Reading is an activity that keeps the brain very active. When we read we create a mental scene, comprehend what the writer is saying, and form an opinion about what is being said. There are many different mental processes taking place at once. This means that the reader actually has to do some work, especially if English is not their native language. However, for those learning the English language, reading in English can be very beneficial when improving their English language skills.
Reading English to improve English
When reading English to learn English, many new words are encountered. If too many new words are encountered, then the reading level may be too high at that particular moment and a book written for a lower level may be needed. Once the simpler book is completed and understood, then a book at a higher level can be taken on. To make learning less overwhelming, there should be no more than 5 new words per page in order for the new words to be easily understood. Having 5 new words at most will enable the reader to easily learn without the help of a dictionary and add those words to their vocabulary.
Reading books to learn English allows the reader to see English that is structured correctly, which will enable better communication through writing. It can be a little more difficult when speaking since speaking requires immediate retrieval. However, when writing, the writer can put thought into what they are trying to say before they write it on paper. In other words, they can go their own pace which rings true of the reading aspect as well. The reader can repeatedly read a sentence to get the meaning of a word or re-read an entire page if they need to.
How to get the most out of reading
There are several tips for those who are doing a lot of reading in order to learn English. These tips are:
o To ensure that reading is occurring at the right level. Reading at the wrong level can be very discouraging and damage the learning process. Stopping every three words and having to utilize a dictionary is the perfect recipe for discouragement.
o Writing down new vocabulary words can be extremely helpful. Better yet, create a notebook to write down new words, writing the new words down after the page or section is finished will prove more helpful. This way, the meaning of the words can be guessed. Marking them with a pen can make them easily identifiable when searching for them to write them down.
o Reading needs to be done every single day for about fifteen minutes either before bedtime, in the mornings, or during lunchtime.
o Be sure to have certain materials available for use: These items include reading material, a dictionary, a highlighter, a pen, and a notebook.
o The chosen book needs to be something that interests the reader because interesting subjects encourage reading. When reading is encouraged, the ability to learn English is enhanced substantially.
Just as speaking, listening, and writing a new language is important, reading it is equally important when learning the structure of sentences to enhance speaking, writing, and vocabulary. Without using books as a useful tool in learning English, communication can become very difficult in a country where English is the resident language.
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