Tips for Learning English

Different strategies and exercises an ESL student can use to improve language fluency.

  • Find a Podcast in English on something that interests you. Listen once for overall comprehension. Listen a second time and look up the words you don’t know. Hear it again for a third time and write down all of the dialogue. Look online to see if there is a transcript of what was said. Compare the two and see where your language skills were off.
  • Think of the last time you had a cold. Write in English what your symptoms were and share it with a friend. Look up any of the medical terms you don’t know. Put these terms into google and read the articles that show up to see how native English speakers use them.
  • Think of something you know how to do really well like cooking or building something. Explain to a friend how to do this in English.
  • Read an article about a current event in your native language. Next, find an article in English about the same event. Since you are familiar with what the story is you will understand the English article better.
  • Change your facebook language settings to English. Join as many facebook groups as possible that are in English.
  • Translate your national anthem into English. Read it to a friend. Look online how others have translated it and compare it to yours.
  • Now that fall is here the weather is changing. Look over some expressions to talk about weather in English. Write out, or describe to a friend, what weather changes you’ve seen in the last couple of weeks.
  • Read about Halloween customs in the United States on Google. Look up the history of the holiday and make a list of English vocabulary words associated with the day.
  • Look up the definition of Ebola in English and look up the words you don’t know. Explain the disease to a friend in English the best you can.
  • Imagine an argument with your boss. Write it out in English with things about work that you would really say. Try to have responses from the boss that are things he would say.
  • Write a short dialogue between two friends that are discussing a topic that you are not very familiar with. If your English vocabulary is weak in science have them discuss something that is science related. Look up the words you don’t know. Make a vocabulary list of these new words. Read the conversation out loud with a friend.
  • Write down five goals you have in the future in English. Look up the words you don’t know. Read it out loud and then tell a friend about them. Tell him or her to ask you questions while you are talking about these goals. Speaking practice is essential to learning the language.
  • Watch a movie that you like in English and explain the plot to a friend. Next, pick another friend to explain it to using different words.
  • Explain to a friend, or write down on a piece of paper, directions to your house in English.
  • Write out the recipe of your favorite dish in English. Read it out loud while you are making it. Explain what the ingredients are to a friend.
  • Text your friends in family in English and translate for them if you need to.
  • Write a simple poem using as many rhyming words as possible.
  • Write a description of a family member using as many adjectives as possible. Read it out loud.
  • Write your favorite song out in English and read it out loud.
  • Watch a movie in English and then summarize the plot to another person
  • Label each piece of furniture in your house in English. Pronounce the word when you use it.
  • Watch an hour of TV in English each day: Sit and watch TV in English with a pencil and a notebook handy. Jot down words and phrases that you don’t know and look them up later. Don’t try to understand each and every word. Instead, try to get the main point of what is being said. make sure to watch different types of programs so that you get exposure to all kinds of vocabulary.

  • Read Novels in English: This is not easy to do for ESL students, but it is a great exercise. Think of a book that you have already read in your native language. Find the English translation of that book. Since you already read this book, you will know what the story is about, and you won’t feel too lost. Sit down with a dictionary and slowly read from the beginning to the end. Don’t look up every word.

  • Watch DVDs in English with the subtitles on: Pick your favorite movie and watch it with the subtitles on. When you hear a part that you don’t understand, pause the movie and write down what the subtitles say. Look up the words that you don’t know.

  • Write out a situation that you come across daily: Think of something that you do everyday. Some examples are going to the store, going to work or having dinner with your family. Write out what you do in these situations like you were explaining it to a friend. Look up the words you don’t know and then check your sentences in Google (see next step).

  • Use the internet to check your sentences: If you want to know if the way you worded something sounds awkward type it into Google. If you get a lot of hits, then English speakers would say it that way. If you get no hits, then native speakers probably wouldn’t use the words you chose. This only works for a few words at a time. You can’t put in an entire sentence if it is long.

  • Find online English Chat Rooms: There are many out there. Just type “English online chat” and you will see many. This exercise helps you with real time conversation skills.

  • Get yourself in situations where you are forced to speaks English: Try to get a job where it is required that you speak English. This will force you to practice your speaking. If you can’t find a job like that try to find a volunteer position that requires English. You are more likely to remember the words you learned speaking with a person as opposed to what you learn out of a book.

  • Summarize your day in English: Before you go to bed, sit down in front of the mirror and talk about the things you did that day. Include the daily chores you did and the people you talked to. Pretend a friend was listening and speak like you were talking to him.

  • Tips for Learning English