You've heard about the four skills, right?

People often talk about the “four skills” of English: listening, speaking, reading, writing. Two of these skills are active, meaning you produce the language yourself – those are speaking and writing. Two of these skills are passive, meaning you take in the language and understand it – these are listening and reading.

What skills help your English get better?

Reading and listening are the most important skills to focus on, according to many language experts, such as professor Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California). You have to feed your brain before you can start using the language yourself. All this “food” for your brain (listening and reading) is called input.

Think of small children learning to speak their own language. They listen and listen before they begin to speak. In fact, they've been listening for a couple of years before they start to spurt out complex, meaningful sentences. But they've been picking up the language all along, soaking up everything around them. Have you noticed that even a three-year-old child is already amazingly comfortable in his or her mother language? A child's natural ability to speak comes from being surrounded by the language at a level they understand – not by memorizing rules.

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"You live a new life for every new language you speak."

- Czech Proverb

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