In the boxes below you can find the building blocks to learning English. You need to use all of these frequently to learn and improve your English. See also strategies below. 

I recommend the following dictionaries.

Grammar Words Reading Writing Listening Talking
Learn all basic English grammar. Learn new words. Read texts, short stories, novels, newspapers, online material. Write about what you have read. Listen to texts, radio, music, audio books etcetera. Talk about what you have read or what you have experienced.
Learn most of the grammar by heart. Translate the words into your mother tongue. Look up words you do not know and translate them. Use the new words you have learnt. Listening comprehensions – listen and answer questions. Talk to your friends, peers or teachers. Use the language in real life.
Do grammar exercises – spoken & written. Look up the explanation of the words (Cambridge dictionary). Watch movies with subtitles in your mother tongue or in English. Write the new words in sentences. Watch TV, such as CNN and BBC. Chat to friends online.
Look up synonyms of the words. Write short texts or essays. Join forums in English about your hobby to participate in discussions.
STUY and STUDY and STUDY and STUDY and STUDY and


  • Write down words you do not know when you encounter them
  • Acquire (=skaffa) a good dictionary and use it!
  • Acquire a good thesaurus (available in word) and use it, especially when writing.
  • Make new sentences with new words you learn (see How to write 10 sentences)
  • Create mental images of words – try to remember the words by associating it with a picture
  • Learn whole phrases – how the words are put together

See also learning new words and how to write 10 sentences.


  • Get used to reading a wide variety of texts, such as newspapers, novels, content on-line (blogs etcetera)
  • Read for different purposes
  • Read out off your comfort zone – texts which you would not normally read
  • Learn skim-reading – to get an overview of what a text is actually about before reading it in detail
  • Before reading a text – check what you already know about the topic, this can help you understand the text better
  • Do not look up every single word you do not understand – try and understand the whole context first
  • Create a dialogue with the text as you read it. Respond to what you are reading. Ask questions about the text.
  • Make connections with your mother tongue. How would you say this in your language?
  • Summarise after reading – to yourself or to others
  • Discuss texts with others
  • Try to increase your reading speed every time you read
  • Return to texts on a regular basis to repeat what you have learned

See also strategic reading.


  • Prepare what you are going to say
  • Push yourself to speak even if you feel that it is embarrassing
  • Ask others for feedback
  • Practice by repeating words and phrases aloud
  • Create sentences using new words
  • Listen to people speaking English (listening exercises, TV, radio, films etcetera)
  • Check that others have understood what you are saying
  • Participate in different types of exercises, such as group work, pair work, discussions, debates, brainstorming etcetera.
  • If you have the opportunity, try to use English as much as possible even outside the classroom


  • Find out if you already have knowledge about the topic which you are about to listen to
  • Can you can make any predictions about the text?
  • Skip words which you do not understand
  • Decide what is important to listen for – is it the overall message or is it details?
  • Listen more than once if you have the chance
  • Make short notes
  • ‘Listen between the lines’ – is there an underlying message that you can notice which is not being said?
  • Practice listening to radio programmes or to people talking
  • Practice listening to different types of accents and at different speeds

See also strategic listening.


  • Organise your thoughts
  • Practice writing by doing different types of writing, such as formal, informal, letters, e-mails, essays, summaries etcetera.
  • Study other styles of writing – READ!
  • Use a dictionary
  • Use a thesaurus
  • Ask for feedback so you know how to improve
  • Communicate in writing to native speakers
  • Experiment with different types of writing
  • Review and re-write
  • Give yourself time when writing

REMEMBER THAT: writing is a process. Part of writing is writing and re-writing. Sometimes more than once or twice, or even three times.

See also essay writing.


Skoglund, S and Cutler T (2011). Context. Gleerups Förlag, Malmö. (p.268-270).