How can I get fluency in speaking English?

I have been studying English as a second language for roughly 15 years now. As such, I have some tips that could help you. However, before I give them, I’d like to give you a warning regarding fluency.

Unfortunately, Non-native learners ,unless they were children when they began (like I was), cannot reach native-level fluency. However, don’t despair. Non-native learners can achieve a good level of fluency *faster* than native speakers—they just cap at that level, whereas native speakers continue to improve. You see, native speakers have to learn how to learn a language before they can learn a language, because it’s the first language they’re trying to learn.
Non-native speakers, meanwhile, already know how to learn a language—from when they learnt their own native language—and, as a result, they can learn another language to a respectable degree in less time. It’s the reason why some foreigners can live in a country for six months, and speak the language (albeit slowly and with an accent); whereas native speakers take years, as babies, to speak it.

As such, don’t expect your fluency to rise to native-level. Instead, aim for noticeable improvements that you could achieve if you follow, properly and consistently, the following steps:

1. Read analytically. And read a lot.

a. By “Read analytically,” I mean that you should read books in English while keeping track of:

1) the things you understand perfectly,

2) the things you understand through the context, and

3) the things you didn’t understand. By doing this, you get to see the words English speakers use and know, proper grammar, and common phrases; you can pick up new words through context; and you can also check your strengths and weaknesses. As a result, you increase your vocabulary, you get a sense of what grammatically correct English looks like, and you find problem areas to address.

b. The more you read, the larger the sample size—allowing you to learn more while detecting constant weaknesses.

c. Try to read stuff that is challenging, but doable. If you haven’t understood most of the first three to five pages, switch to an easier text and try again. Do this until you find a text that you mostly understand, but that still poses a challenge to your current level. This way, you keep improving your reading level—especially once you start moving upwards in difficulty.

d. For example, if you notice that you’re understanding most of the words, but not their grammatical order, then you know that you have to focus on reviewing and/or learning English grammar.

2. Use mnemonics.

a. Mnemonics are a type of memorization strategy, in which you relate ideas you know to ideas you don’t. An easy example of a mnemonic is a connection between the idea of a “textbook” with a “notebook.” They’re both books with pages inside them—but are used for different purposes. Now, you have a clear relationship between these two ideas, that you can use to remember both at the same time: instead of memorizing two separate ideas, you can memorize one thing—the connection. The ones you build don’t have to be as straightforward—in fact, silly ones are sometimes better—but they have to be memorable. What this helps you do is use the things you know to learn the things you don’t. In other words, you build on your fluency by using previous knowledge as a foundation for new knowledge.

b. You can use this for grammar rules (e.g. “oh, this rule is also true for my native language” or “oh, my language does this in reverse”), or for vocabulary (see the example above).

3. Practice, practice, practice.

a. A simple thing you can do is start by saying the things you do in your daily routine. Are you showering? Then say, “I am showering.” add as much detail as possible. If you can, say something beyond “I am showering,” like “I am showering because I have to go to school, but I can’t go to school unless I’m clean.” Do this for as many activities as humanly possible.

b. However, make sure that you notice when you are mispronouncing or committing mistakes. If you’re using the Spanish “r” when you say “showering,” notice that and change it. Mindless practice is useless; mindful practice, in which you constantly think about what you’re doing, is useful.

c. The same advice applies to listening. You have some free time? Listen to an English song, and focus on understanding what the person is saying; or go on Youtube, and listen to an English speaker talk about whatever you’re interested about.

I think that those three tips can go a pretty decent way in improving your fluency. However, don’t think that they’ll work instantly, and don’t think that I’ve mentioned all that there is to mention.