Why do you read in English? Do you do it for pleasure? For work? Or do you read because you need to answer a question – from your teacher or on an English test? For many students, this last reason is most common.
People use different reading skills for different situations. For example, if you’re bored and looking through a magazine, you’re going to read differently than if you’re trying to answer questions on the IELTS.
In this post, we’re going to look at the kind of reading you do when you’re taking a test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. Understanding the kinds of questions you’re going to be asked will help you understand the strategies you need to answer them.
To put it another way, knowing why you’re reading can help you understand how to read.
I spend most of my work days helping students try to get abroad to university though the International Foundation Year (IFY) Programme at Language Link. Something I’ve noticed from the students I encounter is their lack of awareness of world news.
To help them with this, I implemented a current events summary assignment. Each week students have to do the following:
- Find an article that interests them (politics, sports, fashion)
- Condense (summarise) the article into 150-200 words
- Submit it to me for lexical and grammatical feedback
The real purpose of the assignment was to create general awareness in this ever-expanding global world. If you’re going to study abroad, you need to understand the world you live in.
Many students think of reading as a classroom activity. But you can read anywhere! First, let’s look at why reading is a good thing:
- You discover new English words (vocabulary)
- You notice how sentences work in English (grammar)
- You recognize the rhythm of English sentences, and notice when things don’t “sound” right
- You can find out about other cultures
- You feel confident about your reading skills!
Here are some easy tips for getting better at reading.