I hope you found the previous tips on Speaking and Listening useful and have put them to good use.
This is part two where I’ll concentrate on Reading and Writing.
Reading: As with listening, it’s a good idea to find the answers to: ‘who, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘how’ and ‘why’. Take notes.
Skim the text to get the main idea before you read it slower the second time for specific information.
Look for signal words that may show contrasting ideas or explanations and pay attention to pronouns as they often refer to the subject of the text.
When reading the newspaper or magazine articles look at the headlines and photos to try and guess what the article will be about. Use any prior knowledge you may already know about the topic, it will certainly make things easier for you.
Don’t worry about the words you don’t understand, try to guess so that you don’t stop reading every so often. Break the word down and see if it is derived from another. Look at its function; is it a verb, a noun, an adverb or an adjective? Finally, look up the words you don’t know when you have finished reading and see if you were correct. It’s a great way to learn vocabulary and it will build your confidence.
Most importantly find something that interests you to read, it’s the best way to keep reading. It doesn’t have to be educational; it could be based on a hobby or general interest.
Writing: Make sure you use what you have learned in class. Write letters and post cards to your friends and family (even if you don’t send them). Keep a learning journal or even a travel journey in English. Write ‘to do’ lists, text and email your friends in English. Keep in touch with the friends you make at GV by sending emails and leaving comments on our blog. Fill in questionnaires and forms, there are so many different ways to improve your writing.
That’s about it, unless you would like to add some of your own tips, please feel free to post a comment. As I said, it’s a good way to practise your writing.
Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you make a mistake, so keep trying and use English as much as possible!
Patty Thomas. Academic Manager GV Sunshine Coast .