The News – Learning Tip to Improve your English from Jon D

How to Improve your English

One of the best ways to improve your language skills is your ability to communicate about topics that are in the news at the moment. There are of course lots of ways to access the news, whether using  the Internet, Social Media, newspapers and magazines, the TV or radio.

It’s often a good idea to fix on one topic that is of interest to you and see how it is being reported in more than one of the different forms mentioned above. This allows you to come across a variety of points of view and lots of useful language. It could be a news item which concerns your country, something international or about the UK.

Though the news is constantly changing there are always plenty of current events that are being discussed over a long period of time. Try to follow a particular news item over a number of days to see how the story develops.

You can make notes, write down vocabulary that you read or hear, look at the different ways it is used.

Try the following way to benefit the most from the news as a learner:

In the morning look at the morning news on the internet or in a newspaper.  Often it is worth just reading the first paragraph rather than the whole article. Most, if not all the main information is in the first paragraph.  See if you can answer the questions: Who? What? Why? Where and When?  Don’t spend hours reading the article, just skim it quickly looking for the answers. It can be good to give yourself a time limit, for example only allow yourself 2 minutes to read. Notice keywords that relate to your chosen article.

Next: Watch the news on the TV or online. Look for the same story, this time you will probably get some moving images to help you understand better.

Then: try and find the story being read on the radio, this is the most difficult, now you have nothing to read, you can’t see faces and you don’t have pictures, so this is really focussing your listening.

Finally go back and read the story again online, and see if you understand it better this time.

At the same time as you are following the story see how you can share what you have learnt with others. This could be done with your host family, friends, classmates and your teacher. Remember that communicating this with others can be done not just in spoken form but also in written form. Listen to the views of others as this can help to develop your own opinions, and how you express them, while at the same time allowing you to acquire yet more useful language. More tips here from Jon D: