Learn 1 new word everyday. This cannot be that difficult. We are not talking of 50 words, 25 words or even 10 words. We are talking about just 1 word here.
How do you find new words? There are hundreds of free websites that publish vocabulary lists and quizzes for ESL students at different levels. Merriam Webster Word of the Day is a great free resource. You can easily sign up and get a new vocabulary word emailed daily free of charge. You can also follow the Spoken English Practice blog – we continuously publish vocabulary lists like these for learners at elementary, intermediate and advanced levels.
Once you have learned basic grammar, there is no point in spending any more time just re-learning and memorizing grammar theory. A smarter use of time is to familiarize you-self with sentence structures in the English language.
The best way to do this is to spend 10 minutes a day reading online from English websites. There are hundreds of great sites to read from Lifehacker to Upworthy from Wired to the Huffington Post. Simply pick an article and read. Try to get the overall idea of the article – don’t worry about understanding each and every word. Feel free to look up some words or idioms you find new, but don’t try to memorize every new word you come across. Remember, the objective of this exercise is to make your-self familiar with sentence structures.
Listening and pronunciation go hand in hand. If you are having trouble pronouncing certain words, you are probably having a hard time understanding those words when a native speaker says them.
Good news is you don’t have to buy any fancy English language videos to improve your listening and pronunciation. There are a ton of free resources available. YouTube is a great starting point. Check out Steve jobs commencement speech at Stanford or a clip from Dave Letterman’s late night show. If you are looking for something lighthearted, try watching some standup comedy by Amy Schumer or Craig Ferguson. For something more educational and inspiring check out TED videos.
Spend 10 minutes doing this. If you want, write down new word or two do that but don’t pause every minute to over analyze. Just like with the reading exercise, try to keep the interruptions to a minimum and focus on getting the overall idea of the message. If you don’t understand everything that was said, don’t worry!
Speaking English is 90% about muscle memory. Super fluent English speakers don’t think and translate from their native language. Rather, they think in English and speak naturally, skipping the mental translation step. The result – they speak English more fluently. You NEED to do this to improve English speaking and go to a higher level of fluency.
A good 5 minute exercise you can do at home is to go in front of the mirror and try to explain something. Think of it as a mini presentation or speech. It could be about anything – from a food recipe you are trying for dinner to how your day went. Just say it out loud. Pay attention to how quickly you speak and how clear your voice is. Try to speak as naturally as possible without looking at any senetences.
Again, if you make mistakes (and you will), don’t sweat over it too much. The goal is develop you muscle memory so that you speak in English naturally without translating from your native language in your head.
The goal of this routine is to make you more fluent in English. It is aimed at improving your Conversational English. It is not aimed at improving your test scores in TOEFL or IELTS. Repeat these 4 “workouts” every day for 4 weeks and you will see an improvement in your English.
Of course, none of this will replace the value created by practicing with a native English speaker over Skype or some other video conferencing method. Real time conversation practice is always the fastest way to improve English, and will always will be.
Time for your English language workout. Improve English today. It only takes 28 minutes a day!