Obviously the best way to improve your English is by hanging out with native speakers and talking to them. However, if you don’t have that option (then you should join our English Club), one of the next best things you can do is read blogs. I tell students this all the time, because there are just so many benefits.
Why does this improve your English so much?
Because blogs are like one sided conversations. The tone, the language, the phrasing…it’s all going to be written in the way someone would speak during a conversation. And that’s what you want right? You want to improve your conversation skills. So a blog is like getting a front row seat to a conversation with a native speaker. No you can’t talk back, and you don’t get to hear them say the words, but it does give you an opportunity to take a close look at conversational English.
When you’re reading blogs think of it as half English school and half for fun.
Read About a Topic You Find Interesting
The awesome thing about blogs is that there are so many of them. You don’t have to just read about improving your English, you can read about a topic that you find interesting. A topic that you want to learn more about. A topic that you’d read about anyway. This way you’ll be interested and intellectually engaged. You can read about travel, or food, or science, or being a mom. You can literally find a blog about any topic you want. Here are some of my favorites.
Don’t just assume this is a kids science blog. It is. But trust me it’s about serious science. It’s run by the people who host the biggest science fair in the world, and I promise you, you will learn a lot. It has all different kinds of science topics. It’s written exceptionally well, and you will without a doubt learn some new vocabulary.
Do you like technology? Do you care about what features the latest phones will have. I don’t, but if you are a tech geek, you will love this blog. I’m not even that in to tech and I find this blog interesting. It even discusses culture and entertainment. Anyone who is interested in learning about tech, or what’s going on in the tech world will have a field day reading through this site.
This is my favorite self help blog. It’s all about being a better version of yourself. It gives you advice on how to be better organized, more focused, a more productive worker, a better parent. If you’re anything like me and the people I hang out with you spread yourself a little thin, and need help finding balance. Or maybe you need help keeping a positive attitude (same). This blog can help you with all that.
I love a good travel blog, and these are two of my favs. The first one is all about saving money while you travel, but I like it so much because it has some very interesting perspectives on how you can travel. It interviews some pretty interesting people, and isn’t a standard blog that tells you to see the Eiffel Tower when you visit Paris (duh).
Ytravel is all about family travel. It follows a family that travels around the world, and it’s pretty cool. The couple that runs it seems to really enjoy engrossing themselves in a location. They have mastered both traveling like a local and traveling with kids.
This might be my favorite blog. It’s pretty intellectual though, so you have to be in the mood for that. I always learn something, and every article is interesting. It’s like food, meets travel, meets politics. I love it. It makes me think, and it’s surprising. Everything is so intelligently written, and well researched. It’s incredible.
Pay Attention to Idioms, Sayings, and Phrases
There’s a reason why I said that you should read blogs and not books. The reason for that is because blogs are written in such a conversational way, and they use words that people would use in a conversation. Books are different genres and sometime are set in a different time, or location, so it may not be the same language that people are using right now.
You will most likely come across at least one new phrase or vocabulary word in every article that you read. Not only do you get to see the words, but you’ll also get to see how they are used. That will give you a much better understanding of what they mean than looking them up in the dictionary. Whenever you come across one of these words or phrases that you don’t understand, you should use the context clues (how the word is used in the sentence) to understand their meaning, and then try to form your own sentence.
Notice How Sentences Are Put Together
The first time you read the article, read it for entertainment and to learn a few new words and phrases. After than I want you to pick five random sentences. Just take a look at them and see how they are structured. How do they start? With a verb, subject, a time phrase? Does it use a transition word, like however, or although? Try to create your own sentence that is structured in the same way. If you keep doing this you’ll start to naturally correct your grammar mistakes, learn how to make your sentences not sound so repetitive, and ultimately learn how to speak like a native.
So there you have it. Start reading blogs. You’ll learn more than just English.