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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

This learning tip is a combination of two previous ideas. The first idea, as I mentioned in Learn English Lesson 3, is to read as much as possible. (I often tell my students, "the more you read, the more you succeed".) The other learning idea is to use pictures to help you. You can use videos on You Tube or other video sites, as in Learn English Lesson 53, which can help you see what you learn. Now, put these two ideas together and learn English by reading photo captions - the words under newspaper photos.

When I studied French as a university student, I found this to be a fun and easy way to learn new words. The news stories from newspapers such as Le Monde or magazines such as "l'Express" gave me a context that helped with understanding the overall story, then the pictures helped me understand each word as people actually use it. Today, though, we are lucky to have more than just expensive newspapers and magazines. With the Internet, you can try various news sites and check out their photos for free. If there are no captions, or if the captions do not describe the photos well, you can easily move on to a different site.

Here are two sites where there are frequently new photos, all with good, clear captions to help you learn. The first site is Yahoo News, a good general news site. You can choose from the "slide shows" that interest you the most. Click here to take a look. The second site is a joint venture between Microsoft and the American TV network, NBC. You can go to the MSNBC photo page and click on "The Week in Pictures".

Remember, reading is the most powerful way to build your vocabulary. If you are truly serious about improving your English, read every day!

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