4 Simple Tips to Improve Your Reading In English While Having Fun

88

Many learners tell me that they love readingbut find reading in English too slow and boring.  

But who says reading in English should be  boring? You probably already read more than you  

think! Reading is more than just reading  a book: It goes from Facebook posts,  

blogs, recipes, labels, commands on your cell  phone, signs on the road, and so on. Reading is  

everywhere. We do it all the time. Even reading  the subtitles while watching this video!  

So, even if you are not a fan of  books, this lesson is for you!  

We will teach you 4 practical tips to start  taking your reading to the next level right now

By the end of this lesson, you'll understand  how reading can boost your English. You'll see:

By the way, in case you're new here, every  week we make lessons just like this one, so  

that you can learn English without getting lostwithout missing the jokes and without subtitles.  

Like Rita, who says that even  though she lives in the USA,  

she could not find anything that worked  to improve her English effectively,  

until she discovered our channel! So we will help  you achieve your English learning goals, too!  

Just hit the subscribe button and the bell down  below so you don’t miss any of our new lessons.

You Don't Read The Same Way All The Time 

First things first, what is reading? At a basic level, reading is identifying  

and making sense of words and symbolsHowever, there's so much more to that.  

Reading is an interactive process of  recognition that leads to interpretation

In other words, it’s a thinking process that  involves using strategies to process a text  

in order to construct knowledge. That a fancy  way of saying that reading actually makes you  

smarter. It makes your brain work harder and  better while energizing it. So of course,  

improving your reading in English might  even improve your abilities to read and  

think critically in your native languageWith that saidit's worth mentioning that  

there are many types of reading and you don't  read the same way all the time. 
The most common  

strategy that we use (even without knowing  it) is called skimming. If you skim a text,  

you read it quickly to comprehend the gist, the  main idea. This is what you do when you pick a  

magazine up at your doctor's office and go over  the articles without spending too much time on it,  

or when you are scrolling your Facebook feed  to check if any post is worth clicking to  

'read more'. With this type of reading, you learn  through context. You don't stop and look up every…  

single... wordYou learn to infer its meaning  by capturing the essence of what you've read

Let's try it. You have 40 seconds to read  (skim) this paragraph. Do not pause the video.   

Now try to answer this question  without going back to the text.  

Interesting, right? I'm sure that there are  words that you may not know yet in this text.  

However, if you read it with the  singular focus of getting the main ideas,  

the unknown words won't stop youNow, another highly useful strategy  

is called scanning. When you scan a text, you  read it to find specific pieces of information.  

You are scanning when you read the info on  your plane ticket to confirm your seat number  

or to find the characteristics of a product  in a catalog. You shift your attention from  

the overall meaning to the structure  (numbers, adjectives, percentages, etc.)

Take a look at these situations and decide  which type of reading (Skimming - overall  

information or Scanning - specific  information) would be the best one to use.

These strategies can be transferred to any type  of text you read, and being aware of them will  

help you determine how much effort you should  put into your reading. Not only that but also  

understanding your level of English first will  take a lot of the weight off your shoulders.  

[show the CEFR reading competencies]. Our next  tips will help you with choosing your next text.

By the way, did you notice how  I connected the words here

The letter E in TAKE is what we call a silent  letter. It means that you don't pronounce it,  

and that's why we connect the word TAKE with Asounding like [TEI-kuh]. Also, the letter T in  

LOT is between two vowels -> LOT OF. In situations  like these, Americans tend to pronounce it with a  

soft /d/ sound - /lɒd əv/. And of is often reduced  to simply [uh], so I say [lodda] not [lot of].

If you want to learn more about how  we natives really speak so that you  

can understand your favorite tv series, moviesand podcasts, as well as natives in real life,  

then I highly recommend that you give  our power learning Mini Course a try!  

It is absolutely free and we will show you  what it takes to comprehend natives confidently  

in the real world. Sign up now just click  up here or down in the description below!

Do you like reading? What about reading in  English? Maybe your answer is NO. You may say you  

like it, but you don't have the time. Or maybe you  do like it, but find it tiring reading in another  

language. Well, let me help you with thatThere are many options for you to start reading  

right now. The first step is to start with  things you ALREADY like or that you've already  

read in your first language. This means DO NOT  read children's books because you think that they  

are the easiest. Kids books tend to use strange  vocabulary that isn’t actually practical to you.  

Furthermore, the stories won’t really  engage you, so youll probably give up.  

Now, the exception of course is if you have  children and you want to read these books  

with them. Then that is a fantastic way  for you to bond and practice together

Now maybe you use different social networks. You  may choose to follow certain pages on Facebook  

or Instagram that cover topics you likeSince there are so many options out there,  

turn reading in English into a habit, even  if it's a tweet, the captions of a post,  

a paragrapha news article or blog  article, or a whole page of a book.  

Remember to set the time and place and make  that commitment to yourself. For example,  

every day after having dinner, I'll read two  tweets from CNN's account. Build the habit--read  

every day. Start small, and when you least  realize it, this habit will grow on you

Again, the key is to read what you already  enjoy reading in your own language.  

So don’t just start reading the news because  someone told you it’s good for learning English  

if you don’t even enjoy doing  that in your native language.  

It's important that you find something that is  just a little bit more challenging than your  

current level and that is gripping enough to get  you into the habit. So, here are a couple of tips:

* Start simple 
 If you are a fan of books and want  

to read more of them in English, look for graded  readers. They are books designed for learners in  

which the language was adapted to suit different  levels. Besides that, they have pre-, during- and,  

post-reading activities that make reading more  fun and help you better understand the text.  

This is also a great way of exposing yourself  to the culture by reading classic English  

and American literature like Moby  Dick or The Picture of Dorian Gray.

* Play Games in EnglishIf you don’t tend to read books,  

but you are a fan of videogames, they can  be a fantastic source to help you read more.  

Lots of different games have written dialogues  and texts that you NEED to understand to move on  

in the game. They help you develop problem-solving  skills, and are often related to survival English.  

Don't waste this chance of learning while  you have fun, play them in English!  

* Read things you're interested in!
 Social media posts, comics, blog articles,  

magazines, recipes, even product labels, you  name it! Read things you're interested in,   

they don't need to be books. You can also pick  a particular topic you like and opt for reading  

different types of text within that same topicThis is called narrow reading and it will expose  

you to the same language range over and overwhich will ultimately help you acquire that  

vocabulary.   We've seen at the beginning of the  video that reading is a powerful skill to develop.  

So, find among the things you already read in  your first language something that you'll enjoy  

reading in English too.  * Re-read
 

Following up on the previous tip, find things you  already read in your mother tongue and enjoyed and  

re-read them in English. This way, you'll feel  less anxious to understand what's going on and  

will be able to focus more on the language. For  me, I absolutely loved the Harry Potter series,  

and I re-read the books to improve my German  and Spanish! By the way, in our recent lesson  

on The Queen’s Gambit we explored how star Anya  Taylor-Joy learned English with Harry Potter.  

On the same note, you may choose to read the  book-version of a movie or series you watched.  

* Read Self-Development books or articlesThis genre tends to have more simple language  

and can be a great way of cultivating the habit of  reading. Not to mention that if you choose a book  

on a particular area of your life that you need to  improve, it will help you in other ways as well.  

I created this lesson on 6 Life-Changing Books  for English Learners for exactly this reason.

Young Adults

Now, as I mentioned, I don’t believe  reading children’s books makes sense for  

most English learners, but young adults  books are another story! Browse the   

teens book section of a public library in  your city or neighborhood (or on Amazon). 

You might not even spend a penny and will have  many choices to pick from. These types of books  

tend to use a bit easier language. I think that  series are great because they hook you and keep  

you entertained for a long time! Some examples are  Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, Twilight, and the  

School for Good and Evil. Although the language  in them may not be automatically transferable to  

your daily conversations, it still  helps you expand your vocabulary,  

understand the structure of the languageand improve your comprehension in general

* Simple English 
 

Finally, another tip is to develop the  habit of looking up general information  

and definition of words in EnglishYou  can use the Simple English Wikipedia,  

the English-learner version of Wikipedia that  has its articles written at a basic level, or use  

the  Learner's version of English dictionariessuch as Oxford, Merriam-Webster, and Longman.

Improving Your Reading CAN Be Fun 

You may be thinking: "Well, reading is not really  my thing because I'm a very active person and I  

can't sit still for a long period of timeWhat  if I said you can kill two birds with one stone?  

You can take advantage of the benefits  of the enriching vocabulary ofbook  

AND practice your listening as well. By choosing  an audiobook to listen to while walking or doing  

other chores or to listen while you read  the text, you'll work on the development  

of your listening skills while benefiting  from the language of the chosen book

And right now you can get two FREE  audiobooks when you sign up for  

Audible using the link in the  description. Try Audible for a month  

absolutely free, and even if you choose not  to continue, you get to keep the audiobooks!  

I recommend The Graveyard Book, a young  adult book with a spectacular narration!  

Or you could try one of the other books on my  best fiction books for English learners list.  

You can choose to use reading asstepping stone to enhance other skills

Read out loud - When you do this, it  helps your brain better store information,  

boosting your memory retention. You are  more likely to remember what you've read.  

It’s great to combine this with  the audiobook so you get accurate  

pronunciation. Or look up specific words on  Forvo to hear real natives saying them. 
 

Record yourself - While reading out loudit may be a good idea to record yourself.  

I understand that listening to your own voice may  not be the most pleasant thingbut when you do  

this, you are not only training the muscles  you use for speakingbut also becoming more  

aware of how you are pronouncing, linking, and  connecting the spoken and written form of words

Highlight words and check them later - most of the  time you skim a text to capture the essence of it.  

Be it a book, an article, or a short noteyou first try to understand its main idea.  

It will be much harder and slower to do so if you  stop to check every single word you don't know.  

So, the pro tip here is to highlight them and  after you've finished your first reading (whether  

for you that is a page or a chapter), go back to  the text and check them using a dictionary. 


 

Take notes of words or expressions  - following up on the previous tip,  

create your own personal bank of new words and  expressions you've learned from the reading,  

and challenge yourself to use them. Have them  close to you when taking a lesson, for instance,  

or choose two or three to try to incorporate  in your next interaction in English.  

Remember the saying 'if you  don't use it, you lose it'.
 

I like reading before bed. I highlight the words  on my ereader and then in the morning with a cup  

of coffee I look up the new words and add them  to a spaced repetition system, like Memrise. 


Join a book clubThis is one of the best  

ways to motivate you to read a book, while also  connecting with others and making friends. You  

learn so much from interacting with othersnot to mention being able to also develop  

your speaking skills and put those newly learned  words into practice. If you can't join a club,  

find a friend to exchange ideas with you. Ideallyyou'd read it in English and comment in English,  

but an alternative could be talking about  it in your first language. It still does  

the trick of making sense and processing  information learned in a foreign language.

Use a Kindle or other e-readersBesides digital books being less  

expensive than paper or hardcover books,  

most e-readers have lots of different features  that make reading much more interactive.  

You can highlight words, write notes, check the  dictionary, and much more all while reading

Turn it into a game  
 A fun way of doing this  

is writing a couple of challenges onpiece of paper, putting them in a box,  

and sorting one to do when it's your  reading time. Check out a couple of ideas:  

Try to remember 4-5 words that  called your attention on a page
 

Finish a couple of pages, set a timer for  two minutes, and write down all  key points  

from the passageWrite down the  

main characteristics of a characterExplain out loud what you just read in 1 minute
 

Choose 3 words you didn't know  and try to guess their meaning  

from the context (and then check themThe Benefits Of Reading To Your Personal Life 

If you are still not convinced why you  should dedicate more time to reading,  

let's talk about some benefits that go  beyond sharpening your language abilities

If you have made it clear to yourself that you  won't understand 100% of the text, this helps you  

control your ANXIETY and pre-reading STRESS. That  by itself makes the activity easier and lighter
 

Reading helps you with general  COMPREHENSION, not only of the language  

but also of the subject you are reading. It  adds to your general knowledge repertoire
 

Needless to say that it boosts your vocabularyright? Some other benefits are that you learn  

new words from context, learn different meanings  to previously known words, and start to identify  

patterns, like words that often come together. 
 Reading helps you with a conversation. The more  

you read, the more your verbal skills grow and  you become more able to use context to infer the  

meaning of new words, and thus tend to feel more  secure to use them when speaking. When I first  

started reading in other languages, I was amazed  to notice that I would use a word in conversation,  

and not remember actively having learned itonly to later figure out that I had absorbed  

it while reading. The same goes for grammatical  structures--you will start to be able to visualize  

them in your head, and you won’t have to think  about it so much when it comes time to speak. 


So, what are you waiting for to start  taking your English to the next level  

and make it a part of your lifeLet's start reading right now!  

What have you found helpful to  improve your reading in English?  

Leave your recommendation in the comments below  and check out other people's reading experiences