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Anyone learning a new language knows how hard it can be to fit into our busy lives. Along with finding time for classes and homework, we need to keep reviewing the words we learn so we don’t forget them. And if that wasn’t enough, after all that hard work we find ourselves knowing many, many words that we don’t know how to put into a sentence. To Learn English and linguistics is hard! We all know that a “little and often” approach will improve our chances of becoming fluent in the language we’re learning. But how do we actually do that? Below are seven activities that take no more than ten minutes, which will help you become a fluent English speaker. There are many similar activities so commit to doing the ones you enjoy. 

Morning pages

This activity is really good for creative people and people who like to journal. The idea of morning pages is that you just write. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be grammatically correct. It doesn’t have to mean anything. Write the alphabet, “blue triangle cat” or “I hate English and don’t remember why I’m doing this” if you can’t think of anything else. Just write. Morning pages are excellent for language learners because we often know more than we think we do. Sometimes our efforts to speak and write correctly can cause us to overthink and doubt ourselves. Writing without any pressure can help us to avoid this trap. Just set a timer for ten minutes and write whatever comes to you. Reading through these morning pages later on will help you work out what you’re good at and what you need to work on. 

Read or listen to a poem

This is a short activity that you can do while you’re eating breakfast, while you’re on the train or while you’re waiting for your computer to start up. Reading a favourite poem is a great way to learn English because poetry is excellent for improving fluency. If you don’t know many English poems, there are lots of poetry anthologies and “a poem a day” books out there, often based around different themes, like winter. Several of them are written for children so this is a great activity to do with kids. You could even take five or ten minutes to read a poem together while you’re all eating breakfast, or after dinner. 

You can find some poems to listen to here:
https://www.poetryoutloud.org/competing/listen-to-poems/
https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/poetryaudio/
https://www.openculture.com/audio_books_poetry

Vocabulary/grammar drills


There are many ways of doing this one. You can use flashcards, worksheets, or apps to review the vocabulary or grammar you’ve already it learned. It is best to keep these activities short, so they don’t become difficult or tiring. Reviewing a few words while you’re waiting for a train or for five minutes during your lunch break can be a productive way of using that time. 

Listen to a song

Music makes many of us feel good, so this is a fun, effective way of practising a language. A good thing about listening to English music is that we learn English through repetition, and we listen to our favourite songs hundreds of times. Just by enjoying the song, we will start to recognise individual words and get some idea of what the unfamiliar ones might mean. Even if we can’t work out what the unfamiliar words mean, we’ll have heard it in context by the time we get to it in our classes or see it in a book. 

Tweet in English

Talking to English speakers is important because they will model the correct use of English words. One way of doing that is to find pen pals from English speaking countries and write each other letters or emails. Over time, you’ll get to know each other better and become more comfortable talking to each other. A quicker way is to create a Twitter account and tweet in English once a day. You can either just Tweet to practice your English or you can find English speakers you’d like to talk to. You can also write in your bio that you would like people to correct your English if you feel confident enough for some constructive criticism. 

Lesson on a language app

If you have ten minutes with nothing to do, you can learn a lesson on a language app. Language apps can be very different, so it is worth finding one that they you enjoy using, but the good thing about them is that their lessons are usually very short. One lesson a day can help you review the words you’ve been learning and keep them fresh in your mind. 

YouTube clips

After a long, busy a day, the last thing you want to do is study. Although watching television in English is a great way to practice, it can be tiring to try to keep up with a foreign language and work out what unfamiliar words mean. Watching a YouTube clip can take less than five minutes, so it won’t tire you out after a long day. The good thing about watching short clips of English films and television on YouTube is that more of them will be recommended to you. You’re more likely to practice English if something that looks interesting appears on your YouTube suggestions when you have some spare time. You can also find out which films and television series you would like to watch, which will remove the risk of sitting down in front of a two hour long English film feeling like a chore. Choosing three or four of these a day will help you learn English much faster and get the most from your classes, without having to find lots of time to study.
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