Right now you are reading English. That means that you are using your brain in a very active way. Reading is a very active process. It is true that the writer does a lot of work, but the reader also has to work hard. When you read a text it takes time and patience as it’s not always easy reading in a foreign language, but with enough patience and with time you will improve and will finally be reading novels in English.
When you learn a language, listening, speaking and writing are important, but reading can also be very helpful. There are many advantages associated with reading, including:
Learning Vocabulary In Context
You will usually encounter new words when you read. If there are too many new words for you, then the level is too high and you should read something simpler. But if there are, say, a maximum of five new words per page, you will learn this vocabulary easily.
You may not even need to use a dictionary because you can guess the meaning from the rest of the text (from the context). Not only do you learn new words, but you see them being used naturally.
This is useful to apply when talking to native speakers. You might not understand all the words but you will get better at interpreting the meaning from the rest of the information.
When you read, it gives you a good example for writing. Texts that you read show you structures and expressions that you can use when you write.
When people write, they usually use “correct” English with a proper grammatical structure. This is not always true when people speak. So, by reading you see and learn grammatical English naturally.
Reading will slowly make you memorize correct tenses, new ways of structuring your work and a more poetic way of putting words on paper.
If you choose something to read that you like, it can actually be interesting and enjoyable. For example, if you like to read about football in your own language, why not read about football in English? You will get information about football and improve your English at the same time.
For more information on why having fun is important to learning, check this post out!
Five Tips for Reading
Try to read at the right level. Read something that you can (more or less) understand. If you need to stop every three words to look in a dictionary, it is not interesting for you and you will soon be discouraged.
Make a note of new vocabulary. If there are four or five new words on a page, write them in your vocabulary book. But you don’t have to write them while you read. Why not try to guess their meaning as you read? Afterwards, you can check if you were right by using your dictionary.
Try to read regularly. Fix a time and stick to it. A good time is Sunday afternoon, with a cup of tea!
Be organised. Have everything ready:
- the material you are going to read
- a marker to highlight words you don’t understand
- a dictionary
- a pencil to write down the words you have learnt and their meaning
You can write the meaning in the book or choose to have a special vocabulary notebook.
Read what interests YOU. Choose a magazine or book about a subject that you like. From magazine to the newspaper, blogs or short stories, you can pick whatever you enjoy the most. Remember: learning with pleasure is more effective.
So… what are you waiting for? You can start reading HERE.