Read To Your Kids

  … or read to your grandkids, nieces, nephews, little cousins, dog, – or yourself.

Children’s books are shorter and easier to understand.  They’re really good practice for someone learning English. Reading to a child can help you with:

  • Vocabulary – learn new words
  • Comprehension – better understanding when you read
  • Pronunciation

And – you will learn faster when you use English for something you enjoy.  (It’s really good for your child too!)

You can read along with this book by Dr. Seuss called One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Google Images as Your Dictionary

    There are some good, regular dictionaries for English language learners – including the Learner’s Dictionary, which explains 100,000 words and phrases in simple language, with sentence examples, and pronunciation.

However, there are many times when some pictures will help you understand a word better, and more quickly.  Perhaps the easiest way to see a word in pictures is with Google Images.  Here are some examples of words that are easier to understand with a picture, or a set of pictures…

Using Dictation to Improve Your SPEAKING

Many people like to practice dictation (listening to someone speak and writing what you hear).  It helps improve your English listening and writing.  You can also use dictation to improve your speaking.

The website has some suggestions for how to do this:

  1. Listen to a recording of someone speaking.  It’s best if …
    1. you can understand most of what they are saying
    2. they’re talking about something you find interesting
  2. Write down what you hear (pause the recording as needed) and – SPEAK the words out loud as you write them down.
  3. After you finish writing, read your sentence(s) out loud a few times
  4. Then play the recording again and try to read along – out loud – comparing your pronunciation to theirs
  5. Finally, try to tell (out loud) about what you just heard/wrote, looking at your writing as little as possible.  Do this a few times

You can start with some short dictation exercises that we have recommended.

Note: The Englishharmony website offers online training to buy.  Learning English in MetroWest does not make endorsements for any online training programs.

70 Ways to Improve Your English

 Lots of good tips in this updated blog post on  Suggestions include:

  • Read the lyrics to a song while you sing it
  • Read a book about a story you already know
  • Keep a diary in English, writing about your daily life
  • Change the language on your phone/computer to English
  • Have an English radio station on in the background while you work in your house

and 65 more.  The main idea: Find as many ways as possible to add English into your normal day.

Small Talk

Small talk is simple, polite conversation – usually with someone you don’t know very well.  Making small talk is a good way to practice your English speaking – such as when you meet someone walking in your neighborhood, or waiting in line at a store.  You can talk about things like the weather (“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?”), or someone’s cute dog.

Here are some examples of small talk conversations that you can read, and listen to.