Looking for an English learning resource that will literally never be out of date? Try the news!
If you're tired of hitting the books and just want to find new, casual ways to improve your English, then you shouldn't look further than your phone (or your local newsstand, in case anyone still reads the newspapers).
Reading the news can actually be a highly effective English learning method for learners of all levels.
If you think about it, it not only improves your reading skills but also helps you master new words, improve overall comprehension, and offers an abundance of both online and offline resources.
So, let's take a look at exactly how you can leverage the news to learn English better.
Add New Vocabulary to Your Wordstock
Every time you're reading, listening to, and just digesting new information is another chance of mastering new vocabulary. With news, you have the unique chance to not only learn new words but stay current. As to how?
News vocabulary is relevant, up-to-date, and often region-specific.
More importantly, by following the news on topics you care about, chances are you can always learn vocabulary that relates your areas of interest. Consequently, you may use that new vocabulary in practice more frequently, which helps you achieve word mastery more quickly.
There are several ways to go about learning new words through the news:
- write new words down and look their meaning up later
- guess the meaning of new words from context to improve comprehension
- start following news on unfamiliar topics to diversify your wordstock
Note: It's up to you to discover which of these methods will be the most effective for you. Hence, I suggest you try them all out, one by one.
Double-Down On Reading & Listening Practice
The news of today exists in many forms - TV, online, and even podcasts. This is precisely why the news has become so accessible and easy to digest in all parts of the world, which begs the question:
If you're going to be reading or listening anyway, why not learn as well?
By "learn", I really mean "practice on a daily basis", almost subconsciously. This is something that is actually fairly easy to do. You only need to add one more activity on top of all the reading or listening you might be doing at a given moment.
No, seriously. If you just focus on all the opportunities to improve your English in a single news segment, you could find the following:
- new vocabulary (as is explained in the previous part),
- UK- or US-specific accent and vocabulary,
- improving your reading speed,
- picking up on new writing techniques, and
- improving your overall language comprehension.
Keep these things in mind while reading a news magazine, watching your favorite TV show or listening to your morning podcast and your daily English practice will suddenly be rooted in news cycles.
Use Cool Apps & Resources On a Daily Basis
There are plenty of English learning resources when it comes to the news, especially online. My favorite, mostly due to convenience and ease of use, are mobile apps.
The reason why news apps are good for English learners is that you can:
- easily filter out the topics you like (in most apps),
- receive only the news you might be interested in, and
- read about the things that are useful to you.
Furthermore, some cooler apps such as Deepstash allow you to read only the main points of certain news and articles, without all the fluff in-between. This means you can read more in less every single time!
My second favorite resource, maybe even more effective than apps, are online sites and news libraries such as Breaking News English, as they have a true plethora of news resources that are suitable for learners of all proficiency levels.
Oh, and let's not forget about the OG in the room...
If reading the good old-fashioned paper-y newspapers is your thing, I think almost all of today's points will still apply, so feel free to continue doing so - only from now on, you'll be aware of all its English learning advantages!
Choose the News That Suits Your Proficiency
In the example above, I mentioned Breaking News English as a resource that contains plenty of news articles that are used to practice English by learners of all levels.
Try to choose news resources that match your current or desired level.
There are several reasons why this step is important for your fluency:
- News targeting a lower level than yours will most likely be boring to you.
- News at your current level will be the most useful for your growth.
- News at a higher level than yours can help you speed up your progress.
This way, you get to be in charge of your fluency! Plus, you also get to read and learn, which can never be bad for you.
Here's to a New(s) Age of Language Learning!
So, in case you were ever doubting the power of the news in your life as a language learner, today's article will hopefully change your mind.
And just in case you feel a tad bit inspired at the moment, here's some advice on what to do next:
- think of all the news you're interested in reading more about on a daily basis
- download cool apps such as Deepstash, Pocket or Flipboard on your phone
- focus on improving your language skills as you're reading the news
- achieve global domination (just kidding... or am I?)
Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading all this. Until next time, happy learning, everyone!