The best way to improve your writing and speaking is to read good writers and listen to good speakers! Today I’d like to spotlight three great reading and listening sources for more advanced English learners. All three of them contain a lot of academic English. And all three of them provide RSS feeds so you can feast on more great ideas and good English every time they add something new.
The American Scholar (TAS) is a quarterly journal (published every three months). It’s filled with articles by and about some of the greatest thinkers of yesterday and today. Their articles focus on current events, politics, history, science, culture, and the arts.
One of my favorite writers, William Zinsser, writes regularly about writing, the arts, and popular culture for TAS. I recently recommended his book, Writing to Learn, as another good source for academic English.
TAS is in the process of putting previous issues online. When I checked, I found the last 24 issues. That’s a lot of great reading!
I don’t always agree with everything that David Brooks writes, but I always appreciate his careful thought and excellent writing. He writes two columns every week about current events and American culture. New York Magazine recently ran an interesting profile (a short article about someone) of Brooks.
TED provides a growing collection of short – 20 minutes or less – videos on important contemporary topics by many of the world’s leading thinkers, speakers, and artists. There is, literally, something for everyone at TED.
For someone who wants to develop their academic English, TED provides great variety, and each video is accompanied by a complete transcript. When you go to a video, you’ll see a link that says “Open interactive transcript” on the right side of the video. When you click on the link, the transcript opens so you can listen and read at the same time. If you want to move forward or backward in the video, you can click on the sentence you want to go to, and the video will automatically go to that sentence.
RSS stands for “really simple syndication.” If you haven’t used RSS, it’s an easy way to have new material delivered to your computer whenever it is put onto the Internet. I use Google Reader to follow my RSS feeds.
Here are the RSS feeds for each of the three sources I’ve described:
Setting up an RSS feed in Google Reader is very easy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Copy the RSS feed you want to subscribe to.
- Go to Google Reader and click on “Add a subscription.”
- Paste the RSS feed into the subscription box.
- Click on “Add.”
In the future, whenever you open Google Reader, you will see the latest material – videos, articles, blog posts, etc. – from the sources you subscribed to.