Read a WHOLE novel!
If you have ever had the experience of reading a whole novel, congratulations! You are an advanced English learner. (Now, go out and read another novel!) Most of Teacher Joe's students had never read a whole novel until Joe suggested it. At first, they were frightened because a novel seems terribly long, with so many new words and expressions. But when students persevere, they find it's a very valuable experience. And it's not as difficult as it seems!
One suggestions from Teacher Joe is to NOT try to understand every word at first. (Maybe some day in the future...) Instead, you should try to get the main ideas first. Focus on who is involved, where they are, what they are doing or hope to do. You will be able to understand many new words from the situation of the story. Then, after reading the whole novel, if you wish, you can go back and re-read it using a dictionary to look up words you missed the first time.
When you can read a whole novel in English, you will have greater confidence, because it will show you how much you have learned so far. At the same time, you will learn more and more new words. So, go out, buy a book, and read!
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