Many researches indicate that reading involves a very active process in the mind. When a person is reading, they are using their imagination skills, understanding the perspective of the writer, and trying to interpret the text from different angles. It is often seen that people who read regularly generally have a better command on English.
Content for production tasks- In order to speak/write well you need to have content and ideas. Reading a variety of texts helps in gaining knowledge and in turn can be beneficial in language production. The language produced will be sophisticated and well-articulated. You can check here to work on your reading skills at your own pace as per your level.
Learn vocabulary in context- Have you ever thought why you are unable to retain new words? It could be because the vocabulary is not being learnt in context. Memorising words in isolation never helps increase your vocabulary. When you learn new words through reading, you also encounter ways of using them naturally in context and hence the retention is better. Here is a recommended reading list to help you increase your word power.
Brush up your grammar skills- The rule of improving vocabulary by reading also applies to grammar. Some of the most common difficulties people face are the use of articles & prepositions, appropriate & consistent use of tenses, the choice between tenses, complex structures and so on. When you come across any structures that you have problems with while reading, pause and try to analyse the sentences. Try to understand the rules and think of your own examples.
Improve your critical thinking skills: One of the important aspects of language is to use critical thinking skills. The ideas conveyed should be coherent, understand the link between ideas, recognise, build, and evaluate arguments and so on. Communicating something simply is just not enough. All of these can be achieved by reading content-rich texts.
Useful tips for reading effectively:
- Try to read at the level appropriate for you. Reading texts that are too easy won’t help and very difficult texts would not be interesting because of too many difficult words/phrases.
- Read regularly even if it is for 10 minutes every day. Consistency is the key. Reading once in a while won’t do the magic that you are expecting.
- Make a note of the new vocabulary you learn from reading. Keep a log, note down the dictionary meaning, pronunciation, part of speech and an example sentence. Keep revisiting the log until you have started using the word naturally.
- Start with reading something that interests you. If you are interested in cricket, read about cricket. This will increase your knowledge in that field and develop an interest in reading.
- You can read anything. Do not start off with a thick novel if it doesn’t interest you. Read newspapers, articles, blogs, short stories, comic books.
So, any reading is good reading. Remember reading can do wonders on your language.
- Snigdha Sinha, Teacher British Council