Does Reading Help You SPEAK English? 📚
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Reading regularly will help improve your English language skills by expanding your vocabulary, showing you how to use grammatical structures correctly – and of course, take you into the magical wonderland of stories!
Regular reading DEFINITELY helps you to become a better speaker, to understand more in English conversations; and to improve your writing skills.
Do you love reading? Or is reading not really your cup of tea?
What books are you reading now? Here are my recommendations for English learners:
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (he has also written lots of brilliant short stories)
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (anything by Roald Dahl generally!)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (I read this book last summer, and it gives a beautiful insight into the mind of a boy with Asperger’s syndrome)
The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them too?
#mmmEnglish #ReadEnglish #EnglishReadingSkills #EnglishLesson #YouTubeEnglish
Happy International Women’s Day to all my incredible female students. Your dedication, enthusiasm, persistence and commitment to bettering yourselves helps me to show up here for you each week. You are amazing #iwd #iwd2019
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
Hi! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Now you guys are always asking me how to expand your vocabulary, improve your grammar and just sound more natural when you use English. So today we’re going to talk about how reading English texts can help you do that.
Reading helps you to improve your English. It sounds simple but reading can actually have a huge effect on your language learning and it can be really enjoyable as well. I mean really, what’s better than curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book?
For many of my students, reading English texts is seen as a bit of a chore. It’s just something that you have to do to study English, right? Or perhaps the only texts that you read are the ones that are in your grammar books.
Well I want to shake things up a little bit today. But first I have a couple of disclaimers that I’d like to make here. The first one is: If you don’t really enjoy reading books in your own language, then forcing yourself to read in English probably won’t be enjoyable either. So if reading is not your jam, generally, then don’t force it.
But that said if you enjoy reading in your own language but you don’t enjoy reading in English, well that’s something that we can work on because I’m going to take a guess and say that you’re probably reading the wrong texts. Perhaps you haven’t really found a book that really interests you. Or perhaps the books that you’re reading are just too difficult for you.
Reading as an activity is supposed to be enjoyable so if you’re sitting there with a dictionary beside you, looking up every second word, spending five minutes trying to understand a paragraph, that’s not fun. That’s studying.
So my point is don’t let your pride force you to try and struggle through Shakespeare or even Jane Austen. If you’re just not ready for those books yet, you’re not ready to enjoy them. Children stories or books for teenagers can be just as entertaining and much more enjoyable if you’re a pre-intermediate or an intermediate level student. So don’t be ashamed of reading books that were written for younger people. They’re actually a brilliant way to improve your English reading skills and to advance your vocabulary whilst actually genuinely enjoying yourself.
Reading English books is not just for advanced English students. But reading can help you to become an advanced level student. Now I’ve added a list of books that I recommend in the description below and I’ve separated them by English level so hopefully, that gives you some new material to enjoy, some new books to read, right? Whatever your level.
And if you have a fabulous book that you’ve read in English and you want to recommend it to everyone who’s watching, then please do. Add the name of the book and the author to the comments. And if you’re willing to share your English level, then please do because it will help everyone else to know what level of – what type of person can enjoy that book.
So I’m going to spend the next few minutes trying to convince you about the ways that reading can actually help you to improve your English. And I’ll also help you with a few fun ideas of what you can read because I bet that by the end of this video, you’ll be looking for something to start reading.
Now don’t forget to subscribe to the channel just down there. Click that button there just so that you don’t miss out on any of the lessons that I make here. This lesson is about to get started.
Improve your vocabulary
The first thing that reading will do is help you to improve your vocabulary, right? The truth is that trying to learn new words during a spoken conversation, especially with a native English speaker can be really challenging. It’s difficult to understand everything and recognise the individual words that are being used, right?
And native speakers don’t always use the best vocabulary when they’re speaking, right? They might naturally start using slang words or words that just might leave you sweating a little bit because you don’t recognise them. They might even just get a bit lazy and say: “Can you get the, you know, the thingy? Just pass it to me, the thingy over there.” They’re hardly words that are going to help you to improve your vocabulary, right? And definitely not useful for writing emails at work or taking exams or speaking in public, right? Where you might need a higher level or a more advanced level of English.
But in a book, the author thinks really carefully about each word that they write. They want to describe a situation in an interesting, in a really specific way which really does push your vocabulary further and it’ll give you access to a much more varied and vibrant vocabulary.
Now I’m pretty sure that most of you keep a vocabulary journal somewhere. Maybe you keep a notebook with you while you read. That’s a really great tool so that you can write down any new or interesting words that you see but don’t let it disrupt you unless you really can’t understand the sentence without looking a word up. Just try and understand the meaning, write the word down and then look it up later on. Practise using it in sentences, read back over the text again. All of these things are going to help you to remember that word, remember the meaning and how to use it.
Don’t forget that building your vocabulary is a lifelong journey for you and also for me, I’m still learning new words every day. You won’t just know all English words at one point, you’ll continually keep adding to your vocabulary throughout your lifetime. And reading is a really great way to do that.
The brain remembers more when it sees things!
Now for most of us, the brain remembers more when it sees something. Having a combination of visual and audio is really important. So without getting too serious or too technical here, because I’m not a neuroscientist, but the brain stores things in different places. So audio information – that sound – is usually stored in your short-term memory. So things that you hear are stored in a more temporary place. And visual information, so that includes memories and pictures, this is stored in a way that makes it easier for your brain to remember it over a longer period of time. So seeing things on a page can help you to remember them better than just hearing the words. But doing both is great! So reading an English book and listening to how the words are spoken, it ticks both of these boxes.
Now I’ve mentioned my good friends at Audible before, they’ve got thousands and thousands of English books that are recorded in audio format. Your favourites are probably there waiting for you. Now the great thing about Audible is that you can try it out for free using the link in the description below so you can get your first audiobook completely free. And even if you decide that you don’t really want to continue with your Audible membership, then you still get to keep the book that you downloaded so I really recommend that you sign up and try it out. Listening whilst you’re reading is like super-powered English practice.
Learn English in ‘chunks’
Another benefit to reading English books is that you’re learning English in chunks. So if you’ve already been studying English for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s full of collocations and idioms and slang expressions. Words that commonly appear together or even change meaning when they’re used together. That is why you love English so much, right?
But these expressions and these word combinations are so important to sound natural when you speak or when you use English but it’s an impossible task to try and memorise them or learn them on your own. Impossible! But reading lets you see and experience how these words are used together in chunks and in context, right? Seeing these different uses over and over again will help you to get used to them and become familiar with them. And you’ll learn what sounds right and what doesn’t. It’s a much more natural way of picking up the language. The more you see different collocations, the more comfortable you’ll feel with using them yourself, right?
Now another benefit is full immersion. So think about a grammar lesson or even a vocabulary lesson, you don’t always get the full picture of what’s happening, right? It’s a little snapshot and you’re probably learning new words or grammar rules but you’re not usually getting the chance to experience them within context and within culture, right?
Whilst those lessons are incredibly important to learn and to understand the rules, reading shows you what kind of people use certain words and in which situations they use them. So it helps you to understand the nuances of tone and formality. You’ll get to learn the culture that goes with the language, right? It’s an immersive experience.
Now for a more practical reason to read English books, let’s talk about easier logistics. You can read anytime anywhere, you don’t need to coordinate across time zones to see when your book’s available. And your book doesn’t need to have a Wi-Fi connection either unless you’re downloading a new one from Kindle.
But you don’t need a lot of money to read either. You can carry your book anywhere. I mean, I read my books on my phone now. Books are always with me, I’ve got a whole library of them, right? I can read it for a few minutes while I’m riding the bus or I’m waiting at the doctor’s, I’m in the bath, whatever. I mean you could even read your book on the toilet if you liked. I don’t mind as long as you’re doing it somewhere. You’re filling in that dead and wasted time in your daily schedule and you’re making all of those little time slots worthwhile.
Now I actually gave some tips to help you take advantage of this sort of dead, empty time in your schedule during this lesson right here where I talked about creating your own English study plan so definitely check that one out.
So I hope that this lesson convinced you to pick up a book and get back into the habit of reading in English. Stick at it for a few months and I guarantee that you’ll notice the improvement in your English. So the next question is: What should you be reading? This genuinely is a question that you need to answer for yourself because we all like different things. You don’t always have to read something that’s serious and educational because all reading in English can help you to learn and improve in one way or another.
In fact, reading different types of texts, some formal, some serious, some fun, this is only going to help you. So to help you I’m going to give you a few little suggestions. You could try reading the news in English online. Subscribe to an English newspaper or something like that, just so that you’re constantly receiving the same text. You could also take out a subscription to an online magazine. You could also find a blog about a topic that interests you but I recommend that you sign up to their newsletter so that you receive their blog posts each week by email, okay? You could even choose one of your favourite books. Maybe one that you’ve read in your own language and then read the English version. But even better, get the audiobooks so that you can listen and read at the same time. Don’t forget that the link to Audible is in the description below so that you can try getting an audiobook for free. Try it out, see if you like it.
But whatever you read, wherever you read, you are improving your English so just make a habit of it, okay? Of course, I would love you to share any of your favourite books or magazines or blogs that you read in English in the comments below. Share them with everyone who’s watching and tell us why you love them.
That’s it from me today but make sure you check out that lesson there if you want to keep improving your English skills with me. Or if you’re looking for something else, then check out that one right there, I’ve picked it just for you. So happy reading!
Links mentioned in the video
Best of 2018 | TOP 5 mmmEnglish Lessons
How to OVERCOME SHYNESS & speak confidently in English
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