Reah's Blog | Education, Language, Technology

101 Ways to Improve Your English – For Non-native Speakers

By on Sep 5, 2011 in Education, Language | 10 comments

Having English as a second language, I played kids vocabulary games, watched English TV shows with captions on, read English books aloud, and thought in English all day—all so I can be fluent in English. How hard can that goal be? Hard but fun! And as if those “hard-but-fun” activities are not enough to accomplish my goal, I created my own word games, made bike riding an educational activity, and tested myself on how many English words I could spell correctly in an hour. The last one sounds overboard, don’t you think? But I did it. Let’s say it was the product of too much enthusiasm (and free time?) Ha! That activity made me a better speller though and it is just one of a few examples of what you can do to improve your English too. In fact, at the end of this article is a 101 list of activity ideas, so be ready to fill your to-do lists and desks. No need to do all the activities listed at the end of the article. No rush too. Just pick out those that match your learning style, personality type, or level of proficiency. You can even just select the ones that use materials commonly found online, at home, at school, at work, or in the library. And if you want to do it with your family and friends, choose the activities that require interaction with other people. Now, enjoy reading the 101 activity ideas to improve your English and do not forget to take notes of those activities you want to do. For your convenience, you can download and print the pdf version of this article so you can write your notes on it. By using images and drawings 1Use an English visual dictionary to learn words referring to people, animals, places, and things. 2Use images to learn descriptive words. 3Take photos or draw scenes and items you see every day, then write their captions in English. 4 Label images indexed in Google Image search. 5 Use Google Translate and Google Images together to learn names of places and things. By using your first language 6 Keep and use English dictionary with you that translates to your first language. 7 Translate words, phrases, and sentences you always use in your first language. 8 Translate questions you commonly ask in your native language to English. 9 Translate your local TV shows to English at 10 Translate songs written on your native language to English. 11 Fill a jar with strips of paper containing random sentences written on your native language. Then once a day, draw a strip of paper from the jar and translate the sentence to English. By using real items 12 Learn new words from reading English texts printed in product labels or packaging. 13 Label things found in your house or in your office. 14 Hold or point to the actual item when you are describing it. By using videos 15 Watch English TV shows. 16 Watch English TV shows with English captions on. 17 Watch news from English-speaking news channels. 18 Watch English videos that teach you how to do things. 19 Watch movies and shows without English subtitles. 20 Watch free lectures that interest you at 21 Watch English video lessons online. 22 Watch free English documentaries online. By listening 23 Listen to English radio shows, commentaries, and advertising. 24 Listen to the correct pronunciations of words online. 25 Listen to English audio books, which you can probably find in your local libraries. 26 Listen to English podcasts. Through Lists 27 Master the 1000 most commonly used English words. 28 List and memorize new English words and phrases you think you will be comfortable using. 29 List and group words that are in any way related or similar to each other. Through music 30 Learn from singing popular English songs like those from the Beatles and Abba. 31 Sing English nursery songs. 32 Listen to songs made for teaching English grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Through games 33 Play Scrabble. 34 Play Boggle. 35 Answer English crossword puzzles. 36 Play word guessing games. 37 Play English typing games. 38 Choose English as the default language of computer games you play. By reading 39 Keep and use an English dictionary with you that has sample sentences. 40 Read English books and magazines regularly. 41 Read English webpages that write about topics that interest you. 42 Read book and product reviews in 43 Read comments written by English native speakers online. 44 Take the meaning of the word from how it is used in the text you are reading. 45 Read blogs that publish tips on English usage, grammar, and vocabulary. By learning English patterns and word usage 46 Learn and master the basic patterns in English grammar. 47 Compare English grammar with that of your first language. 48 Learn the rules of parallelism and practice using it. 49 Learn how to use modifiers, and practice using them. 50 Learn how to use phrasal verbs and idioms, and practice using them. 51 Get any copy of the best grammar books. 52 Learn English spelling patterns. 53 Spell English words on paper or spell it out loud, over and over again. 54 Research and familiarize yourself with slang words and phrases. By speaking 55 Spend an hour reading English texts out loud. 56 Recite English words...