3 ways to improve your English at Home

3 Ways to Improve Your English at Home (or Just Anywhere!)

As the academic year crawls to an end, it’s almost time for you to put your feet up and take a good break. Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to acquire useful English skills during the school holidays? Well, if you have, I have a piece of good news for you — it is absolutely possible! In fact, learning can take place anytime and anywhere. In this blog entry, I am thrilled to share with you 3 ways to improve your english at home!

 


1. Listen to the radio

 

3 ways to improve your English at home

Photo by Eric Nopanen

Since the radio is readily available online, you can immerse yourself in intriguing English broadcasts everywhere you go. Whether you are at home doing household chores or commuting to your favourite shopping mall, take the opportunity to enhance your English listening skills by tuning in to the radio!

What can you learn?

There are many English radio stations out there that play English songs and share interesting talks on different topics such as sports, entertainment and current affairs. Hence, by listening to these talks and songs, you gain exposure to a wider range of vocabulary and sentence structures. Furthermore, when you listen to accurate English conversations consistently, you will also be able to hone your English pronunciation by learning the right intonation, stress and enunciation. Last but not least, the talks and news shared by the radio stations shed light on what is happening around us, which aids you in gaining useful general knowledge for components like Oral SBC and Comprehension Cloze.

How to get started:

Some of the most relevant English radio stations you can keep an eye out for would be 987FM and BBC World Service. You can also check this website out for the various radio stations available in Singapore.

Remember, a little goes a long way. You don’t have to spend hours and hours every day listening to the radio, but even tuning in for five to ten minutes daily would benefit you in many ways in the long run.


2. Keep a diary

 

3 ways to improve your English at Home

Photo by Essentialiving

Who keeps a diary at home? If you do, you have already conquered the first step of this learning method. Keeping a diary is fun, and it allows us to jot down our personal thoughts or reflections on our daily episodes. However, do you know that writing diary entries regularly could also help you to strengthen your writing skills?

What can you learn?

That’s right! When it comes to writing, practice is key. No one becomes a mighty writer overnight. Hence, I always recommend my students to write as and when they are able to. Fortunately, you don’t always have to write compositions or academic texts. During your free time, you could also consider writing texts that you enjoy, such as diary entries, movie/food reviews or letters.

By writing journal entries frequently, you get to work on your sentence formation, vocabulary and expression. Furthermore, it motivates you to reflect on your day; you can think about what had happened, who was involved, why certain events might have taken place and how you felt throughout the day. Does that ring a bell to you? Yes, it is precisely the 5W1H technique that is ever so useful when it comes to crafting stories for both Paper 1 and Paper 4 (Oral). Now, do you see how writing personal reflections every day could help you to pick up handy English skills?

How to get started:

You can get started write away (right away – haha)! Get a new notebook and perhaps your favourite pen. Some people like to start with “Dear Diary” as it helps them to feel like they are writing to an audience and they can pour their hearts out. However, you can also simply jot the date at the top of the page and begin writing in the next line.

Since the aim of a diary is usually to help you reflect on your day, you can think about an event that made you smile or upset that day. If there is not a particularly outstanding event, you can also write about any particular thoughts that you may have. For example, “I wonder what we can do tomorrow. If I can, I will want to…” OR “I read about the protests in Hong Kong and I cannot believe that…”

Remember, the diary is your personal space and you are free to express yourself!


3. Learn English through comics!

 

3 ways to improve your English at Home

Photo by Miika Laaksonen

Comics are fun, aren’t they? However, other than being a form of entertainment, they serve as a great resource for learning English too. Here are some benefits of learning English through comic books.

What can you learn?
  • Shorter chunks of text that are easy to understand

    • For pupils who do not like to read verbose and lengthy texts, comics are a great alternative. The language used in comics is generally easier to comprehend, which makes it easier for students to understand the story and learn useful sentence structures at the same time.

  • Vocabulary expansion

    • Even though the language used is simpler, there is still impressive vocabulary, including idioms, that you can master!

  • Pictures to provide context

    • The greatest part about reading comics is being able to appreciate the drawings at the same time. With pictures drawn to serve as the context, it helps you to better understand the story events and sentences, even if you may not know all of the words used.

    • The presence of images also assists you in visualising written expressions. For instance, you will get to see the facial expressions of the characters, which correspond to their feelings during a particular event (e.g. “Batman was furious” -> the drawing shows Batman gritting his teeth in anger).

  • Different writing techniques

    • Comics present an array of writing techniques that you can learn! Some techniques include dialogue, personal voice and show-not-tell description.

How to get started:

Take note that not all comics are equally beneficial and applicable to you as a student. Hence, do be very discerning when it comes to choosing books that are suitable for your learning. Some comics that you may consider getting your hands on include Incredibles: Family Matters, Power Pack: The Kids Are Alright and DC Super Hero Girls.

If you enjoy reading comics, you can also click here to find a recommended list of graphic novels which you will enjoy!


To sum up… 

Overall, we have looked at some easy ways to sharpen your English listening, writing and reading skills while you are enjoying your school holidays. Remember, learning goes beyond the traditional classroom setting. Never restrain yourself within a tiny box! Do try out the 3 ways to improve your English at home today!


 

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