Hello everyone! Welcome to Learn English Fun Way!
Have your English teachers ever told you to read as much as you can in English? Have they told you that it’s a great way to build your vocabulary, and to see how words are used in context in English?
Certainly, we absolutely agree!
But what can you do to improve your reading skills in English so that you can become a better reader and actually start enjoying it? That is exactly what this lesson is all about!
Now there are a ton of benefits to reading English texts.
You’re going to build your vocabulary as you learn new words. But you’ll be learning those words together in chunks, as well as together in sentences so that you can learn how to use them correctly, and the words that they’re often used with. You’ll also experience how words express tone and feeling through the interactions between characters. So tone in writing is the author’s attitude, and this is an incredibly useful way to learn how to choose the right words to express feeling and emotion in English.So our first question for you today is “Do you like reading English texts?”
If your answer’s yes, what English text do you like to read? Or even better, what English book are you reading right now?
We’d love to see some recommendations in the comments so if you’ve got a good one, share it below!
But if your answer to this question is no, why do you think that is? Maybe you don’t really love reading even in your own native language. Then, reading in English is probably going to be even more painful, right? But maybe you prefer watching movies or listening to podcasts – something like that. Perhaps you get frustrated because you feel like reading is a chore, and you really need to improve your skills before you can start actually enjoying reading. Or maybe you’re an active person and you just don’t like sitting still and reading a book.
In this article, we are going to be sharing some really useful tips to help you improve your reading skills. Now, let’s get started!
1, Read more
This one might seem completely obvious but we have to mention it. You’re not going to improve your reading without reading, as that is the same for so many things in life. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
This might take you a little effort at first. To get to that point, you might need to say to yourself: “Alright every day, at six o’clock in the evening, I’m going to spend fifteen minutes reading”. So you will do it every night. Science has shown that it takes twenty-one days to make something a habit. So if you do it consistently for twenty-one days, you’ll have a good chance of bringing daily reading practice into your life. And it can help to create a little ritual around the activity, so do it on the train on the way to work or go and lie in the sunshine.
2, Choose carefully
Now, there’s a good chance that you’re thinking: “But what should I read?” Well, choose what you read carefully. The easy part of this decision is just choosing topic or a genre that you like. If you love reading soppy, romantic novels – do it!
Quit thinking that something has to be educational for you to learn as it’s just not true. If you love reading comics, that’s fine too! You can try and choose a comic that’s got a little more text in it for a little more reading. Or you can choose one of those really awesome illustrated books for teenagers. But the story lines in those books should be fun and entertaining and there should be images that help you to engage in the story as well. It’s going to make your reading practice much less of a chore.
Nobody wants to drag themselves through a book or a novel – a massive novel. Especially one that they don’t like. There’s just so much material out there for you to read that there is absolutely no reason to be reading something that you’re not into.
Pick something that interests you, whether it’s the sports section of the newspaper, or a mystery novel, or a nonfiction book about plants, it doesn’t matter at all. But what does matter is that you enjoy what you’re reading so that it encourages you to do it more.
One really common problem that can be seen among many English learners is that they’re too ambitious with their reading material. A pre-intermediate student reading Jane Austen novels, and that’s really a form of torture. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ has extremely advanced vocabulary and sarcasm and complex sentence structures. It could be really hard work to try and get to the end of a book like that. So you need to be looking at texts that are the right level for you, that help you to get through them.
If you just can’t stand reading pages and pages of text in a novel, you can read a daily blog post instead or a magazine article. It really doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you’re enjoying it. Or even if you like to read but you don’t want to lug around a notebook or a dictionary with you, then an e-reader is a really good option. You might just have Kindle downloaded on your phone so that all of your books come with you everywhere that you go. And this makes your practice really easy as you’ve got books with you all the time. And the cool thing is that e-readers help you to translate words or things really simply, just by touching the word on the screen. Therefore, that could be a good option and make it a little easier to get into a reading practice.
3, Read the same book
Read a book that you’ve already read in your own language.
Reading a book that you’ve already read once or even a few times in your own language can eliminate a lot of the hard work, painful work, when you’re reading a book in English.
Firstly, you already know that you’ll like the book. Secondly, you don’t have to worry about misunderstanding something or words that you’re unsure of. You’ll be able to fill in the gaps in your understanding from your previous knowledge. So since you already know the story, you won’t get stuck on the details. You’ll be able to focus on learning new words and expressions without having to look up all of the in-between words. And generally, it just makes the experience a bit more enjoyable, which is what we’re all about!
4, Don’t get stuck
You don’t have to get stuck on the details. It is great to test yourself, to look up words, and to read out loud sometimes. If you try to understand every single word in the book, you might never finish it, as it is going to be a lot of work to get there. Indeed, what you want to make sure that you understand is the main story line; therefore, if you aren’t sure of a word or two, but you understand the general idea of the sentence, then you can try and guess the meaning of the word and move on, you don’t have to know absolutely everything!
For you as an English beginners, if there are too many unknown words on the page, and you really don’t have a good idea of what’s happening in the story, then it is possible that this text is too advanced for you. So try reading something with less unknown words first. If a word seems really important or really interesting, but you’ve still got a bit of an idea of what’s going on in the story, then just circle it and move on, you can come back to it and look it up later. Don’t let it stop you.
These first tips that we went through will help you to get started, we want you to just commit to reading, to dive into a book and to really just focus on enjoying the journey. As we said before, reading in general is already going to be improving your English skills. But if you want to take a more proactive approach to reading, then the next few tips are going to help you to push your English skills a little further.
5, Read out loud
One of the most effective ways to learn anything is to combine different styles of learning. This is how we supercharge learning.
So for example, if you are reading something while listening to it, choosing your favourite book and then finding it on Audible. Audible has got over two hundred thousand books; therefore, the chances of you finding your favourites is pretty high. Then you could take it one step further. Read it while you’re listening to it and say the words at the same time. Doing all of this is supercharging your learning.
There are so many good things that are happening here at once. Your mind’s taking in information in multiple ways, your muscles in your mouth are remembering how to pronounce or how to make the sounds correctly because you’re listening to them at the same time.
6, Test yourself
We have given you quite a few tips already today but we want to give you a tip that is going to help you take your reading from pleasure into study.
Sometimes we just want to relax and unwind, but other times you might be ready to like roll up your sleeves and really dive in and understand how the language is being used. So when you’re in the mood, test yourself.
Even if you’re not reading next to a teacher, it doesn’t mean that you can’t pause to ask yourselves questions about the text and check that whether you have understood it correctly.
One way to do this is to open a book at a random page, read a paragraph, close the book, write down some of the key points that you remember from that paragraph and then go back and study it in detail. This is a really good way to practise your comprehension skills, even if you’re on your own, it is possible for you to do this.
There might be a word that you’ve not have heard of before. You don’t know the meaning of it, but instead of looking it up straight away, look at the words around it and try and guess what the meaning is before you check. Maybe you know the word, but you haven’t seen it used in that context before. So look it up. Try writing a sentence with this new definition. These types of questions that you ask yourself are going to help you check your understanding and then also go a little deeper into the text, and really make sure that you’ve understood it correctly.
It is the end of our lesson today! We hope that the tips that we shared in this lesson have given you some inspiration to keep working on your reading skills because there are so many benefits to regularly exposing yourself to English through text and different types of text. And above all else, we really want you to have fun with your English reading skills. Try to practice day by day so that one day you will receive fruitful results!
In order to get further explanation and practice your listening skills also, watch the video below. Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!
Credit: Youtube Channel “mmmEnglish”