Rule 6 for Excellent English: Use Real English Materials


Hi, this is Kristin Dodds, and I'm going to talk to you today about Rule # 6. Now Rule # 6 is a simple rule and it's a fun rule. Rule # 6 will help you to learn idioms and slang. Rule # 6 will help you to speak excellent English. So what is Rule # 6?

Rule # 6 is use real English materials. Don't use textbooks. Don't use textbook CDs. In fact, burn your textbooks and burn your textbook CDs. Use real English materials. Now, how can you learn English using real English materials? By getting real materials that native English speakers would use. I'm going to discuss two examples of real English materials.

The first example are reading materials. Reading is a good choice if you like to read. Reading is great for learning English. Don't read textbooks. Find materials that are easy enough to understand when you're reading. And find materials that are fun and that interest you. So you might have to start out with children's books. Or, if children's books are too easy, you could try comic books. And if comic books are too easy, or maybe they don't interest you, you could try teenager books. And by teenager, I mean, in America teenager is a young adult from the age of 13 to 19. And eventually you will advance to the level of being able to read magazines, or newspapers, or novels, or articles on the internet

The second example of real English materials are listening materials. Now listening is a great choice because listening should be 80% of English learning. Don't listen to textbook CDs though. Don't listen to people acting out a dialog as if they're talking in a real conversation. Find materials that are easy enough to listen to. And by this, I mean that you should be able to understand at least 95% of what you're listening to, without pausing, and without looking in a dictionary.

So also find materials that are fun and find materials that interest you. So you may need to start with children's TV programs, or maybe children's movies, or children's audio books. Now I mentioned audio books in Rule #3 but I didn't explain what they are. Audio books are simply a book that someone is reading and while they're reading it, they're recording it, so that you can then listen. Now if children's TV programs or children's movies or children's audio books are too easy, then try teenager TV programs, or teenage movies, or teenage audio books. And then eventually, if you're not already there, you'll advance to the level of being able to listen to podcasts, or the news, or TV programs, adult TV programs, or adult movies, or adult audio books.

Now why not learn English by reading an English textbook or by listening to a textbook CD? Because these materials are not real, they're not normal English. Textbooks teach formal English or written English. The vocabulary and the style are for writing. Textbook CDs have people who are acting out conversations. They're not speaking naturally.

So for Rule # 6, remember, use real English materials. Find real English reading materials that are fun, interesting, and easy enough to understand. Find real English listening materials that are also fun, and easy, easy enough to understand and are also interesting.

Rule # 6 is simple, and it's fun. Use real English materials. No more boring textbooks. No more boring textbook CDs, real English materials.

Okay, that's all for Rule # 6. Tomorrow you'll get Rule # 7. See you later. Bye-bye.