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Student Learning Success Guides!

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING means improving the core skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary.


Ask a librarian to help you find books and other resources that will develop specific core skills. 

Create a study plan in a separate notebook that documents what you're learning in each area, which resources you have found useful, and what areas of study you plan to work on next. 

Keep a study journal that can show you where you are strong and where to spend more time and effort.

Share what you're learning in each area with a partner, friend or classmate. The act of teaching will help you to understand a term, a concept or problem more deeply.

It's important to learn and then practice new vocabulary in a variety of written and spoken activities in order to make these terms a part of your everyday vocabulary. Keep a flash card in your pocket so you can check your knowledge throughout the day.


How can a study plan help you to improve in each core area of English?

What new strategies or approaches would you like to try?

How can teaching new language ideas to a friend or classmate help you with your English skills?

Which language learning resources would you recommend to another English language learner?

What do good readers do?

When they're reading, good readers will:

  •   Make predictions about thoughts, events, and outcomes.
  •   Create mental pictures as they read.
  •   Make comparisons to what they already know.
  •   Check their understanding and comprehension.
  •   Take time to learn the parts they don't know.
  •   Use a variety of reading materials such as magazines, newspapers, journals, fiction, non-fiction, and news websites.


How can a writing checklist help my essay?

After you have written the first draft of your paper, ask yourself some important questions:


  • Are my opening sentences clear and relevant to the importance of the topic? 
  • Is my thesis sentence clearly focused? 
  • Do I have a clear plan of development?


  • Do I develop the arguments in the body paragraphs in the order I mentioned in the Introduction? 
  • Does each paragraph have a strong topic sentence?
  • Do I move smoothly from one idea to the next? 
  • Have I used correct citation for each, well-integrated quotation?


  • Have I restated my thesis statement? 
  • Have I summarized each of my supporting arguments? 
  • Have I explained the importance of my argument?
  • Have I reviewed my writing for grammar and punctuation mistakes?

How can I improve my listening skills?

When you are watching a TV show or listening to an audio clip, try these activities:

  • Practice guessing at what comes next in the situation.
  • Listen for key words that can be grouped together, and guess what they might be saying.
  • Pay attention to "sign post" words or phrases such as "in other words" when a speaker wants to say something in another way.
  • Listen for words that give specific details  such as size, shape, colour, or amount.
  • As you listen, make guesses about who the speakers are, where they might be, or what the situation could be.

How can I improve my speaking skills?

Improve your professional and academic speaking skills every day with a variety of activities: 

  • Get lots of feedback from friends and classmates to help you speak more fluently and confidently.
  • Take every opportunity to speak English in the classroom with fellow students and instructors, and use English as much as possible at home and in your community.
  • Repeat information back to the speaker to make sure you've understood what they've said.
  • Make sure to speak up during discussions, group meetings or lessons.
  • Write down useful classroom vocabulary and phrases, and don't be shy about asking people to repeat or explain a useful phrase.
  • Practice speaking English with friends and classmates who speak your first language.


How can I improve my grammar?

Increasing your skill with English grammar takes time and effort: 

  • Set aside some time each week to learn about the concepts of grammar and to complete some practice exercises. 
  • Explore topics such as punctuation, sentence structure, verb tenses, pronouns, and prepositions will help you to become a more confident writer and a more successful student.
  • Use online grammar practice exercises that can help you to master the challenges of English grammar in an engaging and enjoyable way.
  • Check out some useful grammar books from the library.
  • Practice patience with yourself and others in this process. Quality skills take quality time.