Want to be proficient in English like a native speaker? We know the secret weapon — practice, practice, practice.
When kids start learning their native language, first of all, they listen. Then, they begin to speak, read and finally write. To increase the level of English proficiency, you should constantly practice these four basic language skills — listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Check out our resources to learn all of these English skills online.
But how can you do that on a regular basis? The trick is to make English a part of your daily life. You can do so by taking an online English course, or simply add the speaking exercises in this article to your routine.
We’ve gathered some top English speaking exercises to help you study daily, and improve your skills wherever and whenever you want. Let’s dive in!
English speaking exercises
Want to start improving your English speaking skills right away? There are several techniques you can try, including the following.
Join English speaking clubs or voice chats
English conversation practice is the most powerful method to understand the language. Conversation helps you get the speaking practice you need as well as improve your listening skills along the way. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are open to the idea of practicing together — playing games, having a meal, or just chatting. Use Google and groups in social media to find speaking clubs in your city, or groups that focus on your areas of interest (like business English, for example).
Can’t find anyone to speak to regularly? No problem! You can always find someone to speak to on a language exchange app. The development of technologies allows you to have a conversation with a person even hundreds of kilometers away. Just install an app, choose the preferred speaking partner, and start chatting using audio messages.
Use a mirror and focus on fluency
Set aside a few minutes each day to stand in front of the mirror and practice speaking. Choose a topic you like to speak about, set a timer for 3 minutes, and discuss it with your imaginary study buddy. The primary purpose of this speaking exercise is to analyze the way you talk, focus strongly on pronunciation, and learn how to express your ideas in English without stopping or taking pauses when you speak.
This exercise is also an opportunity to spot any consistent errors you make and note them down. If you get stuck on a word you don’t know, make the effort to describe it another way. This is an important skill to learn, as you’re not going to know every word for everything in English. At first, your sentences may not be grammatically perfect, but there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to try not to stop!
Use English pronunciation exercises
One of the first things you should do when learning a new language is study pronunciation, because it’s much easier to get it right at the beginning than try to fix it later on. This is why famous polyglotGabriel Wyner says in his book Fluent Foreverthat pronunciation is the first thing you should learn.
One of the most effective exercises to polish your pronunciation is to record yourself. Perhaps it sounds funny, but it will help you understand your weak points. Listen closely to how you use intonation, rhythm, and stress in your sentences. You can even practice alongside a tool like YouGlish, which lets you hear how an English word is pronounced in many different accents.
Want to learn more tips to practice your pronunciation? Read our detailed guide on learning English pronunciation, with dozens of helpful resources.
Use Preply’s courses and conversation starters
We couldn’t resist but add this tip here!
But that’s because we’ve seen some amazing progress with English learners on Preply. But it’s not just because you can find a 1-on-1 English tutor, who you can have fun lessons with plenty of conversation and speaking exercises.
Preply also has a set of tools, courses, and self-study exercises on the platform. These include our courses for all English levels (see below)so that you can practice speaking about a range of topics. We also have a huge collection of “Conversation starters” that you can use alongside your tutor, on topics all the way from daily life to aliens.
Want to start practicing speaking with your own personal tutor, at a price that suits you? Find your tutor and practice your English skills today.
English listening exercises
Are you going to work? Listen to songs in English. Are you cleaning your room? Listen to a podcast in English. Walking your dog? Listen to the news in English. You might think “I want to practicespeaking,how is listening going to help me?” But you’ll see many reasons why listening exercises in English can help improve your speaking skills too. Here are some helpful exercises to try.
Practice listening during downtime
This exercise is straightforward but still crucial. A great way to learn a language, even while you’re not studying, is to listen passively. In case you are too overloaded with daily tasks and simply have no time for regular practicing, you can try to listen to English music or audiobooks during your spare time.
In your daily life, many activities don’t require deep thinking — walking, running on a machine, heading to work. Don’t waste these precious hours scrolling social media. If you’re really dedicated, your music player should contain the biggest part of songs in English. No matter what style you prefer, pay particular attention to the lyrics and do your best to understand the context of the song (and sing along, if you’re not shy!).
Make the most of podcasts
A lot of students who study languages are big on the podcasts. And there are many reasons why podcasts can help you learn a language. Did you know that there were studies that showed that listening to English helped learners’ pronunciation and speaking skills too?
By listening to this type of content, you practice your skills and learn useful conversation starters about things that interest you the most — arts, sports, politics, communications, etc. There are also specific podcasts created for English learners. By listening attentively, you can also improve your speaking accuracy. Begin paying attention to not only what is said but also how it is said.
Watch movies, TV shows, and news
An entertaining way to hear English from natives is to start watching films or TV shows, such as these great Netflix shows for English learners.
It may be tempting to add subtitles in your native language butdon’t do it. That’s because you’ll be tempted to read the subtitles, and won’t listen to how the English words are being pronounced! Instead, add the subtitles in English. If you’re super stuck, you can always pause the show and look up definitions of the vocabulary.
Watching TV and movies can also help you discover new accents, and try to understand them. Try the accent challenge on Preply’s YouTube show to test your knowledge of English accents:
One of the best ways to learn new words that you can use in your English conversations is by reading! Here are some activities to help improve your speaking through reading.
Make special time for reading
You can enjoy reading for fun wherever and whenever you want. But when it comes to reading for improving your language skills, you should concentrate and study. That is why you need to plan your reading routine.
Try to spend 15 minutes every day reading English texts. Find a comfortable spot where you can focus on a book, an article, etc., without the risk of being interrupted. To make your reading as effective as possible, prepare for it in advance. For example, take a pen, dictionary, and vocabulary to write new words and expressions. Set your phone or other gadgets onto silent mode. If you do all these actions every time before reading, your brain will know when you are about to practice so that you will be more focused.
Read English books, magazines, and articles
Whatever level you are in English, you can find a book to suit you! If you’re looking for a good book, we’ve gathered together some classic stories for English learners. As an alternative, you can take the book that you’ve already read in your mother tongue – then you already know the story, and can focus on the language.
Remember the golden rule — only read books that you enjoy. Also, opt for books that meet your English level. If you want to challenge yourself, choose a book a level higher than you have or are comfortable with.
There is a range of online resources that you can use to find recommendations for books. Here are some of them:
- Jellybooks lets you discover new books. Besides, they provide all readers with samples. Therefore, you can read almost 10% of the book and decide whether it is worthy of your attention or not.
- Listopia on Goodreads gives you access to a variety of lists such as “Books that everyone should read at least once”.
- Your Next Read helps you search for books that are similar to the ones you have read before.
Change the language on your phone to English
While you are reading, a multitude of complex processes takes place in your brain. One of them is the correlation of meanings with the words you see.
Changing the language of your device to English is an easy and helpful way of improving your vocabulary. Your mind will automatically memorize new words by associating a particular word with a function on your phone, tab or computer.
English writing exercises
It’s not a secret that writing helps you to express yourself, which can help your English speaking skills, too. Studies find thatyou can improve your English writing skills simply with a pen and notepad. Try some of the exercises below to improve your written English.
Create your vocabulary list
Regularly write down unknown words and expressions with their meanings and useful examples. Keeping words in your vocabulary will help you remember them better and learn to spell more effectively.
If you’ve already created your own list, use these words to compose a story. As one of the best basic English grammar exercises, it’ll help you construct sentences correctly as well as remember different words and find out how to use them in the context.
Depending on how much time you have for this exercise, try to include 10-15 words in your story. When your story is completed, you can share it with your friends or 1-on-1 English tutor, and encourage them to point out any mistakes you have made.
Choose a random picture and describe it in as many details as you can. By doing this exercise, you’ll learn more about adjectives and understand how to describe feelings and perceptions. You can use Pinterest as an outstanding source of different pictures.
Write comments in blogs
Reading blogs is an excellent way to improve your skills. But it can also be an excellent platform to practice your writing. And you don’t need to be an expert to express your opinion about the blog post. Just give it a try!
Do English grammar exercises online
When it comes to English grammar exercises, choose the one that explains grammar rules in a clear and simple way. By practicing your grammar daily, you will increase your confidence and be able to speak and write in English with ease.
Start practicing today!
If you want to boost your English, these exercises will definitely help. Some of these exercises require a specific amount of time during a day while others can be done on the go. Try to plan your time wisely, by thinking of the skills you must improve. Then, you can focus on the English exercises which will make the biggest impact.
Whatever your native language is, you can upgrade your English skills to the level of a native speaker. Why not start practicing right now?
There’s no better way to practice than with a dedicated one-on-one tutor. At Preply you can take English lessons with a professional English tutor, or sign up for corporate English training, to create a personalized plan for your experience level and goals. There’s no doubt that your tutor will have a huge range of speaking exercises to go practice with you.