Sunday, 16 January 2011

Tips to improve your English

An old school friend (and one of the cleverest people I know - he is a senior medical doctor) popped by recently. Whilst chatting, I asked him if he had any advice on how to help Number One Son improve his English skills, as I could see (and as I constantly remind NumberOneSon) that a good command of the English language is key to doing well in many subjects and to being successfull in getting a good job.

I was surprised to learn that my friend had struggled with English at school. He was kind enough to share a number of techniques that he had used to improve his English skills and I thought his advice might be useful to others as well.

Firstly, he said NumberOneSon needed to read lots of books. This was really important. Preferably a wide selection of books (fiction, popular science, historical etc).

Then he said that NumberOneSon should note down any interesting phrases that he reads and think about why the author has used those particular words instead of any others.

Eventually, NumberOneSon should have a 'toolbox' of useful words and phrases that he can use to express himself - and should have become familiar with a number of different literary styles.

This all made a lot of sense to me, and so NumberOneSon has been noting down the words he does not understand and the interesting phrases in the book he is currently reading ('Notes from a Small Island' by Bill Bryson) and we shall see if this approach works for him. . .  

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