What is your dream for your English?
Can you imagine yourself being a confident, fluent English speaker?
Close your eyes for a minute and see yourself speaking English easily and
confidently. See yourself talking to native speakers about all kinds of topics,
travelling the world to English speaking countries, having interesting
conversations with interesting people and becoming successful in your work
Imagine the possibilities in your life.
I want to tell you that this is all possible.
But how can you achieve this?
In this ebook I want to help you achieve your dream of becoming a
fluent, confident English speaker using 6 simple and fun steps.
But first, let me introduce myself:
My name is Nick Dale and I am an online English fluency coach. I help adult
English learners become confident English speakers and move from
intermediate up to higher levels.
I have a website called realenglishspeaker.com where you can learn real,
everyday English that native speakers use.
I want to take you into the real world of English.
In this ebook I will give you 6 steps that I use with my students to help them
speak English confidently and fluently. These are practical steps you can do
I believe learning a language is a physical activity. So imagine this is like going
to “English gym”.
Let’s make it fun!
Read aloud in English for 15 minutes everyday.
What does ‘read aloud’ mean? This means reading from your book and speaking
the words out at the same time. This will help your English improve in a big way!
Reading aloud from a book will help improve your pronunciation, your understanding
of grammar and sentence structure, it will build your vocabulary and most
importantly, it will give you CONFIDENCE with your speaking.
Why is this different from reading silently?
Reading aloud forces you to take your time with your reading. When you read
silently you can ‘skip’ (or ignore) words you don’t understand. But when you
read aloud you have to think carefully about each word and this also helps you
become aware of your pronunciation.
Reading aloud will help guide your speech pattern, including intonation and the
rhythm of speech. By doing this regularly you will start to speak more clearly
Reading aloud helps you remember new vocabulary. Saying the words aloud
has a stronger impression on your brain. So it’s a great way to learn new words.
Reading aloud helps improve your grammar. As you read you have to pay close
attention to the sentence structure and to the tenses. You will become more
aware of how the grammar is used by seeing it in a context.
Important points: To get the best results from this exercise, you should follow these
Start very slowly.
When you read and speak aloud, do it slowly. Think about what you are saying and
how you should form the sounds and say the words. (later you can get faster!)
Use the BIG MOUTH technique.
What is this? This is my special technique for improving your pronunciation. While
you are speaking out the text, open your mouth very wide with each word. Really
exaggerate the sounds.
“TO ‘EXAGGERATE’ SOMETHING MEANS TO REPRESENT (SOMETHING) AS BEING
LARGER, BETTER, OR WORSE THAN IT REALLY IS.”
So when speaking the text, do it more. Do it big! Imagine there is an invisible golf
ball in the middle of your mouth, sitting on your tongue. You have to ‘talk around’
This might seem like a strange exercise, but I promise you if you do this you will
notice that your pronunciation is almost instantly clearer! Why? Because you are
forcing your mouth to work harder to make the new sounds and you are thinking
carefully about what you are saying.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to talk like this forever! This exercise is only to help you
adapt to the different sounds of English, which you don’t use in your own native
*Try this exercise now.
Take a short text, or even just a paragraph (you could read some of this ebook!) and
read it with the Big Mouth Technique. Just do it with a few sentences. Really open
your mouth wide. So it feels like you’re going to the gym with your jaw.
Then go back to the start of your paragraph and read it at a normal speed. Just relax
your mouth and read normally.
How does it feel?
It should feel easier. You can get your mouth around the words much easier. Of
course, with more repetitive practice you will notice an even bigger improvement.
After some time, you can start to read and speak faster and in a more normal way.
Try this reading aloud exercise with my original mini story HERE.
HOT TIP – For best results, do this before you go to sleep at night. You may
DREAM in English! This is a good sign for your fluency!
Let’s go to step two!
LISTEN TO ENGLISH AUDIOS
Listen to English from a variety of sources.
Listening is the best way to become a fluent English speaker. Why? Because
listening is the most natural way that we learn a language. As children, this is how
we learnt our native language, by listening to the adults around us, our parents,
teachers, grandparents and so on. We listened and copied the sounds and started
to make sentences.
Since this is natural to us, why not use it when learning English?
Listening to audio books is not only an effective way to ‘pick up’ (acquire / gain /
learn) the language but it’s also convenient because you can do it anywhere
(listening on your headphones while travelling and walking etc). It’s also interesting
My tips for listening to audio books;
1. Start with short stories (you don’t want to get overwhelmed!).
2. Find the transcript or text and read as you listen.
3. Then listen again while you are doing an activity (such as cleaning,
walking, working out at the gym).
4. Use the IMITATION TECHNIQUE - Listen again and pause the audio.
Repeat the sentences. Try to imitate (copy) the speech patterns as
accurately as possible. You might need to do this a few times. This is
great for your pronunciation.
Use the SHADOWING TECHNIQUE - Try to copy the audio at the same
time as you hear it. This can be challenging, that’s why it’s important to
follow the first 4 steps before you do this. So when we shadow, we play
the audio and speak the words at the same time as the speaker, trying to
copy the speech pattern (sentence stress, connected speech, intonation
Some resources for audio books;
For lower levels – Try THIS SITE: A free audio book site for English learners.
For higher levels – Try AUDIBLE: You can find many audio books, both new and
classic, on this site. You can also get a one month free trial.
Here are two original mini stories I wrote, with audio, for you to practice your
English listening and to learn new phrases and vocabulary in context. Below
the images you can click to get your free audio and text and download to
EAVESDROPPING - Listen to real conversations
What is eavesdropping? To eavesdrop means to (secretly) listen to other people’s
conversations. We all do this, right?
We all want to know what other people are talking about.
You might be sitting in a cafe and you hear some people at the table next to you
talking about the new Star Wars movie and what they think about it.
Or maybe you hear your girlfriend or boyfriend talking on the phone to someone in
the next room and….it’s very tempting to ‘listen in’ sometimes, isn’t it?
You can do this to improve your English vocabulary and listening skills. The more
you practice listening to natural English conversations, the more you will become
aware of the speech patterns and everyday phrases and expressions we use.
Of course, this is easier to do if you live in an English speaking country, or
somewhere that people speak English a lot. If you do, then try this exercise! Get into
the real world of English.
Go to a cafe, restaurant, bar, public event or even just into the city, and sit down for
a while. Listen very carefully to the people next to you. Try to ‘pick up’ any words
or expressions you know (To ‘pick up’ something means to recognise or hear) and
also, listen for any new vocabulary that you don’t know. You can maybe write it down
in a little notebook. (When no one is watching! You don’t want to look like a spy!)
What if I don’t live in an English speaking country?
If you don’t live in a place where you can find native English speakers, then try the
listening exercises I talked about above (such as audio books).
I suggest you watch movies and TV shows to hear more natural English. If you are a
higher level, it is a good idea to look for documentaries or talk shows. These are
good to practice listening to real, unscripted conversations. These conversations are
not ‘rehearsed’ or taken from a script, as in movies or TV shows, so you will hear the
natural way we speak.
On the next page I will give you my 6 key steps to using movies (and TV shows) to
improve your English. This is a fun way to build your fluency.
“I'm thinking of catching a flick.”
To CATCH A FLICK means to see a movie (usually at the cinema). A "flick" is
slang for ‘movie’.
Speaking of movies, this is a really great, fun and relaxing way to improve your
English. Most people enjoy watching movies. It's a great way to wind down (relax
after hard work) and maybe learn something new as well.
But how do you learn English by watching movies?
Follow these steps to boost your fluency with movies;
1. Pick a movie you like (and have seen in your own language).
You will find it easier to learn when you are enjoying yourself. So choose a film
genre (type of film) that you really like. Comedy? Horror? Science Fiction?
**HOT TIP: Watch a film that you have seen before in your own language.
Something that you know well. This will make it easier to understand in English.
2. Watch it three times
You are going to watch this film three times. You don't have to watch it back to back
(at one time, in one day!). But for the next week, choose a film you would like to
practice with and try to watch it three times over the week.
If you prefer to watch something shorter, choose a 30 minute episode from a TV
series and do this same exercise.
3. Use English subtitles.
The first time you watch the movie, turn on the English subtitles. Watch the film all
the way through. Write down any new words or phrases that you find interesting.
4. Watch the first scene and imitate.
To Imitate means to copy what somebody says. So go back to the start of the film
and just focus on the first scene (The part before it changes to a different location,
about 2 to 3 minutes). Use the subtitles. Pause after each sentence and repeat after
the actors. Try to copy their pronunciation as much as you can.
5. Watch the scene again without subtitles.
Now watch the scene again without subtitles. This time, try to 'shadow' the dialogue.
So try to speak at the same time as the actors!. This may be quite challenging, so
choose a scene with not too much dialogue (speaking). You can also try to copy
their movements and emotions to help you with intonation and expression. You can
do step 4 and 5 with the next scene if you like.
6. Watch the whole film again without subtitles.
Now watch the film again (maybe take a break for a day or two). This time watch it
without any subtitles. Try it! You might be surprised how much you can understand
and this will give you some confidence.
WHY LEARN ENGLISH WITH MOVIES AND TV?
Watching movies to learn English is a great way to learn REAL English. You are
exposing yourself to English used by native speakers, so you will hear natural
pronunciation, common phrases, idioms and slang. And most of all, it's interesting
and enjoyable which makes movie watching a powerful way to improve your English
THINK IN ENGLISH
Learn how to think in English to boost your fluency.
How do we do this?
Take 30 minutes (or an hour) of your day to name everything you see in English. So
when you are walking around, sitting at your office desk, doing your work etc, look
around you. What do you see? Think about exactly what you see, but don’t think of
the objects in your native language. Think ONLY in English. Start simply by just
thinking in words first. Then you can move to sentences.
For example: I am sitting in a cafe, doing work on my computer at the moment.
What do I see?
“A computer.....A computer screen.... A cafe.... Chairs.... Waiters... Lots of
books! ....Sugar.... Cups....and more!
Books....Interesting books.... Those books look interesting. .......Quiet. It’s
very quiet. A quiet cafe..... “
Try to put words together in your mind. Then make sentences.
How does this help?
If you take more time to think in English, before you have conversations, you will
notice your speaking will flow more easily. You will reduce the amount of thinking
time (before speaking) because you have already practiced in your head!
I made a video about thinking in English too!
It’s called “3 WAYS TO THINK IN ENGLISH”
TALK TO YOURSELF
Talking to yourself is a great way to improve your English fluency.
This might sounds strange, but actually it’s healthy to talk to yourself. To speak your
thoughts out aloud. It helps you to get your thoughts clear and make decisions. But
try to do this in English!
This is similar to the thinking in English activity but you are speaking your
thoughts. When you are at home (you might need to be alone!), try to speak your
thoughts out aloud. You can do this while you are doing some house chores
(housework) such as cleaning or cooking.
“I’m very tired today..... Today was such a busy day.... I’m so hungry....What should I
eat for dinner? Hmm...maybe i’ll have pizza,... or chicken. What should I do with
chicken? Make a chicken salad?...A chicken curry?....I don’t know how to make
chicken curry......Where can I get a recipe?.... “
This may be difficult at first, but don’t worry about speaking perfect English. Just try!
The more you do this, the better you will get.
Like the ‘thinking in English’ exercise, talking to yourself also helps you to think in
English more often, instead of translating in your own language all the time.
WRITE IN A JOURNAL
Use ‘stream of consciousness’ writing to build your fluency.
A journal is a private notebook where you can write all your thoughts, feelings and
I suggest you do ‘stream of consciousness’ writing. What is this? This means you
simply write about anything that comes into your mind.
A ‘stream’ is a small river. ‘Consciousness’ is your awareness, or ‘thinking’. So think
of a stream that flows easily down the mountain. It doesn’t stop, does it? It just flows
effortlessly. So think of your thoughts like this stream. Let them flow like a stream, or
river, out onto your paper.
In this exercise you don’t worry about grammar and spelling or if your English is
correct. This is your chance to just write freely, without worrying about mistakes. So,
again, this is similar to the thinking and speaking exercises, but you do this in
This will be easier for higher levels of English. If you are a lower level, you can still
try! Just write down words and phrases that you know in English and try to put
Set your timer for 10 or 15 minutes. Put your pen to the paper and just write!
Don’t stop! Even if you just write words, or parts of sentences. This is a time when
you can forget about grammar and spelling.
The purpose of this exercise is just to help you think more freely in English.
So just keep writing and trying to put your thoughts and feelings down on the
But this is writing, not speaking! I hear you say.
True, however, using all 4 key skills; reading, writing, speaking and listening will help
you to ‘immerse’ yourself in the English language. All these skills cross over with
each other. Using the ‘stream of consciousness’ exercise also makes you think in
English, without translating, which then helps to improve your speaking fluency.
So here you have 5 practical ways you can build and expand your English fluency.
With these exercises you are using all 4 key skills; speaking, listening, reading and
writing. You are bringing English into your life!
Soon you will start to feel more confident and you will be surprised how quickly your
English will improve.
But how can you make these practices a part of your life?
In step 6 I will give you some easy ways to create a fun daily English Fluency
*HOT TIP: You should also do this journalling exercise before you go to sleep.
It will do two things:
1. It will help you release all your thoughts and worries so you can relax before
2. 2. It will get you thinking in English before you sleep, when your mind is
most relaxed and you may dream in English! This is a sign that you are
absorbing the language.
CREATE A LEARNING HABIT
Create a daily English practice routine to achieve your goal.
I’m sure you have a very busy life, right? We all do.
You decide to set a goal and improve your English and maybe you practice your
English everyday for about two weeks. But then, you start to get distracted. You
have other tasks and commitments. And soon, your dream to become a confident
English speaker disappears!
So how can you achieve your dream of becoming a fluent English speaker?
You need to create a daily habit. You need to make English a part of your life.
How can you make English a habit? I suggest doing these two things:
1. Take just 30 minutes a day for your English practice. This is all you need.
2. Choose the same time everyday for 30 days. If you give yourself just 30 minutes
a day and 30 days, it sets a clear task in your mind and a clear timeframe.
*HOT TIP: If you think you can’t find a free 30 minutes in your day, choose a time
when you do something else that is part of your normal routine. For example, I’m
sure you make and eat your breakfast every morning? So, at the same time as you
do this routine, put on an English audio and try the ‘shadowing’ exercise. Or practice
‘talking to yourself’ while you cook and eat. Or if you go running in the park, listen to
an English audio while you’re running.
On the next page is my suggested 30 minute English Routine.
MY SUGGESTED 30 MINUTE ENGLISH ROUTINE
1. Listen to English audios: 10 minutes.
You can listen to a variety of English audios such as podcasts, TED talks (check my
resource list at the end of this e-book), YouTube interviews, songs, audio books and
movies. You can put an audio on and make your breakfast or clean your house.
Even just listening to English in the background and trying to 'pick up' (recognise)
English words will help you improve.
2. Speak in English: 10 minutes.
You can make topic cards and put them in a bowl. Then pick one in the morning,
time yourself for 2 to 3 minutes (or more) and just speak freely for that time. Don't
stop until the alarm goes off. Don't worry about 'perfect English' in this exercise. Just
You can also choose some words or phrases you have learned recently and use
them in your speaking. Make sentences. Tell yourself a story with them.
3. Write in English: 10 minutes.
Now, take your notebook / journal and set your timer for 10 minutes. Choose a topic
or just write about your weekend, or what you did yesterday or your future plans.
Keep writing and don't stop!, for 10 whole minutes. You can also choose 10 words
you have learned recently and try to use them in your writing. So this is similar to the
speaking exercise, only in writing.
So there you go! Three simple activities you can do everyday, by yourself, in just 30
30 minutes really isn't long. But if you do this everyday, or even five days a week, I
promise you will notice a big improvement in your English speaking, listening and
So how can you become a confident, fluent English speaker? Follow these six
1. Read aloud.
2. Listen to English audios.
3. Practice thinking in English.
4. Talk to yourself in English.
5. Write in a journal.
6. Create a daily habit.
So don’t wait! Start today! Choose to start your English training habit for the next 30
If you liked this free e-book, share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter so
they can also become confident English speakers.
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You can send me an email with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick’s list of great resources for English success!
Free video lessons on speaking, vocabulary, pronunciation and everyday
Take English lessons with Nick:
Listen to my English audios:
Watch videos in English:
Read the news in English:
International news: http://www.bbc.com/news/world/
US news: http://edition.cnn.com/
Australian news: http://www.news.com.au/
Entertainment news: http://au.eonline.com/
Meet up with English learners and speakers in your city: