The long summer break is around the corner. Classes, teacher’s supervision and weekly homework will be over for an extended period of time and it is now in you to take the reins of your own learning so that you do not fall behind and lose the momentum you have gained throughout the course.
This list contains 8 activities that you can easily tackle by yourself. It is a source of ideas from which you can select what motivates you. Alternatively, you could create your own list. One way or another, try to find a way to let English be part of your summer if you intend to keep it up and continue learning in September without that unpleasant feeling of rustiness.
Watch one season of a series
Depending on your level, you can opt for a series you have already watched in your first language or to take on a set of new episodes. If the season comprises 7 or 8 episodes, that would translate into watching one per week, approximately and when possible.
You can leave it at that, just watching I mean, or you could take a step further by creating a glossary with some of the vocabulary you pick up while watching.
On the left, a comedy series that has been recommended to me recently: “After life”.
Put a book in your bag …
…and you will steal more moments to read. You don’t even have to buy it. Pay a visit to a library or a bookshop to have a look at their selection of graded readers or full-text novels. Choose a title that you find appealing. I would go for what you want to read rather than what you think you ought to read. After all, it is better to read a simple book from cover to cover than only a few pages of one that ends up being overly complicated.
Read a magazine for English learners
Speak Up can be a good option as it is easy to find at the Newsagent’s or depending on where you live, it can be borrowed from your library. It comes with a CD and the articles are graded by level. The glossaries will help you learn new language. If you want to go the extra mile, borrow or buy the Speak Up DVD too and watch the film. The booklet that comes with it has enough material to keep you busy and learning for hours.
If you are not into Speak Up, an excellent alternative is Learn Hot English. With a more modern approach, in my opinion, it contains interesting articles and audio contents, too. On the left, the cover of June’s magazine. Here, a link to their web where you can get the digital magazine or the paper version.
Write a diary.
Jotting in a few sentences now and then will help your writing skills and also serve as a guide to tell anecdotes about your summer when you get asked at the beginning of next course. Include expressions you have learnt, e.g. from Phrase of the Day or the book/magazine you are reading. If you develop this habit for a couple of months, who knows if that will become a routine overtime?
Read/listen to the news.
A daily incursion into news contents in English keeps you well-informed about current affairs and familiarises you with the language to talk about them. In the digital era, we are spoilt for choice and you could try different news sources, click here to get started.
Meet up with your classmates.
Nothing can beat a lively chat with like-minded people. If you are someone with get-up-and-go, take the initiative and get it organised. Suggest a place, a date and perhaps a topic of discussion. Or simply, catch up and speak about yourselves. If there are no classmates to count on, you can surely find a relative or a friend who might be up for it. And again, if that is not viable, ask your teacher for help.
Listen to music.
Music and holidays, what a great combination! What about learning the lyrics of a few of your all-time-favourite songs this summer? Is three a good number? Four, five…? You can go about it by watching Youtube lyrics videos, doing a fill-in-the-gaps exercise on lyricstraining.com or simply, putting on your headphones, closing your eyes and immersing into the songs while trying to figure out the words.
Here is a suggestion for a great song to get started with:
FEELING GOOD – MICHAEL BUBLÉ
And finally: use a self-study book.
For those of you who need to consolidate grammar or prepare an exam, consider a self-study book. The “In Use” series caters for grammar, vocabulary, idioms, etc and it is perfect for self-learning. The layouts are neat and clear and they are jammed-packed with useful contents. I have always been a fan of this series, first as a student and now as a teacher. No sponsoring involved ;-).