1. How to learn LISTENING
- Listen to the radio
Don’t always have a pen in hand. Sometimes it helps to just listen.
- Watch English TV
Children’s programming is very useful for ESL learners.
Choose programs that you would enjoy in your own language.
Remember that much of what you hear on TV is slang.
- Call Automated Answering Machine recordings
You can find these numbers at the front of telephone books in many English-speaking countries. Before you dial, make sure that you are calling the free numbers.
- Watch movies
Choose ones with subtitles, or one from ESLNotes.com (provides useful notes on popular movies).
- Use Internet listening resources
Every day there are more and more places to listen to English online.
- Useful Listening links:
EnglishClub.com English Listening
More listening tips
2. How to learn SPEAKING and pronunciation
- Talk to yourself
Talk about anything and everything. Do it in the privacy of your own home. If you can’t do this at first, try reading out loud until you feel comfortable hearing your own voice in English.
- Record your own voice
This might feel very uncomfortable, but it will help you find your weak pronunciation points. Listen to yourself a few days later. Which sounds do you have difficulty hearing?
- Use the telephone.
- Participate in class
- Learn common idioms
- Understand the sounds that your language doesn’t have
For example, many languages don’t have the “r” sound. These sounds require extra practice.
- Recognize that teachers are trained to understand you
When you get out into the real world, average people will have a more difficult time understanding you unless you practise speaking slowly and with proper pronunciation.
- Practise minimal pairs
- Study word and sentence stress
- Practice tongue twisters
- Useful Speaking links:
EnglishClub.com English Speaking
EnglishClub.com English Pronunciation
More speaking tips
3. How to learn READING and vocabulary
- Read something every day
Children’s books, simplified readers (Penguin), newspapers, magazines, Internet sites, novels, and much much more…
- Read what interests you.
Remember that you learn better when you are having fun.
- Read at the appropriate level
You want to learn new vocabulary, but you also want to understand what you are reading. If you are looking up every word, the reading is too difficult.
- Review Who, What, Where, When, Why for each story you read
You can do this for almost any type of reading. Who is it about? What happened? Why did it happen? Where did it take place? When did it take place? This is very useful when you have no comprehension questions to answer. You can write or speak your answers.
- Always have an English-English dictionary nearby
It is a bad habit to always rely on a translation dictionary or electronic dictionary.
Think of your English-English dictionary as your life line.
Use online dictionaries when you are using the Internet (keyword online dictionary).
- Record vocabulary in a personal dictionary
- Keep this notebook separate from other work
- Record vocabulary in alphabetical order (an English address book works well because it has letters of the alphabet)
- Record the part of speech (sometimes there is more than one)
- Write a sample sentence for yourself (don’t use the one from the dictionary)
- Review your personal dictionary (especially new entries) every night before bed
- Useful Reading links:
EnglishClub.com English Reading
EnglishClub.com English Vocabulary
More reading tips
4. How to learn WRITING and spelling
- Keep a diary/journal
Don’t always pay attention to grammar. Free-writing can be very useful. It can show you that writing is fun. Have fun with the language.
- Write emails in English
Stay in contact with teachers or other students.
- Rewrite your local news in English
This is another exercise that can be done on a daily basis. Remember that regular activities are the best ones.
- Learn important spelling rules
Remember, you won’t always have a dictionary or a spell-checker handy, especially when you are writing a test. Even native English speakers need to review the spelling rules from time to time.