One of the most effective ways to improve your understanding of the English language is by frequently reading news websites. Indeed, by reading the news from a range of sources, covering a variety of different topics, you can significantly enhance your vocabulary and understanding of concepts like grammar and syntax.
Reading can help improve your English skills
Reading the news is a good way to get a sense for different ways the language can be used. For example, if you read a very professional, formal news site, you can start to see how professional sentences are put together, while if you read something more light-hearted, you can learn to use the language in a less formal fashion.
Moreover, reading the news in English can help to improve your grasp on different English-speaking cultural aspects, and help you to learn the differences between British, American, Canadian, Australian and South African English. So, with that in mind, here are 10 news sites that will allow you to practice your English reading abilities.
10 news sites to practice English
1. BBC News
One of the most prestigious news organisations in the world, the British Broadcasting Corporation is a public service broadcaster based in the UK and the BBC News section of the website covers a whole range of topics, including world news, UK news, entertainment, technology, politics and sport.
In general, BBC News articles are written in a professional tone, using British English. The site attempts to remain politically neutral, reporting facts rather than opinions and sacrificing entertainment for high-quality journalism. With that said, some of the features on the site are less serious and more on the fun side.
2. The Cut
Operating under the New York Magazine umbrella, The Cut is a general interest news site, which places a strong focus on news related to fashion, beauty and lifestyle choices. It is written in American English, has a fairly light-hearted tone and is primarily geared towards young women.
Many of the articles on the website are easy-to-read ‘Top 10’ or ‘Top 50’ style features, although opinion pieces and general news articles are also published. In addition to covering fashion and lifestyle news, The Cut does sometimes deal with topics like celebrity, television, film and even politics.
3. The Toronto Star
Attached to the daily newspaper of the same name, the Toronto Star is one of the most-read news websites in Canada. It is, therefore, a good choice for people focusing on Canadian English, or for those with a particular interest in Canadian affairs, although international news is also featured.
Politically, the website is considered to have a liberal bias and some of the language utilised is more sensationalist than you would see from the BBC, for example, ensuring a certain level of entertainment. Nevertheless, the Toronto Star insists that its writers demonstrate excellent journalistic standards at all times.
4. ABC News
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a state-owned news corporation, and its ABC News website is well-respected around the world. Much like with the BBC in Britain, ABC News is designed to maintain political neutrality, meaning it is a good choice for those looking for an unbiased news source.
In terms of topics covered, the website features stories on national and international affairs, as well as politics, business, sport, science and more. It is a good option for people hoping to brush up on Australian English, which differs from both British and American dialects, although due to its professional nature, use of slang is minimal.
5. The Debrief
Another British-based news source, The Debrief covers a wide range of topics, including current affairs, politics, technology, television, lifestyle, fashion and celebrity gossip. As you would expect, it is written in British English, while the site adopts a less formal tone and is primarily aimed at a younger readers.
Many of the features on The Debrief are opinion pieces, although there are general news items and even tips on topics like how to dress, or how to eat more healthy foods. Most of the content on the site is reasonably easy for people to read and because it is aimed at a youthful audience, it it also useful for picking up slang words.
6. The Learning Network
A perfect pick for those who are not 100 percent comfortable reading English yet, the Learning Network is a sub-section of the New York Times’ website and features examples of articles written in American English, which are accessible to students still in the process of acquiring the language.
In fact, many of the features on the website are geared directly towards language learners, with some having been specifically designed to allow you to test yourself. One of the excellent things about the site is that it encourages comments from language students, giving you a chance to interact as well as read.
7. The New Statesman
A solid choice for the more accomplished English reader, the New Statesman is a British news website, which primarily deals with the topics of politics and current affairs. Notable contributors to the website in recent years have included Will Self, Mehdi Hasan, Alastair Campbell, Jemima Khan and Russell Brand.
The columns, reports and articles on the New Statesman website may be challenging for those with only basic English comprehension, but are highly acclaimed and serve as an example of top-quality political writing. In particular, the opinion pieces on the website are a good way to get to grips with persuasive writing in English.
8. The Pool
Advertised as a news platform “for women who are too busy to browse”, The Pool has a clear leaning towards a female audience and focuses on a range of topics, including current affairs, fashion and entertainment. The website is the brain child of British radio presenter, Lauren Laverne, and former Cosmopolitan editor, Sam Baker.
Most of the content on the website is short and to the point, in-keeping with its core aim and that makes it perfect for language learners. Students will also find it easy to select items to click on, as each of them are labelled with an approximation of how long it will take to read.
9. Daily Mail Online
Based in the United Kingdom, Daily Mail Online is officially the world’s most popular newspaper website and is another example of British English, written to both entertain and inform. Again, it adopts a slightly sensationalist approach, using attention-grabbing and emotional language.
From a political perspective, the website has a conservative leaning, while more than half of its readership is female, making it one of the few mainstream newspaper sites to be able to claim as much. In addition to reporting on current major news stories, the site has a heavy focus on celebrity stories from all across the globe.
10. The New Yorker
Finally, the New Yorker is an excellent website to visit if you really want to challenge yourself and test your English reading abilities to the limit. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the website’s content is that many of the pieces are long. In fact, it is not uncommon to find articles that are well over 10,000 words in length.
Like the magazine that shares its name, the website focuses on topics like politics, cultural issues and current affairs, through reporting, commentary pieces, essays and even poetry. Furthermore, the New Yorker is well-known for its use of humour and satire, which helps to make it a more entertaining read.