What’s the most important goal you’re aiming for when learning English? You want to speak fluently, right? You imagine going to London and speaking the language without any trouble. However, when you’re in a situation when you need to speak English, you get confused. Maybe you focus on grammar too much. Maybe you’re trying too hard to think of the right words. What’s the problem? How can you make it go away?
This is the first thing any teacher would recommend: practice! If you want to speak more fluently, then speak! However, there’s another thing you can do when you want to improve your speaking skills: write.
How is writing connected to speaking? We’ll make the link in this post. We’ll also give you practical tips on how to practice writing with the purpose of becoming a more fluent speaker.
Writing Practice for Becoming a Fluent Speaker
The recommendation to write may seem strange. Why should you bother writing when all you want to do is speak English more fluently? Henry Roberts, a writing tutor at Best Dissertation, makes the connection: “First and foremost, writing improves your grammar. When you’re trying to master grammar rules, you practice them by writing proper sentences. Writing also boosts our communication skills. Plus, the practice helps us monitor the progress we make in language learning.”
Mr. Roberts makes a good point. He helps us identify three main benefits that language learners gain through writing:
- They improve their grammar,
- They advance their communication skills, and
- They witness the progress they make.
Let’s see how exactly how your writing practice can help you achieve those goals:
1. Practice Grammar through Writing
Obviously, good grammar makes you a better writer, right? However, the relation works the opposite way, too: the more you practice writing the better you become at grammar usage. When you gain grammar and vocabulary skills that allow you to write an entire essay, you’ve reached a point when you can translate those skills into fluency in speaking.
When you’re talking to someone in English, you’re less concerned about the grammar. You focus on the vocabulary that allows you to express thoughts and ideas. If you’re not trying to master the language, it’s okay to stay limited to that practice. If you want to become a proficient English speaker, however, you’ll have to practice your grammar through writing.
Here are a few tips on how to do that:
- Take grammar lessons very seriously. Complete all assignments you get.
- Start writing in your free time. You can turn this into a daily routine. Write brief entries in a journal. Explain how you spent the day, who you met and what you learned. Penzu, for example, is a private online diary that makes journaling easy.
- Whenever you write something, double-check the grammar! You’re not writing for the sake of writing something. You’re writing with the intention of using the language better. Check every single sentence and pay attention to the mistakes you locate. As you keep getting better at this practice, the speaking skills will come naturally.
2. Communicate through Writing
Written communication is more important than ever. How many emails do you write per day? How many times do you post a comment on social media? You’re communicating through all those actions. Thus, it’s safe to say that the better you write, the better your communication skills are. Naturally, those communication skills help you get better at speaking, too.
When you want to achieve fluency, it’s important to communicate with native speakers. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to get to London or New York to practice your English. You can easily connect with natives through social media.
- Just join some Facebook groups related to your interests and start posting comments.
- Reddit is an international platform, but the people there use English. Join the threads that attract you and write away!
- Start sending emails more often. Write as you would speak! Use a friendly tone and turn messages into a conversation.
- When you write something, read it out loud. Read the response, too. This way, you’re practicing pronunciation.
All these practices will help you speak English better. You’re learning what to say in different situations, so the words will start coming naturally to you.
3. Set Targets and Observe Your Progress
The writing practice will give structure to the learning process. It gives you an opportunity to notice your habitual mistakes. If you try to become more fluent only by speaking, you won’t notice those mistakes. You won’t have the structure that writing can provide.
When you start writing on a daily basis, you understand you can’t master the language in a day. You’re taking small steps and you practice lesson by lesson.
- Set some targets! If you’re following a course, you already have targets: the modules. However, it’s important to set your own daily targets. For example, write 10 sentences using the new grammar rule you just learned.
- Start with sentences, but don’t stop there. Set the bar higher. Start writing short stories and essays, so you’ll use everything you’ve learned so far.
- You’ll be making mistakes. Don’t be afraid of them! The important thing is to catch those mistakes and understand how to correct them. You can get your teacher or an online language tutor to revise your practice, or you can ask a native speaker to do so.
You Can Write Your Way to Fluency in English!
Writing lets you practice grammar. It makes you a better communicator. It gives structure to your learning process. All these aspects are important for your fluency.
Start writing on a daily basis and the results will come!
PS. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!
This is a Guest Post by Steven Wesley
Steven Wesley is an ESL teacher, ed tech enthusiast and education blogger. He is interested in educational, technological and political issues and believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Follow him on Twitter.