|John Keith Communications||
|Technical Writing||Pronunciation||Oral Fluency||Vocabulary||Grammar||Listening||Reading||Links||Client Services|
Updated March 17, 2015
Reading is an important skill on its own, but it also is very important for developing and reinforcing your other language skills. Your writing, grammar, vocabulary, and even listening and speaking skills are all improved through reading because you are constantly reminded of the vocabulary you know, the structure (grammar) of the language, and good usage and expression.
Use the links on the lower left of this page to find interesting things to read. Copy (CTR+C) passages and paste (CTR+V) into Microsoft Word to save to re-read later. Find interesting sites on the web; find books and magazines; clip articles from the newspaper. The little monthly magazine, the Reader's Digest, is an excellent general reader with articles everyone will find interesting. Make reading a daily habit.
Preview the Passage
Look at the topic sentences of all the paragraphs. Read the first and last paragraphs. Scan the whole passage (look it over very quickly). Once you have a good general idea of what the passage is all about, you will be much better able to understand what you are reading because you will be able to relate the separate parts to the whole.
Read With a Purpose
What do you want to get out of reading this story, article, or passage from a book? By actively looking for information or ideas, your reading will be much more focussed and effective.
By reading quickly, you'll actually improve your comprehension. Skip over words you don't know or guess their meaning from the context. When you read fast enough you are able to see and understand the passage as a whole rather than a series of hard-to-connect fragments. If there are too many words or phrases you don't understand, then look the words up and learn what they mean in this context. Then, after this vocabulary work, read the passage again -- quickly!
Develop Your Knowledge of Vocabulary and Usage
The development of your reading skills complements (aids) the development of vocabulary and usage, and "vice versa" -- it works the other way around, too. Read for information or knowledge, but also sometimes read for vocabulary. You can copy and paste a passage from the Internet (or from a digital document file or pdf) into Voycabulary; you can even paste in a website's URL. Read the passage and double-click on any word for an instant lookup in the dictionary. For many examples of how a word is used, look it up in the Web Concordancer. When you have vocabulary or grammar and usage work such as this, always go back to the original passage one more time.
Read the Passage More Than Once
Read the article a second time, and read it again later, especially if you have done some work on vocabulary development or grammar analysis. Add Internet-based articles or whole URL's to your Favorites or Bookmarks. Copy and paste passages into your own digital scrapbook.
Read Every Day
Read widely and read every day. Read all types of material, fiction (stories or novels) as well as non-fiction. Read newspapers, books and magazines -- you actually remember more from reading printed material than reading something on the Internet. Read for different reasons -- study, work or interests, and just read for pleasure.
Combine Your Language Skills
Talk about what you read to friends or make an audio recording -- or both. Write about what you read or paraphrase or summarize passages. Write about your own ideas or opinions on the topic or something related to it. Compare your writing with the original passage for expression, usage, structure and for accurate and appropriate use of vocabulary. Combining skills in these ways does not simply add to, but it multiplies your English language development.
Resources for Improving Your Reading
SQ4R Reading Strategies
(A short list of things to do while reading.)
How Do I Become a Better Reader?
(Comprehensive English Advice Sheets from the Centre for Language Education at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.)
Reading Strategies: Reading Efficiently by Reading Intelligently
(Professional level reading strategies from mindtools.com)
Reading Skills for Academic Purposes
(Excellent Advice from the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, U.K. -- includes exercises)
Effective Reading Strategies -- University of Melbourne (PDF)
(Academic Reading -- high level)