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Use A Learning Notebook Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

A very helpful strategy in language learning is to write your own book about your new language. No, I don’t mean a classroom-ready language course. Just a simple notebook in which you can write comments about your lessons, notes on your progress, things you discovered in that “Aha!” moment, or anything that helps you practice your writing skills.

It doesn’t matter what type or size of the notebook you use. Find one you’re comfortable with and always keep it with your language learning materials. If you’re going to a class, then by all means take it to class with you. What you’re doing is creating your own personal extension to the course you’re learning from.

Write on a Regular Basis.

You don’t have to write something every day, but always use your notebook whenever you sit down with your lessons. Use it to record your language experiences and what you’ve learned from them. There are many things you can write in your notebook. For example:

  • Your goals and objectives for learning your new language.
    • Why are you learning this language – for work or for travel? Or for some other reason?
    • What do you want to accomplish when you’ve finished your studies?
  • New words or expressions you have learned or want to learn.
  • Words that require looking up in a dictionary.
  • Grammar rules you have learned.
    • If the rules seem too complicated to understand, see if you can rewrite them in a way that’s more clear and understandable.
    • If you can, include examples that show how the rule is used.
  • Notes about conversations with other students or native speakers you’ve had in your new language.
  • Summaries of what you read in your new language, whether it’s from your lessons or online.
  • A record of the errors you want to work on correcting.
  • Comments on learning strategies you have used successfully, or any strategies that may not work as well for you.

Like a linguistic map, the notebook keeps track of your learning progress so you can use it as a reference tool anytime in the future. I have a dozen boxes in my office filled with notebooks I’ve used over the years in my language learning journey. I still go through them once in a while when I need to refresh my memory on a certain point, or just to see how I’ve progressed.

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language -


  1. kubuk:

    I will try this tool for learning my english. Maybe it will be nice help for students. But I think it’s the best for these people who learn in regular way.

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