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08 / 06 / 2007

ENGLISH HABIT 2: meaning and examples

Good morning. Today we look at another English habit.

HABIT 2Listening to English every day to improve oral comprehension.

Materials: Original version films (in the Cinema, on TV or on DVD), Podcasts, recordings from your current or old English textbooks, radio through Internet, the Daily Vitamin Plus! sound file, graded readers with audio cassettes or CDs, music in English, etc.

Description: The most difficult skill to develop in a second language is oral comprehension, especially if you live and work in Spanish (or another language that is not English). Not understanding makes us nervous and is very frustrating. If you improve your ability to understand spoken English, you will see that the rest of your English abilities (speaking, pronunciation, etc.) will quickly improve.  

Instructions: Many people try incorporating listening activities into their daily routine late at night (with films, music, etc.). Listening requires a lot of mental energy (unlike reading aloud), so it works best if you do listening activities in the morning or at midday. You can do listening activities at home, right after you get up, or you might want to arrive five or ten minutes early to work in the morning and do the activity before you begin working. Try to vary the activities, and alternate between listening passively to longer texts and listening carefully to understand 100% of shorter recordings. It's also a good idea to repeat listenings, so you can notice improvement. You might watch five minutes of a film, for example, and understand very little, but you will find that you understand a lot more the second, third and fourth time that you watch it.

By assigning yourself a short activity in the morning (listening) and another short activity in the evening (reading aloud), you will guarantee continuous contact with English, even on the days when you "don't have time for English." You will not notice an improvement after a week or two, but after a month or two you will, and you will feel even more motivated to continue when you notice this improvement.

If you have an English habit that you like to use, please tell us about it in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website.

Have a great weekend!