How to improve your speaking skills in English

So now we know how to improve our reading and listening skills, it is time to look at how to get better at probably the most important skill of all – speaking!

Problems with speaking can be:

  • Feeling scared, which leads to not talking much, or
  • Not having the opportunity to speak English with others.
  • If you don’t get enough speaking practice, you will find it difficult to improve.

Does any of this sound like you? If so, then read on for my advice!


1. Stop worrying!

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First, you should realise that native speakers make mistakes in English ALL THE TIME and yet we still understand each other!

You can still make grammar mistakes and be understandable to others. But you will never improve if you stay silent.

So just relax, try your best and make mistakes – that is how you will learn!

*Next time you have the chance to speak to somebody in English, try not to think too much about your mistakes. Try to relax and just speak as much as possible!

2. Speak to anyone you can!

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Of course in an ideal world you would have lots of native speakers to talk to, but if you don’t what can you do?

Firstly, if you know somebody else who is learning English, ask them if they would like to have conversation practice with you. They may not be a native speaker, but you can still practise together.

If you have nobody to practise speaking English with where you live, how about having a look online? There are lots of native English speakers learning different languages who would love to have conversation practice. Why not help each other out? You can find these kinds of learners on websites such as speaky or italki.

*Have a look on speaky now and see if you can find someone to talk to!


3. Talk to yourself!

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However, if you really don’t have anyone you can (or want to) speak to, then just talk to yourself! (I’m not joking!) Ask yourself at least one question per day and try to answer it. Try to speak for as long as possible. A question like, “What do you think about…?” is good for this. For example, “What do you think about animals?” “Well, I love animals. My favourite animal is…” etc.

Any words that you don’t know in English, just look up, translate and write down so that you can remember them the next time. Then try to talk about that topic again in a few days’ time and see if you can speak for longer.

*Now you try: think of a topic and ask yourself “What do you think about…?” Try to speak for as long as you can about this topic, just to yourself!

Good luck and enjoy your speaking!

Do you have any other tips on how to improve your speaking skills in English? If so, write a comment below or email me at

Would you also like to work on your English writing skills? If so, then come back next week to read my next blog post on ‘How to improve your writing skills in English’. Until then, have a lovely week!


How to improve your reading skills in English

Last week I wrote about listening and how to improve your listening skills in English. This week I want to turn our attention to reading.

The main problems my students have with reading are:

  • it can be too difficult so they just give up,
  • it can be boring,
  • there are too many unknown words in the text.

Do these sound like the problems you have?

If so, then read on for my advice!

Read in English whenever you can

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  1. Try to read something in English every day.
  2. Change the language setting on your phone to English so that whenever you look at your phone you have to read in English.
  3. When you are reading an article on the internet (news, celebrity gossip, football game reports – whatever you like) try to read it in English first instead of your language. If you see an interesting headline, google it in English and read the English article first. Then read it in your language to see how much you understood.

*Can you change the language settings on your phone? Try it now!


Try graded readers

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Have you heard of graded readers before? They are books written in easier English so that even low-level students can understand them.

Have a look at Pearson graded readers, Oxford graded readers and/or Macmillan graded readers.

You can choose your level (or do a level test first, if you’re not sure) on their website and then choose books written at that level.

Some of them are the physical book and some of them are the digital book so just have a look and see which you prefer!

*Have a look at one of the above websites now and see which book you would like to read!


Combine your listening practice with your reading practice

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Do you find reading a bit boring?

Or do you really not have much time in the day to read?

If that sounds like you, you may like to do your reading and listening practice together!

If you choose to read a graded reader, you can often listen while you read – lots of graded readers come with the audio, so you can read the book and listen at the same time. This makes it a bit more interesting!

If you are listening to a podcast or something with a transcript, just read the transcripts of what you are listening to, and that also counts towards your reading practice. So it is a good way of practising both skills if you don’t have much time!


*Now you try: decide which of the above tips you want to try first and give it a go! Find something to read and try just a little to start with. Then read a little more each day.


Good luck and enjoy your reading!


Do you have any other tips on how to improve your reading skills in English? If so, write a comment below or send me an email on


Would you also like to improve your English speaking skills? If so, come back next week to read my next blog post on ‘How to improve your speaking skills in English’. Have a brilliant week!


How to improve your listening skills in English

A lot of students tell me that listening is the most difficult skill for them. Some of the most common problems are:

  • people speak too fast,
  • their pronunciation is too difficult to understand or
  • they use unknown vocabulary.

Do these sound like the problems you have too? If so, don’t worry! You can easily improve your English listening skills by following this advice…


1. Start a Listening routine

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  1. Try to listen to something in English every day – even 10 minutes a day will help you improve your listening skills.
  2. If you can make listening every day into a routine, that will really help, so try listening to something at the same time each day. When I was living in Japan, I used to listen to a Japanese podcast every time I took the train, which made my commute to work a bit more interesting!

*What time of day would work best for you to do your English listening practice?


2. Listen to the right things

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  1. If you are short on time, English language learning podcasts are excellent and you can listen to them on your phone at any time of day! Try one of the podcasts from BBC Learning English, or the British Council.
  2. TED talks are fantastic for improving your English listening skills. You can search for any topic that you are interested in, and they will probably have a talk about it!
  3. Watch a film or TV series! Try to watch films or TV shows that you have seen before so you don’t have to work too hard, and watch them in English for a bit of fun.
  4. Watch videos on YouTube – again, if you don’t have much time, videos on YouTube can be great. Just choose a video on something that interests you and watch in English.

*Which do you think you would like to try first?


3. Use my simple method

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The best way to improve your listening skills is to use the following method.

Listen to the same thing three times:

  1. Firstly, without subtitles/transcripts. The first time you listen you should be trying to guess what is going on.
  2. Secondly, read the transcript/subtitles as you listen. This is when you should be paying attention to vocabulary and trying to understand in detail what they are saying. When you listen the second time, pause the video/recording whenever you need to and write down any new words or phrases.
  3. Finally, listen again without subtitles/the transcript. This is when you should be just listening and trying to enjoy the content without working too hard!

If you don’t have time to listen to something three times in one day, try listening to the same thing over 3 days.

*Now you try: choose a time of day when you are going to listen, choose what you are going to listen to from the above list and try to listen using my method above.

Good luck and enjoy your listening!

Do you have any other tips on how to improve your listening skills in English?  If so, write a comment below or send me an email at

Would you also like to improve your English reading skills? If so, come back next week to read my next blog post on ‘How to improve your reading skills in English’. Have a great week until then!

2019 – How to talk about the future

Happy New Year! 🙂

I hope that you all enjoyed your New Year’s Eve celebrations!

Now that 2019 has started, have you made any New Year’s resolutions, plans or predictions? Do you know how to say these in English? Well, hopefully this week’s blog post will help you…


‘Will’ for Predictions

Firstly, if you want to make any predictions about the year ahead, you should use ‘will’.

Making a prediction means saying what you think will happen in the future.

For example:

“I think that Manchester United will win the Premier League this year.”

“I doubt I‘ll get a pay rise this year.”

Now you try:

Write down four predictions for 2019 about anything you like – your life, your friends/family members’ lives, your favourite sport, the world in general…



‘Going to’ for Plans or Goals

Secondly, if you want to talk about your plans, goals or intentions for 2019, you should use ‘going to’.

This is the most common way of talking about your New Year’s Resolutions.

For example:

“I’m going to lose weight this year.”

“I’m not going to be late for anything this year.”

Now you try:

Write down your four main resolutions for 2019… what would you like to achieve this year? What would you like to change about yourself?

I hope that you have some interesting predictions and plans for the year ahead… If you would like to share them, feel free to write a comment below or email me at! Maybe I will share some of my predictions and resolutions for 2019 with you too…!

Brexit in 8 Words

If you read or listen to news from the UK to help you learn English, you may have read or heard a lot about Brexit. This week, especially, there is quite a lot about Brexit in the news.

But how much do you know about Brexit? Do you read newspaper articles in confusion and give up?!

If so, don’t worry! I will explain a few of the main words related to Brexit below to help you understand a bit better…


1. Brexit


So what does the word Brexit mean?? It is made up of two words: ‘Br’ from ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’ from ‘exit’.

This word is talking about Britain’s exit from the EU.


2. EU


But hang on, what is the EU? The EU is the European Union.

The EU is a bit like a members club which is made up of 28 countries (‘member states’) at the moment, including the UK.


3. Eurosceptic


So why would Britain want to leave the EU? The reason is the Eurosceptics.

Well, what is a Eurosceptic? This is a person who doesn’t like, or doesn’t want to be in, the EU.  (These people are also sometimes called ‘Brexiteers’.)


4. Remainer


And what is the opposite of a Eurosceptic? A Remainer.

A Remainer is someone who wants to stay in the EU.


5. Referendum


Okay, so there are Eurosceptics and Remainers. They both want different things. So how can the UK decide what to do?

Well, a referendum is a vote for the residents of a country to answer a question on their country’s future.

In 2016 we had a referendum in the UK. The question was: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” 51.9% said “Leave” and 48.1% said “Remain”.

So, the Eurosceptics won!

Now, people are talking about a second referendum (sometimes called a “people’s vote“). This means asking people in the UK to vote again about whether we should leave the EU or not. This might happen, but it also might not…


6. Politician


Since the referendum in 2016, politicians from the UK have been talking a lot to politicians from the EU about the UK leaving the EU.

So who is a politician? You probably know this word! A politician is a person who works in politics.


7. MP


Okay, maybe you know the word ‘politician’ but keep reading about MPs – who are they?

MP stands for Member of Parliament: a politician who has been elected (voted for) in an election.

All the different MPs have very different views on Brexit!


8. Parliament


And what is this word Parliament?

Parliament is the group of politicians who make the laws for the country. Parliament is made up of politicians from different political parties.

At the moment, Parliament is considering the Brexit deal Theresa May (the Prime Minister) agreed with the EU.


So what will happen next? Keep following the news and find out! Will the UK exit the EU after all??

What do you think about Brexit? Would it be a good or a bad thing for the UK to exit the EU? Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, by writing a reply to this blog post below, or send me an email at