reading tip: get help from a friend or tutor

(September 2019)

An important way for you to have fun reading while making it more fun is to do it with a friend. This friend, preferably with advanced English comprehension or a native speaker of the language, can help you immensely with boosting your vocabulary or grammar knowledge. You can feel more comfortable reading out-loud with them or reading silently and then stopping if you need to ask for your advice.

It doesn’t have to be a friend if you do not have that option but find that family member, tutor, or mentor to help you with your English reading material. When you are working on your reading comprehension, you’ll want to work on activities, exercises, and worksheets relating to the material that your friend or tutor can assist you with in solving. It would only take a few hours or at least one hour per week for this assistance to make a big difference in your reading comprehension.

If you are not able to afford a tutor, then a friend or family member with a high level of English proficiency is your best bet. If your city or town offers free or low-cost language exchange programs, then definitely seek those opportunities out. You’ll want to be able to practice your English reading with somebody else as much as possible with a minimum of at least one hour per week to start improving a little bit at a time.


reading tip: choose the genre you enjoy the most

(June 2019)

A key point of becoming a good English reader is to read what you enjoy and would actually want to finish whether it is a short story, a novel, or a book. There are a large number of genres available in the English language to read and you can’t possibly read them all. I think it’s best then to choose a few or one genre in particular that you like the most.

Instead of forcing yourself to read horror or to read science fiction, which could be genres that you dislike, it would be best to choose a genre or two that you really enjoy. For example, if you like books about travel, make you should read adventure novels or books that have settings in other countries. If you like books about action, maybe you should read books about war or conflict between the characters, either fictional or non-fictional. If there’s a genre like mystery and you want to read a series surrounding that particular genre, a good series to read would be the Hardy Boys to get the most out of the mystery genre.

Your English reading proficiency will get even better when you are reading books from a particular genre that you enjoy. I believe you will pay more attention to the grammar and the vocabulary of the written content and you will also be more invested in the characters, setting, and the story of what you are reading. If you have the choice to read books in English, choose those genres that you care about and those books that you’ll finish and you’ll retain that information for the foreseeable future.


reading tip: highlight or underline what you are reading

(May 2019)

When you are reading in English whether it’s a short passage or an entire novel, it’s important to highlight or underline any vocabulary that you do not understand or want to remember for the future. You may want to use these unfamiliar words or phrases to boost your knowledge of English vocabulary or to use them in your own spoken or written sentences. In addition, underlining or highlighting what you don’t understand will make it easier to assess your reading proficiency level and what you will need to work on.

You want to make sure that you only underline or highlight words or sentences that you want to come back to or that you want to find out the meaning behind. Also, as a substitute for highlighting or underlining, you could also use it post-it notes or sticky notes to come back to what you are reading if your book or magazine is a rental. You do not want to be highlighting with a marker or underlining with a pen a book or a magazine that you do not own or will not keep for the next few years.

As you are highlighting or underlining these English words or phrases, it’s good to write them down on a separate sheet of paper as you read. By doing that, you will be able to come back to them later as you look in the dictionary for its meaning or when you try to come up with your own sentences for these words or phrases.

The act of highlighting or underlining while reading will give you a much needed advantage in better understanding English compositions whether it’s a poem, a short story, or a novel. Taking the time to highlight or underline will necessitate deeper thinking and an ability to self-analyze your comprehension of English writing. If you carefully examine and dive deeper into reading material by underlining or highlighting words and phrases, you’ll be better able to understand and utilize the language to become better in the language. Through your greater examination of the meaning and substance of the words and sentences that make up the reading material in front of you, you’ll stand out from other learners as you develop your English language proficiency.


reading tip: an hour per day of practice

(march 2019)

When you are first developing your reading proficiency, having consistency and a set routine is key in order to become better at this part of the English language. I recommend to dedicate one hour per day in terms of reading different materials that will help you better improve your reading comprehension. Whether it is for learning new vocabulary or understanding the grammar structure of the language better, consistent and daily practice with reading will help you go far.

In order to do the one hour per day of reading practice, it’s important to set up a time in your daily schedule to devote solely to reading English material. It does not have to be a book or a novel but rather a newspaper or a magazine that may be easier to digest if your reading proficiency is lower. Also, it may be best to highlight and underline words and sentences that you do not understand and can ask your teacher or tutor about. It doesn’t matter if you read English in the morning, afternoon, or at night. The main thing is to set aside an hour in your schedule to focus only on reading in English.

You may have to shut off your phone, turn off the TV, or disconnect the Internet but you have to make sure to get rid of all distractions before you begin your hour of reading practice. You’ll want to maintain your complete focus so you can retain more knowledge and understanding from what you have learned. You can listen to music that helps you to concentrate but it is important to focus primarily on the task at hand and not to be distracted. If you stick to an hour per day of practice, you should see results in terms of improved reading comprehension within a few weeks, if not, sooner than that.


reading tip: practice reading out-Loud to gain confidence

(February 2019)

An important way to combine your reading and speaking skills together is to read out-loud. What you are reading does not matter as much as how you are reading it. The best way to become better at reading comprehension is to practice your pronunciation out-loud to see if you are saying the words correctly and if you understand what they mean. You cannot really get better at reading comprehension if you are reading silently at all times.

While most of us have an inner voice in our head that sounds out what we are reading, it does not really help in the long run in terms of boosting our knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. The best way to practice reading is to do so out-loud and especially in front of another person. Being able to read in front of a close friend or a family member will do a great deal towards boosting your self-confidence. They will not judge you for giving it your best shot and if they are a native English speaker, they can help you by improving your pronunciation and teaching you the meaning of certain vocabulary words.

By sounding out the letters, sounds, and words, you’ll be able to get more out of reading a story, a magazine, a newspaper, and even a book as you build your reading proficiency up. You can take your time and go at the pace that you need to as it is best not to take on too much if your reading level in English is not up to par yet. As with anything, being able to master reading involves being able to both speak about what you are reading and comprehend the meaning behind it.

If you have a choice as to read silently or read out-loud, if you really want to improve your English language abilities, it would be best to read out-loud to get that needed practice. When you read out-loud, you are forcing yourself to pronounce, comprehend, and work on your speaking all at the same time. Whether you are alone, with a friend, or with a family member, do your best to read out-loud to better your reading proficiency over time.


reading tip: mix up your reading outlets and content

(December 2018)

A key tip for English reading is the importance of being able to try out different outlets for you to improve and boost your proficiency in this area. While you may want to focus solely on newspaper articles, short stories, passages as well as snippets from magazines, I believe it is absolutely necessary to expose yourself to an array of written content especially in different areas. From sports magazines to newspaper articles, it is key in boosting your vocabulary to focus on reading different kinds of outlets to gain a broader and more well-developed perspective of what the English language is.

In addition, you will also be able to read the writings of different authors by mixing it up from columnists to authors to poets. Each form of reading will be different from the next and you will be able to recognize and interpret different styles of writing in English based on your capacity to read from different outlets. If you want to be a well-versed English reader, you’ll need to be proficient in not just a short story or a magazine article but also to be able to understand and interpret newspapers, books, and assorted poems. Having such a wide array of content knowledge as well as of different subjects will put you ahead of other students in terms of English reading proficiency.

There will come a time in your English studies when you will be asked to speak or write about a newspaper article or a short story that you read from a teacher and a professor. Please be sure to read the article or story with thoroughness and don’t be afraid to take notes, translate from English to your native language in order to grasp the content better. By exposing yourself to reading different types of content (magazines, stories, articles, books, poetry), your English proficiency will improve in not only reading comprehension but also in the areas of vocabulary and grammar.

How you interpret the reading you do is very important as well. Please be sure to do your best to speak or write about what you have read in English and try to practice with a friend or a family member since this kind of assignment is likely to come up eventually during your lessons, classes, and/or courses in this language. If you take an hour or two a week to read in English only and to focus on different types of reading content week by week, you’ll well be on your way to having a high level of English reading proficiency.


REading tip: focus on your own level of proficiency

(October 2018)

The most relevant tip I can give for a English language learner when it comes to developing your reading abilities in this language is to start at your level of proficiency whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced reader. The main thing to keep in mind is to not overdo it by reading at a level that you are not comfortable with tackling yet. If you are reading at a beginner level and you try to go for reading an advanced kind of reading material in English, it’s likely to not work out for you in terms of your comprehension and overall understanding.

It may be difficult for you to start out slow but you’ll progress more over time if you start at the basic level of reading and continue to make your way up the proficiency levels with consistent reading practice. However, it’s much better for the average English reader to read at their own level so that they can best understand the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax and to be able to draw their own conclusions about the reading material rather than to force themselves in reading a much more difficult piece of reading that will be nearly impossible to understand.

For a beginner reader, it would be best to focus on short stories of an elementary level of syntax as well as short articles of 500 words or less as well.

For an intermediate reader, you can focus on longer newspaper articles, regular magazine articles, and short novels of an intermediate level of grammar and vocabulary.

For an advanced reader, they should be able to read an average length size of a book, novel, etc. as well as be able to comprehend the meaning of most of the articles in a newspaper and a magazine rather than just a few as an intermediate reader would. They should also be able to read a research paper and/or an academic essay without feeling lost or confused.

The main thing to take away from being an English reader is to go at your own pace and don’t force yourself to read at a higher level than you are comfortable with. It’s really best to stay consistent with your reading at a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level and be able to master the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc. that goes with that level before taking it further. Once you have been tested enough on your reading comprehension at that level, you can be comfortable enough with moving up to a more advanced proficiency of reading and have a better chance of success that way in your studies.