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, you have to do some or all of these:
- imagine a scene in your head
- understand clearly what the writer is trying to say
- agree or disagree with the writer
Advantages of Reading
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
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.
A Model For Writing
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.
Seeing "Correctly Structured" English
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.
Working At Your Own Speed
can read as fast or as slowly as you like. You can read ten pages in 30
minutes, or take one hour to explore just one page. It doesn't matter.
The choice is yours. You cannot easily do this when speaking or
listening. This is one of the big advantages of reading because
different people work at different speeds.
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
Five Tips for Reading
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
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.
Instead, try to guess their meaning as you read; mark them with a pen;
then come back when you have finished reading to check in a dictionary
and add them to your vocabulary book.
Try to read
regularly. For example, read for a short time once a day. Fifteen
minutes every day is better than two hours every Sunday. Fix a time to
read and keep to it. For example, you could read for fifteen minutes
when you go to bed, or when you get up, or at lunchtime.
Be organised. Have everything ready:
- something to read
- a marker to highlight difficult words
- a dictionary
- your vocabulary book
- a pen to write down the new words
Read what interests YOU. Choose a magazine or book about a subject that you like.
Things to Read
can find English-language newspapers in all large cities around the
world. Newspapers are interesting because they are about real life and
the news. BUT they are not easy to read. Try reading newspapers if your
level is intermediate or above.
Some British newspapers:
- The Telegraph
- The Times
- The Independent
- The Guardian
- The Financial Times (business)
- The Sunday Times
Some American newspapers:
- The International Herald Tribune
- The New York Times
- The Wall Street Journal (business)
magazines are published weekly, some monthly. You can find
English-language magazines in many large cities around the world. If you
cannot find the magazine you want in your town, you may be able to
order it for delivery. Many magazines have pictures which can help your
understanding. You will need an intermediate level for most magazines,
but a pre-intermediate level may be ok for some magazines.
There are magazines on every subject:
- The House
Books are divided mainly into:
- Non-fiction (history, biography, travel, cooking etc)
- Fiction (stories and novels)
Some books are easier
to read than others. It often depends on the author. Agatha Christie,
for example, wrote in an easier style and with simpler vocabulary than
Stephen King. You can buy books in specialised English-language
bookshops in large cities around the world. You may also be able to find
some English-language books in libraries. And if you have a British Council in your city, you can borrow many English-language books from their library.
stories can be a good choice when learning a language because they
are...short. It's like reading a whole book in a few pages. You have all
the excitement of a story in a book, but you only have to read 5,000 or
10,000 words. So you can quite quickly finish the story and feel that
you have achieved something. Short stories are published in magazines,
in books of short stories, and on the Internet. You can also find short
stories at EnglishClub.com English Reading.
are books that are specially published to be easy to read. They are
short and with simple vocabulary. They are usually available at
different levels, so you should be able to find the right level for you.
Many readers are stories by famous authors in simple form. This is an
excellent way for you to start practising reading.
"Cornflakes Packets", we mean any product you can buy that has English
writing on or with it. If you buy a box of chocolates, or a new camera,
why not read the description or instructions in English? There are many
such examples, and they all give you an opportunity to read real
- airline tickets
- cans or packets of food
- bottles of drink
- tapes and CDs
- user guides for videos, computers...
Good luck with your reading. It will help you make a lot of Progress!