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5 Ways to learn English at home

A lot of us talk about learning a new language, but it can be difficult to find the time or know where to start. While English classes are the best way to come to grips with the language, there are things you can do at home in order to start learning or improve the language. So, in these times, as most of us are in our homes maybe with more free time than usual, here are 5 ways to learn English at home you can do yourself. So, grab a notebook and let’s get started!

 

1. TV

Watching TV is something that most people enjoy and do quite often. It’s also a great way to improve your English. However, I don’t recommend just any TV. A tip I always tell my students that if you’re watching TV to learn English is to watch it only for short periods. It can be difficult and frustrating to focus for long periods of time and get lost in the language. For that reason I recommend sitcoms! Not only are the episodes short, and easy to follow plot wise, they also use common, conversational language, usually in everyday situations. I suggest putting on English subtitles and using that notebook, pausing the sitcom to make notes of any vocabulary or phrases that you don’t understand. Give yourself an hour to become familiar with the new vocabulary and phrases, and you can rewatch the episode with a much greater understanding. You can also review the notebook in order to remember the new expressions or words.

Check back in the next few weeks as we are going to have an entry about the best TV shows to watch if you want to learn English.

 

2. Reading in english

Reading a whole novel when you are still learning English can be stressful, as there can be too much new language to try to understand. For that reason, I recommend a collection of short stories. You can take your time and go through any words/phrases you don’t understand. Another positive of short stories is that if one isn’t to your taste you can move onto the next one. A personal recommendation is ¨Twisted ¨by Jeffery Deaver, it’s a great read. If you’re more comfortable with the language, autobiographies can be very helpful, as they are written in a more simple, conversational language and if you choose someone you’re a fan of, it can be very interesting!

Tip: If you’re interested in reading I suggest avoiding newspapers, their language is very formal and can be difficult to understand.

 

3. Podcasts/Audiobooks

Listening and comprehension are very important skills for those learning English. It can be especially difficult to understand different accents and ways of speaking. I have also heard time and time again that native speakers speak very fast, so can be extra difficult to follow. Podcasts are a great resource for those who have an intermediate level and are comfortable with listening to the language. It really helps you to improve your understanding and listening skills. Choose a topic that interests you and it’s a way to learn English vocabulary and expressions while being interested in the topic. For those comfortable with the language, you can also listen to audiobooks instead of reading. Just remember, it can be difficult to understand individual words while just listening as you don’t have the support of subtitles or seeing the words written down.

 

4. TED Talks

TED Talks are an incredible free resource for people who want to hear experts discuss various subjects. They are also very helpful if you want to improve your English. There is a wide range of topics available, so there is something for everyone! If you use the website, there is a transcript of every talk, and on YouTube there are subtitles available so you can really understand the individual words or the composition of phrases. You can use your notebook to make notes, and practice later. You can rewatch the TED Talk until you are happy with the content. They are short and very interesting, and they can give you ideas or vocabulary for discussing various topics with confidence.

 

5. Recursos útiles

These two websites have some excellent resources for those of you who are practicing your English at home.

British Council Learn English

This is a website with a lot of available resources. They are divided by skill, so you can decide which of the 4 competencies you would like to practice: Reading, writing, listening, or speaking. The exercises are available in online format or PDF. There are also videos, audios, short stories and magazine articles. Everything is divided by level so you can choose the ones suitable for you!

NOTE: This is also a good place to find podcasts, and they are specifically designed for ESL learners.

One Stop English

This is aimed more at English teachers but its has a great pronunciation section with exercises that you can practice at home. The exercises are not as effective as practicing with a. teacher, but for those of you who really struggle with pronunciation it can still be a great help! They are divided by level so again, you can choose what is most suitable for you!

 

Remember, by far the best way to learn English is with a qualified and experienced teacher!

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