Unlock Your English

Tips for reading in English

January 10, 2020 Stephen Gowlett
Unlock Your English
Tips for reading in English
Unlock Your English
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Show Notes Transcript

Hello there and welcome back to my Unlock Your English Podcast. Good to see you here. I hope you are finding the short lessons useful.

If you would like to leave me a voice message with comments on the podcast, suggestions for others or other English doubts, click this link :)  https://www.speakpipe.com/unlockyourenglish

In this lesson I talk about reading in English and how reading can improve your vocabulary and give you a subliminal understanding of English grammar.

The recommendations here are based on my own experiences as a language learner as well as a teacher. All the things I explain have also helped me in learning Spanish.

This Podcast was posted earlier this week as a video on my YouTube channel.


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Steve:   0:00
Hi there. Are you learning English and need some help? Well, hopefully I can help you. I'd like to be able to give you some useful lessons and useful recommendations or recommendations or tips. And this video is part of  a playlist that I've created for you on tips or recommendations. Now, these tips and recommendations are basically from my experience as a teacher for more than 25 years. And also, from my experience of being a language student,. You know, I'm learning a language as well, I've been learning a language for many, many years. I'm still perfecting it, which is Spanish. So, I understand from the perspective of the teacher and student. Okay, so these recommendations are from both sides and I hope they're useful. Now, a question I get asked a lot is related to reading. Now, reading is probably the best way to improve your vocabulary. Okay. It also gives you a very good, subliminal understanding of grammar. It doesn't necessarily help you understand the grammatical rules. But, on a subliminal level, you start to recognise when a construction is correct or not. At least that's what I found in Spanish. Now in the past, I read a lot of Spanish. I increased my vocabulary a lot  and on a grammatical level I know when I've read something or I've written something, I know when I look at it, I know it's not correct, even though I'm not sure perhaps what the correct construction is, I know that it is not correct, and that's, the reading has helped me at least identify mistakes. But the question I get asked by students is, "What can I read?"  Do I recommend anything specific for people to read? Now, this is not an easy question to answer, in that sense, because everybody's different. Everyone has their own personal interests. Subjects that are interesting for them may not be interesting for another person, so I could recommend a book, for example; you start reading it, you get bored of it in five or 10 pages and you give it up. That's not a positive experience. So, the whole thing about learning a language is trying to make it as positive for you, to keep you motivated. And reading, I mean, if you read a book, a book could have 304 105 100 pages, whatever. Then you want to be motivated to read it. So, the first thing I would say is, if you're gonna read a book, choose something that you know you're going to enjoy reading. It could be a novel. It could be a detective book, could be a romance novel. Doesn't matter anything that you know you're going to enjoy reading, then that would be the place to start. It's also important to read things that you are familiar with. Could be about hobby. Maybe you subscribe to a particular magazine. If you're interested in something like photography, then maybe you should buy and read magazines in English related to photography. Okay, so tip number one for reading is always select something that is gonna be interesting for you to read.  Now, the other important tip regarding vocabulary for reading is you start reading, there's always gonna be a lot of words that are new. Words that you just don't understand; you've never seen them before. Now, it could be tempting to stop reading in that moment when you find a difficult word or a new word, it could be tempting to stop and look at the meaning, look it up in a dictionary or look it up online. You know. DON'T. Okay, This is a big mistake. The idea of reading is letting the brain formulate the text. Formulate the story as you're reading. It's a process. Okay, I guarantee, after you've read a few pages, even if you don't understand what's going on, you think you don't understand what's going on for the first few pages, by the time you've got to page 5,6,7 or eight, there's a light bulb that goes off in your in your mind. And suddenly you know what's been happening, even if you haven't understood every word. So,  let the brain, you know, do a natural process of assimulating the vocabulary into a context. Okay, you won't understand every single word and in many cases, you'll find a word that is just not repeated again in a big book. If a book's got 400 pages and you only see this particular word once or twice, it's probably not the most important word anyway. Okay, so don't stop and start because you're breaking the natural process and you'll probably just get bored and you'll never finish the book in the first place. Okay, so my recommendation is read until you get tired until you've had enough. It could be you're on, you know, public transport and you and you have a few minutes. Doesn't matter. Read for as long as you want to. And when you stop, if you remember a word that at that time you didn't know, then maybe check it out online and find the meaning, But don't break the natural process while you're reading. Okay. So those are two important recommendations from me to you regarding reading. Make sure it's interesting and try to learn the new vocabulary in context, but don't break the natural process by stopping reading to look it up and then continue reading. Don't do that. That's a mistake. Hopefully, this is helped and, normally, I say go practise your English, in this video, I'm gonna say... go read some English. Okay. Enjoy. Take care. See you soon.