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Studying while you are doing other things is a special technique. You need a way to study without a book that is big and heavy. And you need a little special equipment. I recommend the iPod, and you can use other mp3 players too. The great advantage is they are light and small, and you can change the contents easily. Listening to stories on these devices can be a great way to study.

In my line of business, I know a lot of people who are studying English to speak it better (and listen better). Students of English need to know an effective way to study English verbs. Then they can really control the language. A language is a tool and the more ways you can use the tool now, the better.

Many students say that they cannot study because they do not have enough time. I say you can study while you are in transit from one place to the other. Like walking to the station. Or perhaps driving your car. You can even study while you go shopping, or ride a train or a bus. Of course, you need a special technique to study while you are doing these other things. Listening to stories is the answer. Most societies used to have oral histories. We are good at listening to stories and remembering.

In fact, I listen to stories too, to study. Listening is great because you can hear the speaker’s tone of voice and understand the message better than just the written word. And you can always read later, when you have sit-down study time. In fact, that is a great way to complement studying by listening. If you read the story later, you refresh your memory. You have to access the auditory memories. And you can check for parts you didn’t understand. Then the next time you listen, it is clearer.

…use stories to learn a new language?

Why not use stories to learn a new language?

And you can learn English verbs from the stories you listen to. Especially if they are targeting the verbs you want to learn.

You target the verbs you want to learn while you do the sit-down study at home. You decide what verbs you need to learn. Make a list. Then find stories (recorded in mp3 format) that have those verbs in them. Check the meanings of the verbs, just to be sure.

After you check the meanings of the verbs you are ready to move to the next step of the study program. Listening. Put the mp3 stories you need to practice listening to on your listening device (like an iPod, I mentioned above). Keep it with you and listen whenever you are not talking to someone or doing some work that has words in it (like washing the dishes or riding the train). You may listen while you do exercise.

.. true for travel to work and school…

If you do exercise regularly, then you will start to practice listening regularly. This is true for travel to work and school, too.

But if you drive a car, you should not use an iPod or another device like that. It is dangerous. You want to study, and you want to be safe. If you drive a car, you can listen to CDs. Burn the mp3 onto a CD and listen to that in the car. Be sure to give your attention to the road, and have the story running like background music.

If you are exercising or riding trains or washing dishes, or doing other safe activities, you can give more attention to the listening practice.

You want to give attention to the listening practice because you have to shadow it. Or sometimes listen and repeat. Or sometimes just think about the meaning. Those are the three central activities you can do in your listening practice for English verbs.

Focus on the Verbs… Why?

English verbs form the core of speaking. They give the central action, the meaning. They tell us what is going on. Students need to know a wide range of verbs. Native speakers use a wide range of verbs, and you need to be able to understand them. You also need to know a lot of verbs so you can express a wider range of ideas.

That’s why students should focus on verbs.

Even students who think they don’t have time can learn this special technique for studying while doing other things. Use technology like iPods and mp3’s to study. Listen to the stories again and again. Briefly check the meanings of the words before you study them in the stories you choose. Do this regularly and frequently. These are the core study habits you need to really start to control the language you are studying.

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