When we learn our mother tongue, we first listen, then speak, then read, and finally write. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the four language skills that we need to develop for complete communication. So how do we improve our English skills?
Listening and reading are receptive: the input, that is, the exposure to the authentic language in use. Speaking and writing are productive results, that is, the action of producing the language as part of the process of learning a second language.
To achieve these four basic language skills, you must surround yourself with English: make English a part of your life at home, at work, during your free time.
Read on to find tips to help you overcome the difficulties you face in improving your English skills.
Expose yourself to the language as much as possible:
practice makes perfect, which means that if you want to improve a certain skill, you have to practice it. As a beginning student, you will need to gain all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
How to improve listening skills in English
Listening plays a very important role in learning any language. Effective listening ensures understanding and helps improve speech accuracy, among other things. How can you improve your listening skills? Active listening, that is, paying attention not only to what is said but also to how it is said. So listen:
- Music: ancient or modern; whatever type you prefer, but pay attention to the letter.
- Movies, TV shows, news, entertainment, radio, try the classics. If you can watch a DVD, you can watch the movie multiple times. Searching with subtitles and then, when you feel more comfortable, without them. You can have a radio in English at home or on your cell phone. Even if you’re not really listening, your ears will get used to the sounds of the language.
- Participate in plays, exhibitions, conferences, etc. in English, organized by English-speaking schools or communities.
How to improve English speaking skills
It’s usually the most difficult of the four language skills, but once you’ve mastered a little English, there are a number of ways to improve quickly and have lots of fun.
- Participate in voice chats. Technology has come a long way when it comes to social networks; Therefore, wherever you live, you will find a chat room to join.
- Speak and record yourself. This may sound funny, but it will help you see how you can improve by repeating the recording several times until you are satisfied with the results.
- Talk to your classmates in English when you are not in class. You can even form a group to play, eat or just chat.
How to improve English reading skills
It is a brain process and takes time to develop: your mind needs to assign meaning to the words, phrases and expressions represented by symbols, as well as understand the grammar and structure of the language used in the passage to be read. If you develop strong reading skills, it will be very helpful for your future. You can read:
- English books and articles on the web. Perhaps books that you have already read in your native language or that have been made into movies. Try to start with easy books, including children’s books. books and comics: the pictures will help you understand even if you don’t know all the words
- Change the operating system of your cell phone, PC or tablet to English. Associating a function with a specific word will improve your vocabulary.
How to improve writing skills in English
Although this is intimidating for many people, anyone can get used to writing with a little discipline and willingness to learn.
- Write the words or phrases that are useful to you with their meanings and examples. If you see them in the sentences, you will remember them better. You can use them if you keep a diary.
- Write comments on blogs in English. Today, blogs are websites that look like magazines. Many people use them to express their ideas on a particular topic or to explain things, from knitting a scarf to other very complicated ones, where technical or philosophical issues are discussed. A common feature of all these blogs is that they are interactive: readers can comment or discuss the ideas presented in the blog. Even if you are not a fan of blogs, you can find some that really encourage you to participate. So just do it. You don’t have to be an expert to write a few sentences about what you think or feel about the blog content.
All the tips mentioned above can be boiled down to one: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Whatever learning style you have, whatever your native language, the key to acquiring and mastering a foreign language is to PRACTICE as much as possible.
The best books to improve English grammar
- English Grammar in use, R. Murphy (Cambridge)
- oxford practice Grammar Intermediate, J. Eastwood (Oxford)
- oxford practice Grammar Advanced, G. Yule (Oxford)
- Grammar for IELTS, D. Hopkins
- Essential English GrammarB. Chance (Regents of Prentice Hall)