Watch Television with Closed Captions On

Do you enjoy television? Sometimes the programs on television can be difficult to comprehend, and turning on the closed captions can improve comprehension. Utilizing the closed captions can aid in understanding when you have misunderstood an expression or even a joke. The ability to see the words can also clarify the conversation parts that were spoken too quickly. In addition, closed captions will enhance your understanding if the speaker has an accent that is challenging to understand. Finally, watching television with closed captions can be a relaxing method of enjoying television programming in which technical vocabulary or colloquial expressions create barriers to understanding. These opportunities to enhance our comprehension allow us to enjoy a broader range of programming.

There are numerous situations where closed captions are useful for non-native English speakers and English speakers alike. First, closed captions offer opportunities to watch videos for research or enjoyment in a library or other quiet areas. Second, in a noisy environment, such as on an airplane, where you cannot hear the audio well, closed captions are often the only way to understand the speakers. Third, closed captions are becoming more common on social media, allowing viewers to scroll and continue to receive the video message without sound.

More specifically, utilizing closed captions can help you to improve your English.  First and foremost, the captions will allow you to focus on the most difficult grammar structures –  those elusive prepositions and articles. This reinforcement of English grammar structures will improve your spoken and written English over time.  Secondly, paying close attention to these challenging aspects of English grammar will also improve your listening comprehension because you will start to understand the rhythm and stress of the language. Third, of course, you will begin to acquire new vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.  In my mind, this is one of the better ways to learn authentic, native English conversation skills.

Television content is often the focus of small talk and helps to build relationships with people in your personal and your work life. These conversation topics, enjoyed with other people in your life, give you another opportunity to open up your life to deeper connections.

Listen to Audio Books

If you do not enjoy reading books, there is always the option of Audio Books. These save you the hassle of turning the pages, and you can listen to them while doing chores like washing dishes, or folding laundry. Even with Audio Books, I recommend that you read the best quality available. By listening to Audio Books, it will help reinforce your vocabulary, and thus will help with dictation and enunciation. This also gives a better understanding of where and when to use certain prepositions.

Audio Books are highly entertaining, and very fun to listen to. Most of the Audio Books you’ll find are done by actors who make the story more alive than it was on paper. Listening to an Audio Book helps focus on retaining, remembering and understanding the contents of the story, without focusing too much on the enunciation of the words. This builds confidence in your daily life, knowing how to phonetically sound a word without wondering if it’s proper. The best part about an Audio Book is the ability to read faster, making reading more enjoyable by removing the time it takes to read the words and to decipher them. By hearing the story as a whole, this increases your comprehension of the story, and easily creates an image of what the story is about.

Just like a book, Audio Books are also available at Libraries, and you can also find Audio Books available for download(you can also find some for free). Audio books are also available for your Kindle and Kobo devices, so if you have one of these devices, you can look at exploring the world of audio books using them! Downloading an Audio Book can be very convenient, as it can be stored on your phone, and listened to on your way home, or when you have some free time. Another way to enjoy Audio Books is turn one on during a road trip. By listening to the same story, and sharing the words the same way, the book would be more fun, and it would give you something to discuss when finished. Try an Audio Book today!

10 Reasons Why Reading Everyday is Good for You!

Read Every Day!

Whatever you enjoy reading is fine; however, read the best quality available.  For example, if you enjoy reading the newspaper, I recommend The Globe and Mail or The Calgary Herald to reinforce business vocabulary, idioms, and the mindset for achievement. If you enjoy fiction, classic novels are available in a variety of English levels through Usborne Books and Scholastic.  And if you enjoy, nonfiction, be sure to read literature outside of your profession in order to broaden your vocabulary. I would recommend comics only if your English is very advanced and your goal is to broaden your idiomatic and colloquial English.

Here are ten reasons why Reading is beneficial:

  1. Mental Stimulation

The brain is like any other muscle, requiring exercise to keep it strong and healthy.

  1. Stress Reduction

Reading a well-written novel can make you relax as you focus on the story, and forget about your stress of work, personal relationships, or other issues.

  1. Knowledge

Reading will always supply you with new information and will make conversations much easier when you have more knowledge about the topic you are discussing.

  1. Vocabulary Expansion

By reading a variety of books, you gain exposure to words used in context, which will help define when and where to use the word and also expand your vocabulary.

  1. Memory Improvement

Reading a book requires that you remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, and their personalities. You also have to remember the subplots and various arcs, as well as how it affects the rest of the story.

  1. Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills

You can analyze and critique how the plot of a book will play out by noticing the details provided and taking note of the development of the story.

  1. Improved Focus and Concentration

Reading a book focuses all your attention on the topic and improves your focus and concentration on one task.

  1. Better Writing Skills

Exposure to well-written books influences your own writing, as you start to use the writing styles that you have observed and enjoyed.

  1. Tranquility

Depending on the subject you read, books can bring you a sense of inner peace and tranquility, for example, reading spiritual texts can lower blood pressure and bring about an immense sense of calm.

  1. Conversational skills

Reading the news, and staying up to date on current events can provide an opportunity to join conversations with other friends and colleagues.

Consistent reading is the most efficient and effective strategy to develop vocabulary and writing skills, as well as the confidence to express yourself during small talk. The ability to express yourself on a wide range of topics allows you to build relationships and express your ideas both on work teams and in social situations. Read a book today!


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Grammar for Work!

Do you wish that you could take your grammar to the next level? Do you worry about grammar mistakes in your e-mails and reports, as well as in your conversations with others? Do you occasionally feel frustrated or embarrassed because your e-mail was misunderstood, or your boss had to edit your report before it could be submitted? Then, this program is for you.


Pre-requisites: Intermediate level English

Training Time: 12 hours

Location: T3G 1R8 (NW Calgary)

Investment: $480.00

Maximum Class Size: 2-5 participants


Course Design

Grammar for Work! is designed to meet your career advancement goals. This interactive, workshop-style program features 6 two-hour grammar lessons focused on work communication. Groups of 2 to 4 people allow for fun group activities while maximizing instructor-learner interaction on the pen and paper learning events.


Training Objectives

Given instruction, examples, handouts, practice, work related application exercises, and individual feedback, participants will:

  • Improve your spoken grammar
  • Use time expressions related to specific verb tenses correctly
  • Learn 12 “ing templates” with a focus on work expressions
  • Produce a variety of sentence structures to communicate time relationships, cause and effect, issues that contrast, and clauses of condition
  • Learn 12 expressions related to “time”
  • Use action and non-action verbs in past and progressive forms with confidence
  • Use adverbs, adverb phrases, and adverbial clauses accurately to convey a more persuasive and professional message


Write It Clearly!

Training Objectives

Given instruction, examples, handouts, practice, work related application exercises, and individual feedback participants will be able to perform the following writing tasks:

  • Write clear simple, complex, and compound sentence structures
  • Write a paragraph with a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence
  • Write e-mails that have a clear purpose and structure, while building professional relationships
  • Write a summary of a meeting discussion
  • Write an Memo Report
  • Write an Informal Report
  • Use appropriate capitalization and punctuation


Given instruction, handouts, examples, practice, work related application exercises, and individual feedback, participants will:

  • Give balanced feedback
  • Know how to conjugate common irregular verbs
  • Use the perfect tense (in the context of a job interview or professional conversation)
  • Expand their use of phrasal verbs (prepositions)
  • Use effective strategies for taking notes at meetings
  • Know how to structure a cause and effect report*
  • Know how to structure a problem and solution report
  • Move your audience to action
  • Organize your thoughts to help your reader comprehend and remember your message more easily
  • Receive feedback on your work related writing tasks
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