Before you begin (or go back to) studying English, ask yourself one question. Why do I want to study English? Is it because you want to, or because someone else wants you to? Like every decision in life, studying English must be something you want to do.
If you know why you want to study, setting goals is easy. For example, maybe you want to travel to an English-speaking country. Great. Your goal might be to learn "Survival English". Perhaps you already know many useful phrases, but you want to improve your listening skills and pronunciation. Whatever your goals are, write them down.
Make an agenda
How long do you need to study to achieve your goals? This answer is different for every student. The important thing is to be realistic. If you work 60 hours per week, don't plan on spending another 40 hours a week studying English. Start off slow, but study regularly. Use material that is challenging, but not too difficult. Find out what works for you. After you have studied for a few weeks, adjust your study schedule accordingly. Do you study best at night, or on the bus on your way to work? Do you like to study alone in a quiet place, or with friends and background music?
Make a commitment
Learning English requires a lot of motivation. Nobody is going to take your attendance when you aren't in class. If you are sure you are ready to begin studying, make a commitment.
Have fun learning English!
The things we do best in life are the things we enjoy doing. If you aren't having fun learning English, you're not studying the right way! You can be a serious student who has fun at the same time. Make up your own rewards program to give yourself incentives to stay on task.
How to learn READING and vocabulary
Read something every day
Children's books, simplified readers (Penguin), newspapers, magazines, Internet sites, novels, and much much more...
Read what interests you.
Remember that you learn better when you are having fun.
Read at the appropriate level
You want to learn new vocabulary, but you also want to understand what you are reading. If you are looking up every word, the reading is too difficult.
Review Who, What, Where, When, Why for each story you read
You can do this for almost any type of reading. Who is it about? What happened? Why did it happen? Where did it take place? When did it take place? This is very useful when you have no comprehension questions to answer. You can write or speak your answers.
Always have an English-English dictionary nearby
It is a bad habit to always rely on a translation dictionary or electronic dictionary.
Think of your English-English dictionary as your life line.
- Use online dictionaries when you are using the Internet (keyword online dictionary).
- Record vocabulary in a personal dictionary
- Keep this notebook separate from other work
- Record vocabulary in alphabetical order (an English address book works well because it has letters of the alphabet)
- Record the part of speech (sometimes there is more than one)
- Write a sample sentence for yourself (don't use the one from the dictionary)
- Review your personal dictionary (especially new entries) every night before bed