If you're working to improve your English and need additional help, here are some tips to improve while also having fun! Learning a language is very personal and it’s important to choose a learning method that is right for you.
Make It Fun and Enjoy It
Choose something that you like and will enjoy doing! Learning English should be fun and interesting. Do you have any hobbies that you could try in English? What are your goals for learning? Choose something related to your goals and interests. Here are some examples of things you can do in English to help you improve certain skills:
- Reading: Novels, blogs, news or online articles, comic books, or graphic novels
- Listening: Music, podcasts, movies, TV, cooking shows, video blogs, video games, TED Talks
- Speaking: Chat groups (in person or remote), book clubs or other discussion groups, connect with people on Facebook or other social media groups, video chats or phone calls with friends
- Writing: Keep a journal, write a blog, make a vocabulary journal, post on your social media accounts in English
Don’t Spend Money
Try to choose something that is free! You don’t need to spend a lot of money to improve your language skills. You can stream movies on services you already pay for, join a Facebook group, or follow a channel or blogger that interests you on YouTube.
You could also download a free E-book in English. It helps if you’ve already read it in your native language first, or know the story well. Comic books and young adult novels are a great place to start to help you improve your reading skills and comprehension.
Track Your Progress
Choose something that helps you see your progress. When you can see your improvements it will motivate you to continue to practice. Choose something that you can do several times so you can note your improvements and struggles each time.
For example, try watching the same movie multiple times. First, watch it in your native language. Next, watch it in English with subtitles in your native language. Then, watch it in English with English subtitles. Finally, watch it in English with no subtitles. You’ll probably find that you understand more than you expected. Just make sure you choose a movie that you enjoy and can watch again without being bored. You could also do this with TV, books, or articles.
Make a Learning Contract
Try creating a learning contract for yourself: include a start and end date, your goals, how you will practice, and a schedule for how often you will practice. Treat this like a real contract - set a deadline and sign the contract for yourself! Make a study plan and schedule time in your week to complete your work. Hold yourself accountable or find friends who can help you stay on track!
Here’s an example that you can copy and paste into your own document:
- My goals (What do I want to achieve or improve?):
- How will I do this? (How am I going to achieve my goal? What kind of work will I do? When will I make time to complete the work?):
- How will I track my success? (How will I know when I’ve reached my goal? What is the deadline?):
Here are some resources to help you get started:
- Breaking News English
- Music Listening Activities
- English Learning on YouTube
- Interactive Websites for English Learning
- Facebook Groups for English Learning
- Podcasts for Learning English
- Quizzes and Resources for Using Movies to Learn English
- Movie Trivia Quiz on The English Blog
Article written by Nathan Galster, Education Coach