When you want to improve your Dutch it is important to train 4 skills. You’ll have to work on reading, listening, speaking and writing.
During Dutch Language Classes trainings we work on these skills but this article is about how you can improve your Dutch skills yourself. Of course we are always ready to help you to bring them to another level. We’ll tell you more about this in the end of the article.
Reading is a brilliant way to learn new vocabulary. If you choose the materials wisely it is also a good way to create affinity with the language.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you want to improve your Dutch skills with reading. First of all: take a topic or a story that interests you and you want to read. The more you are genuinely interested in the topic the more enthusiastic you will read it and your retention of new words, expressions or construction will be better too. Don’t take a text that is too hard. Just test it by reading some paragraphs and check if it feels comfortable. If you like comic books you can include them too. Because most of the words are visualised in a comic book it is a great way to understand new vocabulary without a dictionary. Try to avoid dictionaries anyway. You can always read the text a few times and get the meaning of the words by the context.
In other posts on this website you will find more information about what to read in the news, newspapers and magazines, books and there is even a post about famous Dutch comics series.
You can improve your Dutch with listening in many ways. We think even listening to Dutch music is a good way. Try to sing along not only to train the right articulation but also because you will realise that each time you do it you will understand more and memorise more of it.
Listening to the news, dialogues in movies or interesting audiobooks and even listening to other people’s conversation on the train or bus are fine.
Whenever possible choose materials you can play again (CDs, DVDs, YouTube materials …). It’s always easier to come back to something you didn’t entirely get the first time.
Speaking is perhaps the most obvious skill to train when you want to improve your Dutch. Speak with everyone. You can think about other students, your Dutch colleagues but also other people in town. When you’re hesitating a little practise with easy targets first. A bartender or a shopkeeper will find it very normal when you start a conversation with him. They can be (commercially) motivated to keep the conversation going and not to be too hard on you.
When you’re talking about the things you’ve read or listened to you are combining the different skills and using the new words you’ve read or heard. It the best way to develop your Dutch skills faster and faster.
Perhaps writing is the least favourite skill for people to train. This is no problem it will follow automatically.
Start with answering short mails in Dutch. Generally they are only a few lines long so they won’t consume all of your precious time. Later you can always produce longer texts. When you start writing short e-mails you will also have the chance that your recipient pick up the effort you’re doing and compliments you on this. It will give you a boost to do it more often.
How Dutch Language Classes can help you to improve your Dutch skills:
Dutch Language Classes is a conversation based Dutch training project that really makes you to speak Dutch. This doesn’t mean we only work on your speaking skills. We help you to improve your Dutch by combining the different skills in a natural way.
Once we have found out what you want to achieve in Dutch we’ll think about materials that fit you the best. If that would be engineering vocabulary we’ll look for articles and audio or video fragments about this topic. Once we’ve made sure you have the basic vocabulary you can even pick them yourself. We’ll help you with challenging parts and ask you to tell us what you learned. This way reading, listening and speaking are already being combined. If you need to work on your Dutch skills for writing too you can write us short summaries and we’ll give you constructive feedback on it.
This is the best way to improve your Dutch skills in a tailored course, we can work on your specific interests and it goes fast.
One of our students writes this about this way of working:
“At the beginning I roughly spoke two words of Dutch and I tried to help myself with French. During the training we discussed politics and economics and so I learned a lot of vocabulary. Now I am able to read De Standaard and to discuss about actual topics in Dutch. Discussing a lot helped me to increase my vocabulary each week. The trainer always encouraged me to try out. The mix of the training between small games, articles and discussion helped me to learn Dutch while having fun.” (Markus W. – see the testimonial).
Do you want to improve your Dutch skills in this complete, natural and tailored way too? Contact us and get a FREE half an hour of preliminary training. We can use it to check your specific level and needs and help you to reach your goals in Dutch.