Friday, 7 December 2012

Extensive Reading Resources

Extensive reading basically means reading a lot. It is the kind of reading you often do in Japanese for pleasure, such as reading a novel or magazine article. (It is, therefore, quite different to a lot of reading you do in university, where you read a short text slowly and carefully in order to try and understand it). Extensive reading can be a great way to improve your overall English proficiency because it provides you with a lot of English 'input'.

To practice extensive reading in English, you need books that you can read quite easily. Luckily, there is a kind of book made for that purpose. They are commonly known as 'graded readers' and your new library has several hundred of them.

Graded readers are books designed for learners of English that can be read without difficultly. They are also shorter than regular books in English and can be read quite quickly. They are published in different levels of difficulty, so you will be able to find books that are just right for your level. Put simply, choose a book that looks interesting for you and which you can read quickly without using a dictionary. I think 80-100 words per minute is a good reading rate.

You can find graded reader books in the new library on the first floor on rows 08, 26 and 27. The best books are the Oxford Bookworms but the Macmillan books are also very good. The Penguin books have nice covers and look great but they can be a bit harder to read.

I also have a quite a lot of graded readers in my office, which you are welcome to borrow anytime.

Finally, if you choose a book that is too hard or a bit boring, stop reading, take the book back and choose a better one. Extensive reading should be enjoyable.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Apps for Quizlet

Some students asked me recently what app they should get for their smartphone in order to use their Quizlet flashcards. This is important as, while there are many flashcard apps on the market, not all of them are designed to work with Quizlet.

The first thing to remember is that, while there are a number of free flashcard apps available, they tend to limit the number of vocabualry sets you can download. Therefore, I suggest you buy an app for your mobile device, allowing you to download as many sets as you want. Having said that, most Apple users are lucky because there is a great free app for them.

Apple users should get the Quizlet app (specially designed by Quizlet for Apple products) which is free from iTunes.

Unfortunately, the free Quizlet app does not work with earlier Apple operating systems. Therefore, if you have an older iPhone, I suggest buying an app called Flashcards Deluxe. This app costs ¥350 from iTunes.

Quizlet are in the process of developing a free app for people with a smartphone using the Android operating system but, for now, you will have to buy one. I recommend an app called Quizard. Many students have told me that it works well with Quizlet. It is available from Google Play for ¥237.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know how you get on with these applications.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Using Quizlet

Quizlet is an online vocabulary learning website. In easy English, this means a place where you can make online vocabulary flashcards that you can use to help you learn lots of new words quickly.

If you need to learn some new words for an English class or TOEIC, Quizlet is a great resource. To learn how it works, just go to the website and play around with the flashcards already made. For example, type in TOEIC in the search box and you will discover thousands of TOEIC vocabulary flashcards already made by other learners that you can use.

Better still, sign up for Quizlet and make your own flashcards. If you are a member of Facebook, you can sign in using the Facebook login system.

If you have a mobile device, such as a smartphone or iPod Touch, you can download all your flashcards onto it and study the flashcards anywhere. Just download an app onto your mobile device. Apple users can get a free Quizlet app from iTunes, while Android users will have to pay around 200 yen for an app. There are several free apps for Apple and Android users but they limit the number of vocabulary sets you can download.

Students around the world are studying with Quizlet. Don't get left behind!

Here is the link: