and linguists

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Here are some of my favourite recommendations:

Books for linguists

  • Practical English Usage by Michael Swan

  • Teaching and learning in the language classroom by Tricia Hedge

  • Teaching English grammar to speakers of other languages - edited by Eli Hinkel

  • Rules, patterns and words by Dave Willis

  • Talk on the Wild Side by Lane Greene

Videos and podcasts

  • Macmillan training videos

  • YouTube videos by Simon Roper, especially the one on IPA

  • En Clair forensic linguistics podcast by Dr Claire Hardaker

reading list
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