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.
- Advertisements and brochures (they’re everywhere in Vietnam now!)
- Menus in a restaurant
- Newspaper Headlines (when you pass them in a shop)
- Subtitles on a video or DVD
- Instructions on food packets
- Recipes for cooking
- News and magazine articles in print or on the Web
- Blogs about your favourite celebrity or band
Err…did you notice any books in that list? Nope. You can practise reading without any books. Best of all, it’s cheap!
But sometimes, books are a good choice – and not just your English course books! If you’re an advanced English speaker, you can read books that are written for native speakers. But if you’re still learning, you may consider:
- Children’s books. The language will be simpler, and children’s stories teach you a LOT about culture.
- Graded Readers. These are books that have been written for English learners. Often, they are famous English stories with simplified language. You can find them online, at most bookstores, and in the library at any Language Link school.
- Free Online Books. There are hundreds of websites where you can download free books online for e-Readers such as the Kindle and iPad. Just Google “free online books”, and in seconds you’ll have thousands of books you can read for free!
Tips for Reading
The following suggestions may help you get started on a lifelong program of reading:
- Read what interests you. If you like sports, read sports on the BBC; if you like fashion, find a fashion blog. Do it for fun, and it will not feel like work!
- Vary your reading. Internet one day, a newspaper or magazine the next, etc.
- Make reading a habit. Try and spend at least 15 minutes a day reading anything that interests you.
- Build up gradually. When 15 minutes isn’t long enough for what you want to read, move on up!
- Stop when you’re bored. Don’t try and read too much. You’ll get tired that way and stop before you get into a good habit of reading.
Reading is something you can do on your own to improve your English, without a teacher. It is inexpensive – often free! Learn to love reading, and this will help you succeed in school, work, and life.
What do you think? Do you enjoy reading? Do you hate it? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!!