I hope you enjoyed reading the first part of this series on ways to help you study called Tips on Studying Through Listening and Reading, which focused on input — reading and listening. In this post, I’ll talk about including output in your daily study time. This includes speaking and writing. Here is where you have the opportunity to practice the things you learned while you were reading and listening. After you’ve taken the time to do that, you need to put what you’ve learned to practical use.
Speaking — It is very important that you find time to speak English every day. Even if you have no one to talk to, just saying the words out loud is helpful. Finding someone to talk to is the best option. There are
If you’re concerned about pronunciation, you can practice this through mimicking the words and sounds you hear when listening to music or the news. Many people like to mimic rap music because it’s so close to spoken English. I recommend using a site like VOA News’ Learning English or TED because both offer transcripts with the videos and/or audio clips, so you can read and listen at the same time. Pause after each sentence and repeat what you’ve heard. Use the transcript to confirm the words being spoken. Record yourself with your smartphone and compare the two to see where you need to improve. Use this method as a means for practicing pronunciation. You can read the same article for comprehension another time. Smartphone apps like Busuu and Duolingo also have sections that help with pronunciation.
Writing — One thing I always tell my students to do is write in a journal. If you don’t have time to write in a journal every day, then choose one day each week to write about what you did that week or write about your favorite hobby. You can also write a summary of your favorite movie or TV show. This is a great way to practice sentence structure, word order, and a good way to practice using some of the vocabulary words and grammar you learned during the week. If you’re not comfortable with writing a journal, write sentences using the vocabulary learned during the week. Just write something! Busuu is pretty good about providing opportunities for you to practice your writing skills in each lesson.
When studying a language, it is important that you begin to recognize your own mistakes and correct them. For example, I wrote a post on how to use the present progressive tense. When you practice writing and speaking in this tense, be sure to use the correct verb agreement. This information was given in the post.
χ I am read a book.
χ I are reading a book.
√ I am reading a book.
Learning how to self-correct will prevent you from continuously making the same mistakes when communicating. This will also prevent you from turning simple errors into habits. Remember, practice makes better. This is true whether you practice good habits or bad habits.