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Advice from Teachers: How to Learn English

USA Learns asked experienced English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers around the world for their advice and tips about how to learn English. Here’s what they said:

Watch the Videos and Repeat the Activities

By Margaret Lanen, Notre Dame Education Center

In the 2nd English Course, you will watch videos to help you improve your listening skills. It is a good idea to watch the videos several times as you read the text. These activities can help improve your reading and listening skills. New vocabulary activities strengthen your English comprehension, pronunciation and spelling skills.

In my class, I require that my students score at least 80% on all the activities. They can repeat them as often as they want. When the spelling activity is difficult, students realize that they need to improve their study skills and pay more attention to what they are learning. In the writing activities, students answer the questions by using the new vocabulary to summarize the content of the lesson.

Some Tips for Improving your Reading and Writing Skills

David J. Rosen, President, Newsome Associates

Reading improves writing; writing improves reading. Try to read and write in English every day for information and for fun. Write notes to family members, friends, and others who are learning English. If you have young children, read stories out loud to them; this will improve your reading, and will prepare your children to read too. If you are employed, write notes to others at work. Send them e-mails. If your cell phone has this feature, send them text messages. What do you find at work to read? For example, are there posters, notes or emails from coworkers or your supervisor, or from customers? Are there manuals, reference guides, bulletins, or written performance evaluations? Read as much as you can at work, even if you don’t understand all the words. Read the full article on our Reading page.

ESL and Technology

By Francisco Pinedo, ESL teacher in Soledad, California

USA Learns helps you improve your listening skills because it teaches vocabulary words that are repeated in the lessons. You also get to say the words, which helps with English pronunciation.

You will hear and see the words in the lessons. When it comes time to spell, you will remember the spelling better because of the pictures that are included. For example, if you hear and see the word “eraser,” it will help you remember how to spell the word even better.

How Can Technology Help Improve Your English Grammar?

by Jason R. Levine, Weekly English Workout / Fluency MC

The most important thing is that it provides greater opportunities for learners to do repetitive practice with authentic materials. Before digital music, you had to rewind tapes. Before video sharing sites like YouTube, you had to wait to watch a video again. With the Internet, there is virtually no limit to the practice you can get to develop your grammar. It’s repetitive practice-especially through reading and listening-that is vital. The more you read and listen to the same materials-the same music videos, news articles, blogs, and podcasts-the more likely the grammar structures will naturally sink in and stick in your head. As I like to say, it’s all about the 3Rs: Relax, Repeat, Remember. Read the full article on our Grammar page.

How to Improve Your English Reading and Vocabulary

Ms. Angi, Community Action, Inc. in the United States

It’s important to look up words that you don’t understand when reading a paragraph. It will not only improve your vocabulary, but it will strengthen your understanding of the paragraph. If there isn’t a dictionary nearby, try to use the words around the paragraph in order to understand the meaning of the unknown word.

To improve your vocabulary you need to READ! Reading will help every area of your English. You will learn new words and how to spell them. You will also learn correct sentence structure and grammar. So read everything you can; children’s books, articles on USA Learns, magazines, newspapers. Good luck and don’t give up!

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