READING and WRITING a foreign language are analytical skills. You may be good at these if you are a logical person who attends to detail. Train yourself through practice to notice and remember details such as accents and gender agreement.
READING SKILLS TIPS:
First, read the vocabulary list for the assignment. Next, read the questions about the reading. Then read all the way through a new passage two or three times, guessing at meaning from context. Avoid word-by-word translation. It is a waste of time!
WRITING SKILLS TIPS:
Pay attention to detail: notice accents, order of letters, etc. Compare letter-by-letter different forms (singular, plural, gender, etc.). Write out conjugations of verbs, declensions of pro-nouns, etc., and check your endings. Memorize irregular verbs.
LISTENING and SPEAKING are performance skills. You may do well at these if you are naturally outgoing. Students in foreign language classes often have difficulty hearing and speaking because they are anxious about making mistakes. It's OK to make mistakes! Have fun trying to speak!
LISTENING SKILLS TIPS:
Frequent the language lab. Read the exercises in your book first; then listen and read together; then listen without looking at the print. Say aloud/write what you hear.
Listen while a friend dictates to you and write what you hear. Check for accuracy.
Practice: join language clubs, watch foreign TV, listen to foreign radio.
SPEAKING SKILLS TIPS:
Study out loud! Mimic the sounds of the language. Don't mumble. Although most people feel embarrassed making strange sounds, the language will soon feel more familiar to you.