30-day English Challenge

The 30-Day English Challenge

Can I really improve my English in 30 days?

Yes, you can! The 30-Day English Challenge is designed to improve your speaking, writing, fluency and confidence by following simple, yet meaningful daily tasks.

How does it work?

The idea behind a 30-day English challenge is simple. Your English will improve quickly because you will be thinking in English. Thinking in your second language is not easy to do, but it will help you improve faster. By the end of the month, you will be thinking in English for as much as 90 minutes a day. That’s a total of over 18 hours in English!

The activities throughout the challenge are easy to follow, and you’ve probably done many of them already in your first language. You can jump right in to Day 1 whenever you feel ready.

What do I need?

You will need 3 things to complete the 30-day challenge:

  • a new notebook and pen
  • the 30-Day Calendar (download PDF below)
  • a lot of determination!

Anything called a “challenge” should never be too easy. Whether it’s for doing sit-ups, going vegan, or learning a second language, monthly challenges are designed to push you to new levels, and do some things that might be new or different for you. It’s all part of the learning process.

If a 30-Day English challenge sounds a little intimidating, remember this: there’s no one judging you except YOU! If you miss a day, don’t give up. Just start again where you left off. If you enjoy a particular activity, do it more often! It’s up to you how far you want this challenge to go, but I’m hoping you can go the distance with us. You have all my support and encouragement.

How do I start?

Step 1: Download the calendar below. It includes live links to each daily challenge.

Step 2: Continue reading! You will find resources, tips, and helpful links to complete the challenge.

Step 3: Post your challenge photos to Instagram at #30dayEnglishchallenge and tag TalkinTownEnglish. At the end of the month, we will give a special prize to the person who completes the most challenges. Enjoy and good luck!

Day 1: Write a letter to your future self

Time: 5 mins
Targets: Writing

Write a letter to the person you would like to be at the end of the 30-day challenge. Write down the things you hope to accomplish. Be specific. Do you want to improve your grammar, reading or writing? Are you more focused on pronunciation? Maybe you want to feel more confident. Whatever your language goals are, take a few minutes to write them down. At the end of the challenge, you can read your letter again. You may be surprised at your success!

WRITE a letter to your future self

SEND your email to your future self

Day 2: Read your horoscope

Time: 5 mins
Targets: Reading, Speaking, Vocabulary

What’s your astrology sign? Horoscopes and astrology are fun ways to talk about our personalities. How do you pronounce your sign in English? Read your horoscope out loud to practice pronunciation. Translate any new vocabulary you encounter. If you enjoy reading your daily horoscope, subscribe to a daily reading of your horoscope and do it every day for the rest of the challenge. You might even find love, luck, or money! Think: Did you get good advice? Is it believable?

Click here to find your horoscope based on your Zodiac sign

Day 3: Listen to a famous poem

Time: 10 mins
Targets: Listening, Pronunciation

Poetry is a special kind of language. It connects feelings and memories with powerful words. Here’s a list of my favorite 5 poems that are great examples of passion mixed with beautiful language. Think: What ideas are represented in these poems? How do they make you feel?

  1. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
  2. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
  3. The Rainy Day by H. W. Longfellow
  4. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Hope is The Thing With Feathers by Emily Dickinson

Day 4: Take some online personality quizzes

Time: 15 mins
Targets: Reading, Vocabulary

Who are you? What are your strong points and talents? What’s your personality type? These tests can help you determine career paths and lifestyles you may not even be aware of. They can help you understand your own strengths and weakness and how to improve. The questions are full of useful personality vocabulary, too.

Take your free personality test at 16personalities.com

Day 5: Listen to a guided meditation

Time: 15 mins
Targets: Listening, Mindfulness, Vocabulary

Take time to de-stress! Prepare a quiet, comfortable place to sit, and let the guide lead you for 16 minutes of total relaxation. 

Day 6: Sing along to 3 favorite songs

Time: 15 mins
Targets: Listening, Fluency

What’s your favorite English song? Choose a song you know well. First, try to write the words by listening to the song. Then check your work by looking up the lyrics online. Correct any mistakes you made, and translate the lyrics if you need to to find the meaning. Then listen one more time and sing along to the lyrics you wrote. You’ll be ready the next time karaoke night comes around!

Here’s a great place to start your lyrics search

Don’t feel bad if you can’t catch every word! Even native speakers get surprises when we look up the actual words.

Day 7: Watch a Ted Talk about language

Time: 20 mins
Targets: Listening, Vocabulary

Ted Talks are a fantastic way to stay up to date with current trends in science and technology. Visit the website’s wonderful collection of language-themed topics. Then sit back and enjoy a good monologue. Lydia Machova’s TED talk (posted above) explains the secret to learning new languages from polyglots around the world. I highly recommend checking it out.

Find a TED talk on language here

Day 8: Write about your hobby

Time: 20 mins
Targets: Vocabulary, Writing

Whether it’s something you do, or something you would like to do one day, describe the activity, and explain what interests you about it. Make a list of vocabulary words that are specific to your hobby. For example, if your hobby is taking photos, include equipment terms like shutter, lens, tripod, and flash. Aim to write about 150 words on your hobby.

Need help choosing? Here’s a list of great hobbies to get into

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Day 9: Read the weather report like a meteorologist

Time: 15 mins
Targets: Reading, Speaking

Watch a video of a weather report in the US. Look up any words you do not understand and jot them down in your notebook. Then read the weather report again. Try to copy the speed and stress patterns of a weather reporter speaking on TV.

Get today’s weather here

Day 10: Listen to a famous speech

Time: 20 mins
Targets: Listening, Fluency

Do you have a favorite leader, inventor, or visionary? Find a speech by a person you admire and give it a listen. Listen again while reading the words. Think about the tone of their voice and the message behind their speech. Here are some great examples to get you started.

Remember the “Wear Sunscreen” speech? Never forget it!

Day 11: Make a deck of flashcards

Time: 25 mins
Targets: Memory

Make a list of words that you have recently learned and need to practice. For nouns, include singular and plural forms. For verbs, include past/present/future. Cut heavy paper into small rectangles and write your words on each piece, or grab a pack of index cards. If you’re not the creative type, order a deck of ready-made study cards to help you practice. For best results, flip through your cards at least 2 or 3 times per week.

Day 12: Watch a video about your hobby

Time: 25 mins
Targets: Vocabulary, Listening

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Do you play sports or a musical instrument? Some people like to garden or watch birds, while some people make art, clothing or furniture. Some people like to fish, and the list goes on and on. Whatever your hobby is (or a hobby you might like to try doing) you can find instructions and information about that activity in a YouTube video. Look up a hobby, and maybe you can refine your skills by watching.

Looking for hobbies for men? Here are 50 things men might like to do

Day 13: Memorize 3 jokes or tongue-twisters

Time: 25 mins
Targets: Memory, Pronunciation

Learning jokes in a second language can make you feel accomplished and will help break the ice with other native speakers. Dad jokes are excellent to learn because they’re silly and simple, but guaranteed to make people smile. Tongue-twisters are another excellent way to practice pronunciation. My favorite tongue-twisters come fro ma book called Oh Say Can You Say by Dr. Seuss. There are many other collections available online.

63 best dad jokes are all here!

50 Tongue Twisters to improve pronunciation in English

Day 14: Watch some episodes of The Twilight Zone

Time: 30 mins
Targets: Listening, Fluency

The Twilight Zone was a science-fiction TV show from the 1960s. Each episode contains a short story with a strange ending. The special effects are basic, but the language is slow, clear, and simple: perfect for English study. They are entertaining to watch, and an important addition to mid-century American television production. Grab some popcorn and close the curtains. The Twilight Zone is not a normal experience! Many episodes are available to watch for free on YouTube and Netflix.

Day 15: Write about your job or studies

Time: 30 mins
Targets: Writing

You’re halfway through the challenge! Keep up the good work.

Speaking of work, what do you do for a living? If you’re a student, what are you studying? What are your future career goals, and what are some of your biggest accomplishments so far? Do you enjoy your job and/or classes? Why or why not? Take 30 minutes to write about your job or studies.

Here’s a helpful guide on writing a job description with examples

Day 16: Read reviews of the last movie you saw

Time: 30 mins
Targets: Vocabulary, Reading

Everyone has an opinion! Think about a movie you’ve seen, and find some reviews online. Did most people like it? What was best about the film: the story, the acting, the costumes, or the music? See what others have to say about it. Try to read at least one positive review and one negative review so you can discover extra vocabulary.

Read reviews of the last movie you saw on Rotten Tomatoes

Day 17: Take 3 online listening tests

Time: 40 mins
Targets: Listening, Fluency

There are many sites that offer free listening tests. Do a quick search, or check out some available IELTS listening practice tests here. Another great site for listening practice is breakingnewsenglish.com. English teachers across the world flock to this site for lessons based on news articles. The lessons include listening at various speeds in both British and American English. You can search for lessons by topic, and there are thousands of them. The site adds new lessons daily, so be sure to visit regularly.

Day 18: Follow an exercise video

Time: 40 mins
Targets: Kinesthetics, Listening, Vocabulary

Get ready to work your body as well as your mind! Practice the names of body parts and directions as you gain fitness. Wear comfortable clothes and set up your screen in a safe place where you have plenty of space to move around. Then start your workout video and follow along. You can choose to do yoga, pilates, aerobics, or whatever your body is craving!

Why not add a 30-day exercise challenge to your daily routine? Here are a few of my favorite exercise challenge videos.

30 Day Pilates Body Challenge: The Balanced Life Pilates with Robin Long

Home Workout Challenge with Holly Dolke

After your workout (and shower) see if you can remember and write down any new exercise phrases you learned. You might be a little sore tomorrow, but as they say: “No pain, no gain!”

Day 19: Prepare a meal using a recipe

Time: 40 mins
Targets: Reading, Vocabulary

You don’t need to cook a 5-star meal. Start with something you already know how to make: a sandwich, pasta, or an omelette. Google your recipe and choose one that looks simple and delicious. If you have a cookbook in English, that will work too (with fewer distractions). Always review the recipe first to make sure you have all the ingredients and understand all the measurements and directions. If you are cooking for two or more people, try explaining your dish in English as you serve it. Enjoy your English meal!

Here are some quick meal ideas to get started

Day 20: Attend a conversation class online

Time: 45 mins
Targets: Speaking, Fluency

There are lots of free conversation classes to join out there! Look for English conversation groups on facebook, and find live events that you can attend. You’ll meet other learners and gain exposure to real-life speaking activities.

Join Talkin’ Town’s Public Group on Facebook!

Day 21: Watch a travel video of your hometown or country

Time: 45 mins
Targets: Listening, Speaking, Vocabulary

You know your home town well, but there’s always more to learn! Watching travel videos about your hometown is a great way to brush up on your history and learn some location-related vocabulary. What’s the history of your city? What are the most popular things to do, places to go, and foods to eat? You can watch the travel video of my beautiful city, San Diego, California. Come visit soon!

Day 22: Write a “Thank You” note to someone you love

Time: 45 mins
Targets: Writing

It’s always good to be grateful. Maybe someone has given you a nice gift or extended and act of kindness. Or you just might want to show appreciation for something special in your life. Tell the people you love that theyare important to you with a thoughtful thank-you note. Use the link below to help you along.

How to write a thoughtful and sincere Thank-You note

Day 23: Read a biography

Time: 45 mins
Targets: Reading, Vocabulary

Is there a person who you admire? A person who inspires you? Find out more about their early life, challenges, and accomplishments in their biography. Ducksters.com has an abundance of famous people you can learn about. Visit the website, scroll down the list and pick someone you would like to learn more about. For extra speaking practice, read the biography out loud. For extra writing practice, write a letter to the person you read about. What would you say to them? What questions would you ask?

Find your person on Duckster’s

Day 24 : Listen to a podcast or radio show

Time: 60 mins
Targets: Listening, Fluency, Vocabulary

Spend an hour listening carefully to a podcast episode. Nation Public Radio (NPR) has many great programs to choose from. Listen to people tell their life stories, explain science, or debate conspiracies. Below are some of my favorite listening podcasts that English learners can really enjoy.

UFO’s, aliens, ghosts, spirits, and everything in between. If you like the paranormal and supernatural, Coast to Coast is definitely for you!

The Moth Radio Hour is for normal, everyday people to step up to the microphone and tell a story from their lives. You never know what story they might tell!

If you’re a total language nerd, you will definitely enjoy A Way With Words on National Public Radio (NPR) It’s all about language and how we use it. Folks call in with their questions about English. Maybe you’ll call in too one day!

Day 25: Write a bucket list of 25 things you want to do

Time: 60 mins
Targets: Writing, Vocabulary

A slang expression used to describe someone who has died is “he/she kicked the bucket.” From that idiom came the concept of creating a “Bucket List,” which is a list of things you would hope to accomplish before you pass away.

Some Bucket List Ideas to Get Started

Get your Bucket List Printable Template

Day 26: Play some online language games

Time: 60 mins
Targets: Vocabulary, Grammar

Word games are a great way to learn. Do you know how to play Scrabble? Words with Friends is the most popular online version of the game that you can play with friends or other users. The app will match you with players who are at your same level, so it is a fair competition and a great way to add some excitement to your 30-day challenge!

Get Words With Friends 2 here from Zynga

Check out some of these cute video games for English practice

Day 27: Make an “About Me” video

Time: 60 mins
Targets: Writing, Speaking

An “About Me” video tells people who you are, where your from, and what you have to offer. It’s useful to have when you apply for a job or are starting your own business or website. You don’t have to write your whole life story, but you can if you want to! Prepare some talking points, and then set up your phone or computer to record yourself. It’s never easy to watch ourselves on camera, so if you’re feeling shy, just use a voice recorder. After you finish, don’t watch the recording right away. Come back a few days later and give it a listen. Pay attention to your volume and speed. Note and errors you might have made. Think of improvements. When you are ready, try making the video again. You’re sure to improve after a couple tries!

Here’s a helpful guide to creating an About Me video

Day 28: Watch a Broadway Musical

Time: 90 mins
Targets: Listening, Speaking, Fluency, Memory

A musical is a type of movie or performance that tells a story and yes, has lots of singing and dancing. Most Disney films are musicals, along with other popular films like The Wizard of Oz, The Phantom of the Opera, and of course, Grease. Musicals are bursting with culture and charm. The songs are enchanting and become deeply ingrained in our language and hearts. I recommend watching every popular musical ever to hit Broadway or the silver screen, but for a first-time watch, my top choice would have to be West Side Story. It’s a classic Romeo and Juliet love story about a man and a woman who fall in love but can’t be together because they are from two different cultures. Although the original movie came out over 60 years ago, the language and story are still meaningful and moving.

Here’s a list of 35 greatest musicals of all time

Day 29: Translate an interview with a family member

Time: 60 mins
Targets: Writing, Speaking

Choose a family member to interview. Prepare by writing 5-6 questions for them to answer. Conduct and record the interview on video or audio. Afterwards, listen to it and translate their answers into English. Share an English copy with the person you interviewed.

Here are 10 Tips for Interviewing a Family Member

Day 30: Read the script of the musical you watched

Time: 90 mins +
Targets: Reading, Speaking

Which musical did you watch on Day 28? If you enjoyed it, look up the script online. The script is a great way to practice conversation and dialogue. You can read it like a book, or you can practice acting out some of your favorite scenes with a friend.

This site has the scripts for hundreds of musicals, including West Side Story!

CONGRATULATIONS!

You have completed the 30-Day English Challenge! You practiced English for a total of over 20 hours 1,205 minutes) of English practice in 30 days!

So what now?

First, go ahead and read the letter you wrote to yourself on Day 1. Are you happy with the results? Did you notice any improvement from that day? Great! You can be proud of your progress.

Guess what? The 30-Day Challenge doesn’t have to end here. I hope that some of these daily challenges will become part of your daily routine. Keep using those flashcards you made on Day 11, and listen to more podcasts like you did on Day 24. You can always restart the challenge all over again. Share it with a friend and do the challenge together. It’s twice the fun and twice the fluency.

Leave a comment below and tell me how your challenge is going!

*This 30-Day Challenge is dedicated to my mom, who always motivates me to be the best I can be, every day of the year. Thanks mom!

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