Summer is approaching, and what that means for many of you is a month or two without class. It’s definitely nice to have a break, but don’t forget to include study time in your summer plans. It’s important that you keep practicing and improving your language skills over the break. Remember, you’re your own best language teacher. Practice can be fun and exciting and fit right in with your summer plans. Check out some of these ways to keep your studies going.
1. Read an Interesting Book
Reading can be a fun activity that keeps you improving your language skills during the break from school. You learn so much from reading — vocabulary, expressions, grammar, and more. Pick a book that you are excited to read and that has a very interesting story. If you don’t want to spend money on a book, check one out from the library or borrow one from a friend. Get lost in another world while at the same time practicing English without even trying.
2. Listen to audiobooks
Do you want to greatly increase your comprehension, spoken fluency, and pronunciation? Listen to an audiobook. You’ll hear hours of English and learn so much. It’s also fun! Pick an interesting book that you won’t be able to stop listening to. You can listen to audiobooks on your smartphone, so listen as much as you can — when you’re walking, cleaning the house, driving, and if possible, even at work.
You can pay for an audible.com subscription for around $15 dollars a month and get 1 free audiobook a month and also have access to lots of channels and podcasts. The benefit of audible is that the books are current. You can also get tons of completely free audiobooks with the librivox app. This is a great option if you want to save money. Librivox has tons of classic books that you can listen to. Visit librivox.org for more information.
3. Listen to a podcast
Listening to a podcast can be a great way to improve your ability to understand academic lectures and talks. There are tons of great podcasts to listen to for free. Just pick a topic you’re interested in, and look for a podcast. NPR.org and ThisAmericanLife.org are a couple of popular ones.
4. Binge Watch a Series on Netflix
Who said that learning a language is all grammar books and notes? It can be fun and even relaxing. Binge watching (which means watching episode after episode of a TV show) can be a great summer activity to keep your English skills sharp. Choose a TV show that you know you’ll find fascinating and exciting. Do you like suspense? Romance? Drama? Sci fi? Fantasy? Take your pick.
Watch the show with no subtitles. This will help you improve your listening comprehension. You can watch the show with English subtitles if you want to improve your reading and word recognition skills. However, whatever you do, don’t watch it with subtitles in your native language. This won’t help you because your brain will be thinking in your native language and forget about English.
Netflix is a great option for binge watching, but you certainly can find shows on many other websites. YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and Google Play are other options. You can also watch shows for free on the network sites, but you will have to wait each week for the show to air.
5. Find People to Talk To
If you don’t speak English at home or with your friends, you may need to try and look for other ways to practice. Go to events and places where people only speak English. Make friends who only speak English. Spend time with these people. You will have to speak English with them, and you will learn so much! Visit meetup.com to find activities and groups you can join in your community. You’ll be doing something you enjoy and also practicing English at the same time. Remember, practice is key.
6. Keep a Journal
Improve your writing skills by keeping a daily journal. Writing in English every day will really help you. Even if you only have 10 minutes a day to dedicate to this, it’s still going to help you. Write about your day, your plans, your feelings, etc. Just write! Get feedback on your writing by creating a free Italki account (www.italki.com). Post some of your journal entries to the notebook, and other members on Italki will give you corrections to help you improve your writing. Once logged in, you can find the notebook and other great resources under the “community” tab on Italki.
7. Keep a Vocabulary Journal
No matter what you do to practice, it’s a great idea to keep a journal or notebook of the new words and expressions you learn. Write them down, look up definitions of the words, and practice writing a sentence using each word. Then, try and use the words when you talk to people.
8. Practice English on the Web
There are many websites that can help you practice English. Visit TESOL Planner’s learner resources to find a list of great websites.
9. Believe in Yourself!
Tell yourself every day “I can do it!” Be confident. Language learning takes time and dedication, but it’s not impossible. The more you practice, the quicker you will learn. It’s possible to start speaking confidently and fluently in even less than a year if you do everything you can to practice. You can do it!