Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Making Time For Reading

I cannot stress enough the importance of reading your novels for 30 minutes a day. I know you're busy with jobs,. children, regular school and family affairs, but why are you here at the college if not to improve your reading, writing and vocabulary. 

Research has clearly shown that reading a lot is one of the best ways to acquire new vocabulary. The more you see a word, the more you start to understand it. The more you understand it, the more it goes into your  passive knowledge,  or even active knowledge and use if you start using it in your writing and speaking. 

Every single one of you has told me that one of your biggest problems is VOCABULARY            I would personally agree given what I have seen of your writing. So, stop making excuses about how you don’t have time to learn new vocabulary  and  bite the bullet. Almost every student studying ESL in this school, or studying courses for a second or third career have exactly the same amount of problems as you do. Somehow, they seem to manage to find place for homework. You need to take a more  positive approach that guarantees that you will be able to do this reading.  
Plan your day so that you have 30 minutes for reading. It doesn't have to be all together. You can split it up into 10 minute segments, waiting in lines, riding on the bus, at lunch time etc. In fact, look at your homework, decide which parts of it you realistically have time for, and which parts  are the most important for YOU then make a daily plan. Account for every half hour of your day. Build in time for your reading and other studying. Again it does not have all be at the same time. Do NOT watch television rather than doing your homework.  Building in Time can be something as drastic as getting up an hour earlier than usual when you are fresh and everything is quiet.

:Poor  Spellers
Since I seem to be writing on the general subject of planning time to do your homework, I want to speak to you poor spellers. You know who you are, and you need to know that it you don't come up with a plan to improve it, you will never get the kind of job you want. Spelling is very important in Canada.  So you also need to stop waiting for the teacher to wave her magic wand, and do something about your problem. Take control and decide that Yyou ARE going to improve. Make a plan of how how you want to do that. The first step is to make a list of every spelling mistake you have made this term, maybe even some from last term.  Study the list very carefully. Do you make many mistakes  with double consonants? Do you make a lot of mistakes with a missing vowel in the middle of the word?  Do you make mistakes with basic “sight words.” When you have your list and some kind of patterns  for them . 

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