Thursday, October 6, 2011

The power of reading old exercises

On my post about what to do with old ESL textbooks, one of my suggestions was to scan old, favorite exercises, print them out, laminate them, and place them on your coffee table so you can read them as often as you can for practice. Incidentally, you can do the same thing with your notes. This further eliminates clutter, as well as reinforce your understanding and grasp of English.

However, what does practice mean exactly? What are you supposed to do with your laminated exercises and notes on your coffee table? The answer is simple: read them. Actually, read them out loud. Because you've already learned the material before, you don't really need to study it. Simply read it. Read it over and over. Read it when you sit down to watch tv or listen to music. Read it after a phone call. Read it when you have coffee or tea. It doesn't take long, so read it as often as you can until you've almost memorized it. When this happens, you'll have acquired the language in a close to natural way, which means your brain will have absorbed the lesson in a way that's similar to a child learning its native tongue. Once you've memorized a couple of exercises, pass them on to friends who are learning English, then print out a couple more and repeat. 

Read to yourself and let your brain get used to the English sentence, with its verb tenses and prepositions and articles and vocabulary. Keep it regular and consistent, and you're mistakes will gradually and eventually all disappear, and you'll be speaking and writing English much better before long. 

Best of luck in your language learning.
Please post your questions and comments here or at any of the sites mentioned below.
clutter (adj) - mess
reinforce (v) - strengthen; support 
grasp (n) - hold; mastery [to grasp - to hold; to understand
laminated (adj) - covered; placed between layers (of plastic) 
acquire (v) - get; receive
absorb (v) - take in
consistent (adj) - regular and continuing
gradually (adv) - slowly and surely
eventually (adv) - in the end

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