When I was in primary school, I was very bad at English Language. I did not enjoy reading a book as the school and my parents did not guide me how to read. I heard only “Read more to improve your English language.” more than two times but I did not heed. After leaving the primary school, I was trying to read a first book. Its title was “Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone”. I read this without an interruption. How could I read faithfully this book? Ok. I had watched the related movie. Hence, it helped me to get a clear picture from what I read the book. Reading became a form of escaping and stepping into other world. After completing few books, reading became a habit.
During my secondary years, my English Language was still not improved strongly although I read good books and educational magazines. Why? Because I did not practise in writing much and did not fond of English literature. The school gave me literature books to read. I remember many students in my class were not diligent much in literature. I really WASTED five years’ worth for not practising seriously in the writing. The five years was from secondary one to secondary four plus O level year.
When I was in secondary three, I heard about a new blogging programme and explored its features. The programme seemed to be interesting to me and I created a new account and contributed to it. Hence, writing became addicting as I enjoyed to pour out my bottle of thinking into the blog. Also, it developed my liking in using a thick Longman dictionary. My english vocabulary was improved slowly. With the help of blogging habit, my english was nourished.
Another determinant of the improvement of the English Language was a sign language in the latest version. When I listened to my resourceful teachers who used the version of sign language, I got bored sometimes and in the end, my brain could not absorb much.
a subject teacher spoke verbally: ” This ion moves from the metal to the non-metal. ”
a resourceful teacher interpreted in sign language: “Ball (as sign of ion) fly (as sign of move) from metal to non-metal”
A speed of speech of the subject teachers is faster than the speed of the interpretation of the resourceful teachers.I understand that the resourceful teachers are very industrious in conveying what they heard into signalling. Mostly, they spoke in sign language broken English.
A full sentence: “I would like to contribute my knowledge to this community.”
I spoke in sign language: ” I like contribute my knowledge there (the community).”
I hear commonly most of the hearing impaired students have many grammar errors in their writing unless they are diligent or independent.
Example of another technique of sign language.
Let’s imagine that you are a flag signalman for an airfighter. You signal a code to the airfighter polit. Two flags are held straight above you. It tells “Please move quickly from left as the park was taken over.”
One sign = one sentence
Like converting from a novel (500pages) to a movie (1.8 hours). If the interpreters signalled every word in one short sentence for 30 sec, my brain would be not willing to absorb. If they just signalled one body language as one sentence for 10 sec, I would enjoy learning. Thus, I like the latter but it is not used generally now. In the fact, many young are less fluent in English than the previous generation.
Let’s back to the improvement of my English language. The resourceful teachers and the English tutors gave me remedial lessons of English language but I was not serious. They always told me to read more books and newspaper. But they did not know what technique I could apply unconsciously to improve the English language.
If I pick a thick novel book, I will skim to get pictures quickly. If I pick a newspaper, I will scan them to get best information. Skimming is different from reading. Skimming means that you scan quickly main points without getting unnecessary details. Skimming is useful sometimes for your comprehension within short time. To avoid making many English errors, then you read carefully.
Someone recommended me to read short stories from literature books because I have more times to read carefully them rather than the fat novel book. This tip is really more resourceful.
Another tip is to make many words into fewer fixations. I learned this good technique from The Mindgym book (I am a fan.).
Read: “I need to get a letter from the letter box. Can you give me the letter key?”
Read again ” I need to get a letter from the letter box. Can you give me the letter key?”
So, which first or second is to read and understand faster?
Another friend shared with me that socializing with people is to improve English. He prefer socializing to reading. He comes from a highly educated family. If you are associating the people who are very fluent in English, you will be one of them. Some of you all come from a non-speaking English family and they may be not fluent in it.
Another technique is to write constantly. If you write often, you will familiar more in English. Someone who does not like to read a book but is good at writing. I think he likes technical writing. His vocabulary is quite strong but his grammar is simple. In some major courses from the university, they expect you to write in technical, mathematical, business, law and scientific terms.
Subvocalization means that you are reciting until you familiar more in English. It may be not effective to me. You may try it.
In the bottom line, you have to know your own technique that can be more effective for you. Try to apply these techniques to see its effectiveness on your learning process.