improving your English? Then
you probably agree that reading
is an indispensable part of
language learning. Unfortunately, not
everyone knows how to go about doing it. How
do you read in order to improve your English?
What do you do with the text in order to get
the most out of your practice time. Well, the
following are some tips to keep in mind.
Pick the right text for your level.
First thing's first. You have to choose the right
text. If it's too easy, you won't be challenged;
if it's too difficult, it might be discouraging. Pick
an article that is easy to understand, but has
some vocabulary that is unknown to you and
some parts that are unclear. If you can tell
what the main idea is, but you are unsure
about some details when you first read the
text, it is probably perfect to use to improve
your reading skills and your English. Also
important, pick an article that's interesting to
you, so you will be motivated to read it several
Once you've determined that it's the right text
and the appropriate language level, read it
once more and be prepared to summarize it.
You want to know what the gist or the main
message is and the specific details or
examples that the article mentions. You don't
have to understand every single word or notice
the grammatical structures, so close your
dictionaries and translators, and read for the
main idea. Your objective is to understand the
article enough to be able to summarize it.
Tell someone what it's about.
Can you say what you think the article is about
in your own words, without looking at the text?
If you can't, then read it again--remember, no
dictionary. If you are new at summarizing in
English, it's OK to do it in your language at
first; you're still practicing your reading &
comprehension skills. However, know that you
have to start doing it in English soon.
No looking! Just speak.
Talk to someone or to yourself. Begin with "this
article is about ..." and summarize the article
in your own words without looking at the text.
Don't worry if you forget some parts. Just talk
about what you remember.
Now, write it down.
Still not looking at the article, write or type your
oral summary as close as possible to what you
said when you summarized it orally. Your goal
is to put your words on paper so you can check
and correct your mistakes. You can either have
a teacher or an English-speaking friend look at
your writing or you can rely on your own
knowledge of grammar and structure to fix
TIP#2: Read, then speak & write.
knowledgeable enough to edit your own work.
as well as a native speaker would, but you'll be
able to fix enough, and it's a good exercise to
put what you know into practice. Doing this
regularly also sharpens your editing skills,
which reinforces your knowledge of grammar
and which will also play a role in improving your
English. If you do this regularly, you will clearly
see your mistakes slowly disappear over time,
and your writing and your English will get better.
Choose 5 vocabulary terms
Yes, choose no more than 5! If you are busy
like most people are these days, you may not
even have time to practice even one. Your goal
is to practice and use all five, not simply list
them somewhere and forget about them. Write
the words in your vocabulary notebook, write
their definitions and write sentences--realistic
ones! I would recommend showing these
sentences to a teacher or a friend who can
check and evaluate them. You need to know if
you are using them correctly, so you can try to
use them when you are communicating with
Reread the article over and over.
summarized it in your own words, you've
learned new vocabulary from it--read it again
and again. I won't recommend a limit to the
number of times you should reread the article;
do it until you're sick and tired of it. Focus on
the sentence structures. Get comfortable with
how the words are put together. Read it out
loud sometimes and silently other times. Every
time you hear yourself read, your brain is
subconsciously getting used to the sounds and
structures of English and you are slowly
learning and acquiring what sounds right and
what sounds natural. In other words, you are
slowly making this new language that you're
learning naturally your own.
Once you've learned the article thoroughly, file
it away somewhere. I recommend scanning it
and keeping a digital copy of it. Store it
somewhere; you may want to check it out
sometime in the future to review, to see how
far you've gone in your English learning, or to
simply reminisce. Then grab another
interesting article and go through the steps
above to master the English that will be in the
new article as you did the old one.
There you have it! Follow the steps above.
Read, summarize & reread regularly, and you
will improve your comprehension, your reading
skill, your reading speed, and your English
skills in general.
activities to improve your English. Learn from various
and to be exposed to English from a variety of sources
and topics. The different activities will compliment each
other and help strengthen your language skills and push
you to the next level.
1. Reread grammar exercises.
2. Watch movies.
3. Learn songs.
4. Read ads & announcements around you.
5. Watch the news.
6. Practice pronunciation.
7. Keep a journal.
8. Frequent one or two ESL/EFL website--like this one ;-)
9. Do homework!
10. Participate in the classroom!
INDISPENSABLE - very important
how to GO ABOUT DOING it - how to do it
KEEP IN MIND - think about
DISCOURAGING - makes you want to give up or stop.
MOTIVATED - have the desire
GIST - main idea
MENTION - say
RELY ON - depend on; count on
SHARPEN - improve
REINFORCE - strengthen; make strong
SICK & TIRED - absolutely don't want to do it anymore
SUBCONSCIOUSLY - without knowing it
ACQUIRE- get; own
THOROUGHLY - completely
SCAN - copy an image using a scanner
REMINISCE - think fondly (pleasantly) of something
GRAB - get
COMPLIMENT - be good with; go well with
FREQUENT (v.) - visit often or frequently
English? Share it with us! We may feature your ideas
here & on social media. :-)
We'd love to know who you are & where you're from, but
you don't have to tell us if you don't want to. :-)
the small guide site is maintained by Joseph Yu. All articles & lessons are written by Joe unless noted otherwise.
For questions and comments, please contact Joe.
Copyright 2009 - 2014 Joseph Yu. All rights reserved.
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