10 smart and productive ways to improve your English skills

Learning English doesn’t always have to mean sitting in the classroom and studying tricky grammar. In fact, English language teachers encourage you to do plenty of extra learning outside of school. There are a number of ways to improve your understanding of the language, many of which can actually be a lot of fun.

It’s also a well-known fact that different people respond to different learning methods. Sometimes simply sitting in the classroom or reading a course book is not right for you. It can be beneficial to do some additional work.

So if you’re keen to improve your English (or any other second language for that matter) then consider some of these handy tips to get you on your way. Not everything will work for you but, if you add a few of these ideas to your day-to-day language learning, you’ll certainly see some improvement.

1. Watch television and films in English

Not only do Britain and the USA produce some of the best TV shows and films in the world, but you can learn English whilst watching them. If you’re still getting to grips with the language at any level (from beginner to upper intermediate) then it’s worth putting the English subtitles on so that you can read along and listen at the same time.

You can also listen to English radio stations and find plenty of listening sources on the internet. Another idea would be to put English subtitles on films or television programs from your own country so that you can read along with them in English and make the translations as you go.

2. Read English books/newspapers

Reading is a great way of practising your English in your own time. You can take one word at a time at your own pace, without your teacher peering over your shoulder. If you’re studying at a beginner to intermediate level, pick up a children’s book where the language will be easier than an adult book.

Newspapers are also worth reading. Not only can you improve your English but you’ll learn about local and national goings-on, which can be handy when communicating with native speakers. Free newspapers and magazines, as well as tabloid-style newspapers which use more basic language, are perhaps better for low-level speakers.

3. Label things in your house

This is a quick and cheap way of improving your knowledge of the vocabulary of everyday items in your home. All you need to do is buy a pack of labels and then write the name of items in your home on them, such as phone, window, mirror etc. Every time you use these objects you’ll read the word and embed it into your memory. This is great for low-level learners.

4. Figure out your best time to learn

Are you a morning or afternoon person? If you can work out when your brain is at its sharpest then you should cram in your language learning at this time. Some people work best first thing in the morning and switch off after lunchtime, while for others it takes a while to get going every day.

Think about when you function best and