Through effective communication, an individual interacts with the world around her. Communication and literacy are the central focus of English class studies, as these skills are seen as important both in the workplace and socially. While the skills are often studied extensively in school, some still struggle with speaking and reading effectively. If you wish to improve your communication and literacy skills, you can do so with some simple and painless exercises designed to help you interact with the world around you.

Read extensively. Reading helps build your vocabulary, enhance your sentence-structure abilities and improve your overall communication skills. As you read, you will become more comfortable with the English language and be able to use it more confidently both in oral communication and written work.

Practice active listening. When you listening actively, you pay close attention to what the speaker is saying to you and try to absorb the information conveyed. Many people overlook the importance of listening in the process of effective communication. If you fail to listen carefully, you cannot engage in a meaningful exchange of information. To listen actively, make eye contact with the speaker, tune out everything else around you and repeat what he is saying to you in your head after he says it.

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Use an internal monologue to guide you as you speak. Before you begin speaking, you should rehearse what you are going to say within your head. If you fail to do this, your response will likely be a long and rambling string of utterances with no real meaning. Before responding to someone or beginning a conversation, pause and consider what you are going to say and how you are going to go about saying it. This practice is also useful in preventing you from saying something that you shouldn't; when you rehearse what you are going to say in your head, you have time to consider the appropriateness of your response and adjust accordingly.

Record information about your communication and literacy in a journal. At the end of each day, compose a short journal entry in which you report your communication and reading attempts from that day. If you read a newspaper article, write a summary of what it said. If you engaged in an exciting conversation, discuss the merits of the exchange. When you think about these communication and literacy episodes after they have occurred, reflect upon the skills you are developing and make your efforts more effective.

Talk about what you read. Join a book club, or partner with a friend or family member to engage in literary discussions. Discussing a written work is a supremely effective way to improve both your literacy and communication skills.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.