Language Skills

Learner Description: This page was created for people learning English as a second language. The page provides links to activities to help improve the four different language skills.

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Language Skills

The four basic language skills are listening, speaking, reading and writing. When learning a language it is important to spend time focusing on each of these skills. This page gives information about each skill and provide links to activities where Enlgish language learners can practice each skill.


Listening is often the first skill that language learners are exposed to. Listening involves being able to differentiate between different sounds in the language and understanding what people say. Listening to recordings and answering questions about what was said can help people improve their listening comprehension skills. Click on the listening image in the concept map to find activities that can help English learners of any level improve their listening skills.


Speaking involves pronunciation and understanding of sentence structure. One of the first hurdles in speaking is being able to clearly state the words in the language. I recommended spending time listening to people speak the language to improve pronunciation. Speaking practice for beginners can be done alone, with a focus on pronunciation and sentence structures. Dialogues are a good way to understand interactions between two people. Many English language learners are afraid to speak when they start learning and this is a major barrier to fluent speaking. The only way to improve your speaking is to practice. Click on the speaking image to complete some speaking activities. (Note: While these activities can be helpful and used as a guide, I recommend speaking with another person to improve advanced speaking skills.)


Reading involves being able to pronounce written words and understanding what you have read. Early reading tends to focus on phonics and pronunciation while more advanced students should focus on comprehension. English language learners should read everyday and if possible discuss what they read with someone else. Click on the reading image to find reading passages to improve reading comprehension.


Writing is the most difficult language skill to become proficient in. Beginners should focus on sentence structure and tense. Start writing simple sentences and move on to short answers. Advanced learners should find writing prompts and write essays. There are online activities to help with sentence structure and grammar. Advanced learners should write responses to writing prompts and find a teacher or educated native speaker to provide feedback. Click on the link so find some helpful hints for effective writing.

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