July 16, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are (in a way) connected with each other.

But if you’re asking which skill is better than the other… then you’re just asking the wrong questions.

What you should think of instead, is your goal in learning English.

Think of what you’re trying to achieve.

Because if you’re only thinking of things such as, “I need to improve my English so I should read”, then you’re really just forming bad habits which are completely counterproductive.

So rather than forming bad habits, create good habits.

Try thinking along the lines of, “Here’s a book that I want to read, it just so happens that it’s in English”. Or “Here’s a radio show or audiobook in English that I really want to listen to.” And if you do that consistently, you’ll find yourself forming the right habits over time.

And again, all these skills are connected to each other. But varying the way you use English is better than just doing any one thing.

When you’re in your focused study time and you come across the expression “push the boat out”. After some time, you watch a show on TV, and someone says, “Oh, I’m going to push the boat out today, this is going to be the best party of my life!”. And essentially, that’s the same thing… just from a different type of usage.

Now, all of that exposure, whether it’s from reading, speaking, listening is all just as good as any other. In fact, it’s even better for your memory to hear and see the same thing over and over again, in varying ways. That will actually create the strongest kind of memory for whatever it is you’re trying to learn.

So, in that sense, all your skills are kind of interconnected because they help each other so you can learn more. And the best way to learn English is still focused intensive learning and usage in relaxed settings.

If you want to improve your English more, the best place to start would be the free training I created. You’ll learn the 5 key changes my best clients make to improve their English as higher-level English learners.

Here’s the link if this interests you.

Dr Julian Northbrook

March 6, 2021 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

If your English isn’t improving, you’re doing it wrong.

For example, take this person:

“They say reading improves your English. I have been reading 30-35 novels per year, but I don’t think my English has improved. Why?”

Who says?

And did they actually say just reading 30-35 novels a year is enough?


Or if they did, they don’t have a clue what they’re talking about (be careful who you listen to advice from).

Yes, reading will help.

But the keyword there is “help”.

It’s not enough by itself.

Reading will expose you to English—and if you’re reading novels, there’s lots of conversational language in there—and it’ll give you interesting topics to talk about.

But that’s it.

It’s still never going to fix all of your English problems by itself.

If you want me to show you a better way, and help you go is enrol here:


Dr Julian Northbrook