Should you learn spoken English first, or written English? Should you focus on speaking, listening, reading, or writing,… or try to do them all equally?
Many students are overwhelmed by too many English learning goals. They want to learn spoken English. They want to read faster. They want to write perfectly. They want instant understanding.
All of those are great goals. However, there is an ideal order to learning English. Its best to take things step by step– mastering each step before moving to the next one.
For a guide, I believe it’s best to follow the natural order of language learning seen with small children.
That means, you should first focus on oral English before you worry too much about written English.
In other words, become a fluent speaker before you attempt to improve your writing skills. Oral, spoken English will give you the foundation you need to improve quickly as a reader and writer.
Also, by focusing on spoken English first, you build a solid foundation of correct pronunciation. Since spoken English is so fast, you will tend to learn it more subconsciously– and thus more deeply. Text is too easy to analyze. Students who focus on text usually take a very analytical, conscious, grammar-focused approach. As a result, they rarely learn to speak well.
But students who master spoken English become great readers and writers. They learn deeply. They start with solid grammar and pronunciation. Thus, reading becomes easy for them…. and writing too.
So master spoken English first. It’s fine to read too, but most of your time and energy should be focused on listening to authentic English speech. That is the most powerful and efficient way to learn.