Some people love reading and some people don’t. I am a self-confessed bookworm, always have been. I just can’t imagine a world without books. This is not the case for everybody, and for those that don’t like reading in their own language, the idea of reading in another language is not a pleasant one.
Whether we like reading or not, it is a skill we have to master when we are learning a language. There are so many occasions where reading and understanding are of vital importance. We need to read and understand instructions, articles, reports and emails on a daily basis. We need to read and follow recipes if we want to cook, or at least read the instructions on the back of a packet. We need to read and understand official documents and application forms. We need to be able to read TV and cinema listings or reviews of things we are interested in. We are surrounded by things we need to read, even if we don’t like reading.
Here are some tips that might make the idea of reading in English easier.
1. Think about the type of reading material you have to deal with in your daily life. This will help you to focus on the vocabulary areas you need to understand when you are reading.
2. Build your vocabulary bank. Think of synonyms for words you already know or other words that can be used instead of the word you are familiar with. Remember, the more you read, the more vocabulary you learn.
3. Choose reading materials that suit you…magazine or newspaper articles, books, blogs etc. It is much easier if you are interested in what you are reading. There are so many reading resources around you. If you are reading a book, it might be helpful to choose one that you have read in your own language at first, as you already know the story.
4. Don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, you can often understand the general meaning from the context of the sentence. When you come across a word you don’t know, try to figure out what it means from the rest of the sentence. If you find this difficult, use your dictionary or ask your teacher to help you. When you learn a new word, try to use it in the correct context. This will help you to remember it.
5. Give yourself time to process what you have read. Unless you are in an exam situation reading and understanding does not have to have a time limit. Some people read quickly and some people don’t. Take the time to read, understand and evaluate what you have read. In the long run this will help you to develop your reading skills.