"Give them the gift of words"


How to Make Learning English Easier

Categories: ESL Vocabulary, Vocabulary for Success, Vocabulary Improvement Tips, Vocabulary Resources |

There are many reasons to learn to speak English, and to build up a good vocabulary for use in both your professional and your everyday life. If you were born in an English-speaking country, then your vocabulary started growing from an early age, and you probably learned how to spell English words as you added them to your vocabulary. There are challenges that even native English speakers face when it comes to both spelling and vocabulary, and those challenges can be even more difficult for people who are learning English as a second language, especially as adults. Here are some ideas for how you can make it easier to study English, whether you’re the student or you’re helping someone else:

Take advantage of the resources around you. A supportive learning community is critically important for learners, whether they’re adults or children. However, many adults feel uncomfortable in what they see as “beginner” classes, and might be embarrassed to make mistakes in front of other people. It’s important to remember that ESL classes provide good study materials, a chance to practice the language with other people, and a teacher who can help with any questions. Look for community college courses, or free classes which are often organized by libraries, churches, or social services organizations. If your child isn’t getting enough English practice in their school, these classes are a good way to help them keep up with the other students.

Use games to make learning fun. Spelling games are great ways to keep kids interested and occupied, and the challenge and interactivity will keep them involved in the learning process. They’ll be having so much fun, they’ll forget they’re actually learning something! Learning vocabulary is fun and easy if you have a “word of the day” app that you can download onto your smartphone, or set up to run on your computer at work. You can also practice both spelling and vocabulary skills by doing crossword puzzles – one of the daily crosswords published on line and in many local newspapers is usually short enough to complete during a lunch break or on your commute.

Stay focused on your goals. It’s hard to make enough time in an already-busy day to improve your literacy skills, but you’ll get your motivation back when you think about all the ways that a good vocabulary will help you get ahead at work. It’s sometimes harder to keep children motivated towards an intangible (to them) goal of success in school, so use rewards that they can appreciate right away for their time spent working on their spelling lists or English homework. Every goal, whether short-term or long-term, should be celebrated when it’s met. Even adults need a reward, so when you’ve finished your class or made it through your vocabulary list, give yourself a treat or a break, and get your energy back for the next step in your self-improvement program.

Cross-posted at the Ultimate Spelling blog.