Where Do I Start If I Want to Improve My English?   Leave a comment

Someone asked on Google Plus what they should do to improve their English.  There are so many applications for language learners out today.  Sadly, many are just drill programs.  They help students drill language learning, but they do not have students engage in authentic types of actions that make their language learning meaningful and efficient.  Things we drill we do not learn.  Research has shown we learn when we are doing meaningful actions while learning English.

This is why my lessons have students reading, viewing, and listening to meaningful and interesting information that we discuss.  Vocabulary and sentence constructions are introduced at the beginning of the lesson, and there is plenty of opportunity to use the new words in meaningful and interesting conversations.  This is how a language is acquired, by using it for interesting purposes that our minds find useful. You can find out more about my lessons here: https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/video-on-english-lessons-with-laurie-flood/

Another meaningful and interesting way to learn English that is very powerful is to read English at your current level.  In the past, I have mentioned Readlang as a very good eReader that I highly recommend.  This eReader allows a student of almost any world language to read content on the web in the eReader, translate words they do not know, and keep track of the new words, for later practice.  This is a great way to learn English, because you are reading interesting content, so it is meaningful English instruction.  Saving the words automatically and drilling them later is not bad, because the words are presented in the context of what you have just read.  Readlang has lists of articles and has leveled the lists, so you can find content at your level without searching.  Also, this article has a link to good intermediate English reading podcasts with the transcript of each podcast that you can put in your Readlang eReader : https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/podcast-with-transcript-to-put-in-readlang/ This gives you reading and listening practice!

Of course, you do not need to read ebooks or solely online content.  Our minds find good books meaningful and interesting as well, as long as we choose books that are not too difficult (no more than a few new words on each page!).  There are quite a few books I have recommended on this website for English Language Learners.  If you are not sure of your level, I can determine that in one lesson.  The testing is easy and relaxing.  It is meant to allow you to learn a few new words as you take the test.  At the end, I will provide you a list of books at your reading level (most of which can easily be bought on Amazon.com for $5 to 6 USD, some of which are free online books).

Many of these same books from your list that I give you can be found as Audible audio books, so you can practice your listening at your present level of English as well as your reading.  Audible usually has an affordable plan that allows you a one audio book a month (used to be around $15 USD).  Audible books can be uploaded to many different types of devices, such as MP3 players, iPods, iPhones, other smart phones, and tablet PCs.  Usually an Audible plan will provide you with one free audible book as a trial, to see if you like the service.


Also, there are some good sources of documentaries that are at levels of English suitable for English language learners.  Some are listed in the Resources page on this website, but I will do an article soon about one other very good source of many documentaries suitable for English Language Learners.

When you encounter new words in your book or in the documentaries, you can either save them in your Readlang browser, or you can save them in the electronic flashcard file called Anki.  For myself, I like to store all of my new Spanish words in one place in order to study.  That makes things more efficient.

These are a few powerful ways to begin.  There are many more resources on this website that can help you learn English.  Click on this link: https://forjapanesestudentsofenglish.wordpress.com/references/

All of these recommendations and sources are enjoyable and powerful ways to improve your English.





Posted May 3, 2014 by laurieflood

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