Improving your English for ESL Students
When you study English, you will probably reach a point where you feel you are no longer making progress. Once you can talk and read well enough to do common tasks, what do you do if you really want to be able to carry on a conversation naturally? Perhaps you wish to write well or read easily at a higher level. How do you get better? Read the tips below to perfect your English skills.
Ask for help. Your best resource is a native speaker who can tell you how to correctly pronounce a word or show you the way to use words in a sentence. Perhaps you know someone who would be willing to help you. If so, be brave and ask for their help. If you do not know anyone, you can find ESL teachers willing to help at “Dave's ESL Cafe's Student Discussion Forums” (search on that name).
Practice, practice, practice. You will lose your English language skills if you do not use them. Make it a daily habit to practice your skills. You can find fun and interesting ways to practice on websites with a variety of learning activities. Try “Interesting Things for ESL Students” at http://www.manythings.org/. Search on the keyword “ESL” to find more helpful websites.
Study for the TOEFL. The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is the standard way to measure a student’s understanding of and ability to use English. The test is normally taken by people wishing to attend an English university. Even if you do not plan to attend a university, you might want to try studying for this test because the process of studying for the test will improve your use of English. You can find all sorts of study tips and help on the internet by searching on the keyword “toefl”. You can also check out study guides from local libraries or purchase study guides from a bookstore or over the internet.
Keep a vocabulary notebook. Building vocabulary is a key way to improve your use of English. Add at least one new word to your vocabulary each day. The word can come from something you read or from a “Word a Day” service which you will find on many websites. Dictionary.com is one such source and you can sign up for their free e-mailing service which will send the word directly to you. Study your new word. Look closely at how it is spelled. Read the definition. Write it out. Post it on your desk. Try to use the word in a sentence. Write it in your vocabulary notebook. The more times you use a word, the more likely it is you will remember it for future use.
Read English every day. Read newspapers, novels, travel guides, or websites. Read anything which is interesting to you and written in English. Keep your dictionary handy for the inevitable words you do not know, but challenge yourself to spend at least 30 minutes a day reading. You will gain reading speed, new vocabulary, and insight into the use of English.
Using the ideas above will lift your understanding of English to the next level. Study hard!