Do you keep up to date with the news? Do you prefer newspapers, television or radio news broadcasts, or do you have news apps on your phone? If you like to follow the latest news stories and current affairs, then you can also use it to improve your English skills. Today, we are giving ideas and looking at ways to learn English using newspapers, news broadcasts and apps.
How can the news improve your English skills?
We need resources to study any subject, and the news can be a great resource to learn English and other languages. The news is always new! So, this means that there are always fresh resources in a wide variety of topics that you can use to improve your English skills. Also, news stories are not very long – well, much shorter than a novel or an English coursebook. This can be an advantage if you have a busy schedule, because you can focus on one article (or more if you have the time).
Ways to learn English using newspapers, news broadcasts and apps
1. Watch or read about topics that you find interesting
We recommend that choosing news topics that your find interesting. Why? I’m sure you remember words and phrases from songs that you like! Similarly, you are more likely remember new English vocabulary and develop English skills from a news topic that you enjoy. For example, if you love sport, then go to the sports section or channels for the latest news.
2. Choose news topics or stories that you already know
If you like the news, then you almost certainly read or listen to the latest stories in your own language. This can be an advantage, because if you have already read the story in your language, your will be familiar with the context.
For example, you might have a news app on your phone in your mother tongue, which you read first. Then you could read the story again using an English news app to develop your English skills.
3. Make predictions about the news story
When reading articles and listening to news broadcasts, you can develop your English reading and listening skills by making predictions. We recommend that you read or listen to the headline first, and then give yourself time to think. What information do you think will be included in the article?
You can make predictions using the words and phrases in the headline, combined with information that you already know about the topic. This helps you to activate your English vocabulary for this particular news topic (e.g. sport, entertainment, business etc). As you continue to read or listen, you can check if your predictions were correct. This ongoing process also helps to keep you interested in the news article.
4. Try to identify the main points
After using the headlines to think about and predict the news story, we recommend quickly reading or listening to the whole article. Don’t worry about individual words or phrases – just try to get an overview (or outline) of the news story.
This can help you improve your reading skills and help you to read more quickly. Alternatively, it can develop your listening skills, so that you can understand the main points in the article.
Once you have a general understanding of the news story, you can read or listen again to check for more information and to develop your English vocabulary (see below)!
5. Develop your English vocabulary
The news provides great examples of English in context, and it provides the opportunity to develop your English vocabulary in a variety of topics.
Naturally, you can look up words in a dictionary and translate them into your language. However, we recommend that you first try to guess or work out the meaning from the article. Then you can always check in an English dictionary or translate.
6. Practise speaking about current news topics
It is definitely possible to learn English using newspapers, news broadcasts and apps. Even so, if you have the opportunity, try speaking about the news in English as well.
The news is a common small talk topic and it can be a great way to start a conversation. “Have you read the news today?” “Did you see the football on Saturday” and so on. You can also read another blog post for more small talk ideas!
If you want to develop your English skills faster, you can also look at our recommended self-study English resources to study at home. You could also benefit from an English course with qualified English teachers, who can provide study targets and valuable feedback.