The ability to read another language is a key component of fluency. Reading is also a great way to improve your overall language skills.
In today’s information rich world, written media is very intermingled with daily life.
If you are a person who likes to read, then reading also comes with the added benefit of being an enjoyable pastime rather than a difficult study session.
If you are learning a language, get reading today! Ignore the words you don’t know, unless you need need need them to understand the meaning of the paragraph. Try guessing the meaning of the word before you look it up in the dictionary. The aim of the exercise is to expand your vocabulary in a natural way, without sweating over the meaning of individual words. If the approximate meaning of a word is not clear from the context, then forget about it – you may read it later on in a way that makes the meaning more clear.
If you read that a man held a schniquerpuff in his hand, is it not important to the story to know exactly what a schniquerpuff is?
Don’t memorise the new vocabulary you come across when reading. In reading you come across a lot of useful vocabulary, but you also can come across archaic vocabulary and vocabulary that is rarely used, or only used in the written form of the language. As a learner you cannot tell what vocabulary is useful to you, and what vocabulary is a waste of time. Over time you will know which words are important, because these are the words you will come across again and again in reading speaking and listening to the language you are learning.
Read to expand your vocabulary and gain exposure to grammar and structures. When you read on your own, no one cares about how fast you read, how much you understand, and whether or not you understand everything first time. Reading is therefore a stress-free way to get ahead in your language learning.
Reading can be tough when you first start out. In order to make the most of reading in a foreign language, follow these tips when you are first starting out:
- Start by reading a little every day – reading can be hard work but you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes more easy
- Choose books for children before starting on full novels
- Choose books written in the first person as these often have simpler vocabulary
- Choose a topic that interests you
- Read a book you have already read in English
- Don’t keep reading after your brain gets tired – better to put the book down and pick it up again tomorrow
- Get used to guessing the meaning rather than looking up words in a dictionary