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Language-focused learning with the right content

Since language-focused learning, which involves deliberate attention to language features, including spelling, pronunciation, vocabulary, multiword units, and grammar, is going to be one of your most effective types of exercise, thus, it will be helpful to look at how to do it with the right content in more detail.

The key is this: language-focused learning using content will require multiple passes. 

Trying to use and understand the entirety of text, audio, or video content at once is usually too difficult. It’s impossible to remember the meaning of all new words and forms as well as comprehend the meaning of entire sentences and how they flow together to make a broader point on your first read through. 

The best approach is to chunk it up into manageable activities so that nothing is too difficult. You should frequently read or listen to your content multiple times (up to ten, even). 

Repetition is a powerful method that ensures you remember what you learn. In each reading you will read more carefully and try to gain new insight.

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Here is a good order:

1. Skim read for broader context — lets you derive meaning from context more easily

2. Brief read — read without looking anything up, try to guess more meaning

3. Deeper read — read again, getting definitions for key words to let you understand the text. 

By now you’ll have a good idea of what words/forms you are struggling with. From that point, you can decide what kind of exercise you want to use it for. These next points imagine you decide to use it for intensive reading:

4. Another deeper reading — this time, focusing on those bits that are new to you.

5. As many repeat readings as necessary, each time focusing on a different aspect.

At the end you can make a final pass, using all the new knowledge you have just gained to understand the text much better. If by the end you can comfortably understand the content, congratulations! You are now measurably better at your target language.

There are lots of other ways you might like to access it. Here are some more ideas for an audio + transcript resource:

• Practise listening, try to understand how sounds create words and how words flow together in practice

• Drill some key vocabulary with flashcards

• Listen to the text once you are more familiar with if it was too difficult to comprehend via audio earlier on

• Produce a verbal or written summary of the resource

• Read the text aloud focusing on speed and fluidity

• Record own version of the dialogue and compare it to the pronunciation of the characters

• Send the written summary to a native to be corrected

• Discuss the dialogue with a tutor

Try a free lesson with Lingualift today!

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