Tips For Improve Your English
1. Start your own English language blog. Even for people who don’t have to write in English, writing can be a great way of properly learning the kind of vocabulary you need to describe your own life and interests, and of thinking about how to stop making grammar mistakes. The problem most people have is that they don’t know what to write about. One traditional way to make sure you write every day in English is to write an English diary (journal), and a more up to date way of doing this is to write a blog. Popular topics include your language learning experience, your experience studying abroad, your local area, your language, or translations of your local news into English.
2. Write a news diary. Another daily writing task that can work for people who would be bored by writing about their own routines in a diary is to write about the news that you read and listen to everyday. If you include your predictions for how you think the story will develop (e.g. “I think Hillary will become president”), this can give you a good reason to read old entries another time, at which time you can also correct and mistakes you have made and generally improve what you have written.
3. Sign up for a regular English tip. Some websites offer a weekly or even daily short English lesson sent to your email account. If your mobile phone has an e-mail address, it is also possible to have the tips sent to your phone to read on the way to work or school. Please note, however, that such services are not usually graded very well to the levels of different students, and they should be used as a little added extra or revision in your English studies rather than as a replacement for something you or your teacher have chosen more carefully as what you need to learn.
4. Listen to MP3s. Although buying music on the internet is becoming more popular in many countries, not so many people know that you can download speech radio such as audio books (an actor reading out a novel) and speech radio. Not only is this better practice for your English than listening to English music, from sources like Scientific American, BBC and Australia’s ABC Radio it is also free.
5. Listen to English music. Even listening to music while doing something else can help a little for things like getting used to the natural rhythm and tone of English speech, although the more time and attention you give to a song the more you will learn from listening to it again in the future.
6. Read the lyrics to a song. Although just listening to a song in English can be a good way of really learning the words of the chorus in an easily memorable way, if you want to really get something out of listening to English music you will need to take some time to read the lyrics of the song with a dictionary. If the lyrics are not given in the CD booklet, you may be able to find them on the internet, but please note that some lyrics sites deliberately put a few errors into their lyrics for copyright reasons. Once you have read and understood the lyrics, if you then listen and read at the same time, this can be a good way of understanding how sounds change in fast, natural, informal speech.
7. Sing karaoke in English. The next stage after understanding and memorising a song is obviously to sing it. Although some words have their pronunciation changed completely to fit in with a song, most of the words have the same sounds and stressed syllables as in normal speech. Remembering which words rhyme at the end of each line can also be a good way of starting to learn English pronunciation.
8. Write a film, music, hotel or book review. Another motivating and easy way to make yourself write in English is to write a review for a site such as Amazon or Internet Movie Database. Many non-native speakers write reviews on sites like this, and if you have some special understanding of the book, music or film due to your first language or knowing the artist personally, that would be very interesting for the English speakers who read and write reviews on the site.
9. Only search in English. Switching your search engine to the English language version of msn, yahoo, Google etc. can not only be a good way of practising fast reading for specific information in English, but could also give you a wider choice of sites to choose from and give you an idea of what foreigners are writing about your country and area.
10. Read a book you’ve already read or seen the movie of in your own language. Although most language learners under Advanced level would probably learn more from reading a graded reader or something from the internet than they would from reading an original book written for English speakers, for some people reading something like Harry Potter in the original can be a great motivator to improve their English. To make this easier for you and make sure that it motivates you rather than just making your tired, try reading a book that you already know the story of. This not only makes it easier to understand and guess vocabulary, but you are also more likely to remember the language in it. If you have not read the book before, reading a plot summary from the internet can also help in the same way.
11. Read a translation into English. Another way of making sure books are easier to understand is to choose a book that was originally translated into English, preferably from your own language. Even if you haven’t read the book in your own language, you will find the English is written in a slightly simplified way that is more similar to how your own language is written than a book originally written in English would be.
12. Skip the first ten pages. If you have given up with a book in English or are reading it very slowly, try skimming through the first ten pages or skipping them completely. The start of most books tend to be mainly description and are therefore full of difficult vocabulary and don’t have a clear story line yet to help you understand what is happening and to motivate you to turn the next page. If the book is still too difficult even after the introductionary part is finished, it is probably time to give that book up for now and try it again after you have read some easier things.
13. Read a book with lots of dialogue. Opening up books before you buy one and flicking through them to find one with lots of direct dialogue in it has several advantages. If there is less text on the page due to all the speech marks etc, this can make it easier to read and easier to write translations on. Dialogue is also much easier to understand than descriptive parts of a book, and is much more like the language you will want to learn in order to be able to speak English.
14. Read English language comics. Even more than books with lots of dialogue, comics can be easy to understand and full of idiomatic language as it is actually spoken. There can be difficulties with slang, difficult to understand jokes and/ or dialogue written how people speak rather than with normal spellings, so try to choose which comic carefully. Usually, serious or adventure comics are easier to understand than funny ones.
15. Read English language entertainment guides. Nowadays most big cities in the world have an English language magazine and/ or online guide to the movies, plays, exhibitions that are on in the city that week. Reading this in English is not only good value, but it could also guide you to places that English speakers are interested in and where you might hear some English spoken around you.
16. Read English language magazines. Like books, if you can read two versions of the same magazine (Newsweek in your language and in English, for example), that could make understanding it much easier.
17. Take a one week intensive course. Although you cannot expect to come out of a very short course speaking much better English than when you started it, if you continue studying a little over the following weeks and months, the knowledge you gained then will gradually come out and mean that your level of speaking, listening etc. are better than they would have been if you hadn’t taken that course. This positive effect can still be true up to a year later.
18. Follow your intensive course up with an extensive course. The more time you can spend studying English the better, but studying periodic intensive courses with a few hours of study a week in between is probably better value for money than any other system as it gives your brain time to subconsciously learn and start using the new language you have learnt before you introduce the next new “chunk” of language.
19. Supplement your group class with a one to one class. Another good way to combine two different kinds of classes is to study both in a group class and one to one. Having a one to one teacher, even if just a couple of times a month, will mean that you can be taught exactly the language that you need, that you will have more time to speak, and that you can have as much error correction as you like.
20. Supplement your one to one class with a group class. The benefits of having a group class are often less clear to students, but they include the fact that you will learn to deal with several people speaking at once, have a chance to practice skills such as interrupting people, and