How to Learn English – Writing, Reading and Listening
Part 2 – Improving Writing, Reading
and Listening Skills
1. Listen to English radio or podcasts.
One of the best ways to improve your English listening comprehension is to download English-language podcasts or radio apps on your phone or MP3 player.
You should then make an effort to listen to the podcasts or radio shows for at least 30 minutes per day. Do it in the gym, on your commute to work, or while you’re sitting at your computer.
Really make an effort to understand what’s being said, don’t just let the English wash over you. Even if you find it too fast, try to pick out key words and phrases to get a general idea of what the conversation is about.
If you can, make a note of any words or phrases that you don’t understand and look up the translation afterwards. Then listen to the podcast or show again to hear the new words or phrases in context.
2. Watch English movies and TV shows.
Another fun way to improve your listening comprehension is to watch English movies and TV shows.
Try to pick movies or TV shows that you will enjoy — this will make the exercise feel like less of a chore. If possible, choose movies or shows that you are already familiar with, such as children’s cartoons or blockbuster films. If you already know the basic story you will find the language much easier to pick up on.
However, you should avoid watching movies or television shows with subtitles in your native language — they will only distract you and make you less inclined to focus on understanding the English, which is the whole point of the exercise.
3. Read an English book, newspaper or magazine.
Reading is an essential part of learning a new language, so don’t forget to practice!
Find something you are really interested in — whether that’s a famous English novel, The New York Times or a fashion magazine and start working your way through it. If you find the content boring, you will be less inclined to persevere with it.
Again, make an active effort to actually understand what you’re reading, don’t just skim over it. Highlight any words or phrases that you don’t understand, then look them up in the dictionary.
If you’re alone, you could also try reading aloud — this will allow you to improve your reading comprehension while also working on your pronunciation.
4. Keep a diary in English.
Aside from reading and listening comprehension, you should also spend some time working on your written English.
This may be one of the most difficult aspects of your language learning, but it is important nevertheless. Writing in English will help you to work on your sentence structure, grammar and spelling.
Try keeping an English diary in which you write down a few sentences every day. It doesn’t have to be deeply personal — you could write about the weather, what you ate for dinner or what your plans are for the day.
If you feel comfortable with it, get a native speaker to look over what you’ve written and check it for any errors. This will help you to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
5. Find an English-speaking pen-pal.
Once your written language skills have improved, you could consider getting an English-speaking pen-pal!
Having an English-speaking pen-pal combines your English writing practice with the excitement of getting a letter or email!
Your pen pal may be someone who is learning English like you, or they may be a native English speaker who wants to practice their foreign language skills by writing to you in your native tongue.
Having a pen pal from an English-speaking country (such as the United States, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa, for example) will also allow you to learn more about the culture and what life is like in that part of the world.