Basic English Pronunciation: Vowels

Check out my latest YouTube video, Lesson 1 in my upcoming 5-unit course, Basic English Pronunciation.


Get more pronunciation help!

My full 5-unit course Basic English Pronunciation launches Sept. 10, 2018 and you can sign up now.

Each lesson includes a text version, audio, as well as a video. Materials are downloadable so that you can access them at any time.

Optional features of the course include a private feedback session on your pronunciation, and /or one-one-one conversation sessions with Teacher Amanda. Check it out!

Click here for more information and full Lesson 1 (free) access.

Improving Your English Reading Skills

 

How to Improve Your Reading Skills

A mini-lesson from Teacher Amanda

One way to improve your reading skills is simply to read as much as you can. But there are other strategies that can also help you. One of these is called PPPA. Let’s take a look.

Step 1: Preview

Specifically, look at these things:

  • What is the title of the text, article, or book?
  • Who is the author?
  • When was it published?
  • Are there subtitles or headers?
  • Are there images or visuals?
  • How long is the text?

After step one, you will know the basic information about what you are going to be reading and it will help you understand what it is.

Step 2: Pre-Read

  • Read the first and last paragraphs.
  • Read the first line or two in every paragraph.

This step will help you better understand what the rest of the reading is going to be about, and will help you complete the next step.

Step 3: Predict

Based on steps 1 and 2, make a prediction (a guess) at the main point or main idea of the reading. Don’t just predict what the topic will be, but try to guess what the author will say about the topic.

If you have no prediction about the main idea, repeat steps 1 & 2.

As you go through and read the text from beginning to end, you are ready for the final step.

Step 4: Annotate

To annotate something means writing notes in the margins (the space on the left and right sides of the paper) while you read. It also means:

  • Underlining or highlighting important words, as well as words and ideas you see repeated.
  • Writing down questions you have about words, ideas, or examples the writer uses.
  • Looking at the examples the writer uses and asking: Why does the writer include this example? What does it show or prove?

If you are reading a text online, take notes on a separate sheet of paper, or copy-and-paste the text into a Word document and use highlighting and comment functions to annotate.

Want more help?

If you’re at an intermediate to advanced level of English, and want to improve your reading and writing skills, check out my online course “University Companion: College-Level Reading & Writing for Non-Native English Learners.” You can find it on my Teachable website.

 

Prepositions of Place: A 5-minute guide to AT, IN, and ON


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The Complete Guide to Improving Your English Listening Skills

Complete Guide to Improving Your English Listening SkillsNow that this five-part guide to improving English listening is complete, I thought it would be useful to gather all of the steps into a single post.

The guide is meant to be followed in order, because each step builds on the step before it.

It’s important to note that you might spend a considerable amount of time in each step before you are comfortable moving on.


Want to speed up your listening comprehension? Sign up for online conversation classes with Teacher Amanda! Email me now!

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Part One: The Subtitle Strategy

Copy of How to Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

 

Part Two: The Notebook Necessity

Part 2 Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

 

Part Three: A Rad Resource

Part 3 Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

 

Part Four: Talk-Back Time

Part 4 Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

 

Part Five: Conversation Corner

Part 5 Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

 


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Part 5: 5-Part Guide to Improving Your English Listening Skills

We made it to the final post in my five-part guide to improving your English listening comprehension! This guide is meant to be followed in order, so be sure you read up on the subtitle strategy, keeping a notebook to expand your vocabulary, that you’ve checked out an awesome listening website, and have spent time speaking and listening with language apps.

Now, on to the final step!

Part Five: Conversation Corner

Part 5 Improve Your Listening Comprehension Skills

With Part Four of this guide, you’ve started a crucial part of improving your listening skills, which is to not just listen to things in English, but to actually respond.

Responding to a phone application is what is called “low stakes,” which means that if you make an error, nothing bad happens to you: no one makes fun of you for saying the wrong thing, or you don’t accidentally order liver when you meant to order lentils, or you don’t laugh when you should be comforting someone.

In order to really improve, you need to put yourself into more “high stakes” situations. Sure, you could throw yourself into any situation with an English speaker and hope for the best.

But trying a conversation group is a great “middle ground,” right in between low stakes and high stakes.

Try MeetUp.com for, well, meeting up with people interested in the same thing as you. Search for “English conversation” or “English language” and your city and see what comes up!

On My Language Exchange, you can pair up with native English speakers who are learning your language. (Actually, you can pair up with native speakers of just about any language.) This is also roughly the set up for italki, where you can find a language partner.

The point here is get more comfortable speaking – and listening to – English in “real time” and not on TV, video, or an app. This is a big step up in listening practice, but it’s also the most important.

What language conversation or language exchange websites or programs have you tried? Which are your favorites?

Missed an earlier part of the series? Check out the rest below.

Go back to Part One here.

Go back to Part Two here.

Go back to Part Three here.

Go back to Part Four here.


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