Too often, people think reading is boring and difficult without realizing that reading is neither of these things. Reading is important – especially if you are trying to learn English. Even if you can listen and understand English words, you can’t claim to be fluent in English if you do not know how to read in English. But, we realize it may be easier said than done. That’s why today we are explaining why learning to read in English is important, how to succeed as an English reader, and ways to prioritize it in your daily life.
Reading is Good for Your Brain
First, it is important to understand that the main reason you should be reading is that it is good for your brain. Studies have proven that reading strengthens your cognitive abilities. For example, while taking an English class in DC is a great way to exercise your brain, reading, in particular, has been found to lower your chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
Reading is a Way to Develop Your Vocabulary
Students who attend language schools in Washington DC will discover quickly that reading is an effective way to develop your vocabulary. Often when people think of learning foreign vocabulary, they picture flashcards and memorization. But, reading is the missing step. When you read new words, you learn how these words are used in context.
Reading is an Essential Part of English Language Tests
Plus, students taking English courses in Washington DC are likely preparing to take English language tests, such as the TOEFL or the IELTS. Both of these tests have a reading section. Therefore, it is critical for English language learners to make sure they learn to read in English before they head to an English test center.
Reading is Necessary for Success
Also, reading in English is necessary for success in any English-speaking country. Again, just because you can speak English doesn’t mean you can read it. If you have goals for your education or career in English-speaking countries, it is absolutely necessary to learn how to read in English as everything from email communication to signing important documents will require it.
Reading is Fun
Finally, reading is fun! Learning to read in English will allow you to read far more texts than you were able to before. This means you will have access to even more fun things to read! You can read to escape, read to learn, read to destress, and read to grow.
5 Tips for Reading Success
Now that we have explained why reading in English is important, let’s talk about some basic ways to make reading in English (or any foreign language) easier.
- Read out loud. It is very helpful to read out loud as you are beginning. It is helpful to hear the words as you read them. Plus, it is additional English speaking practice.
- Use the pointer method. The pointer method involves using your pointer finger as you read a text. This helps you stay on track and not lose your space. It also forces you to read each word rather than skipping over words and losing the meaning of the text.
- Think about what you are reading. Before you even start to read the text, ask yourself some questions. Consider what you know about what you are about to read. For example: Is it fiction? Is it a factual text? Do you know anything about the subject already? Then, as you read, stop and think about what you have read. If you realize you do not understand what you are reading, then reread the previous section.
- Take your time. Just because you may think you can read the actual words at a fast speed doesn’t mean you are comprehending what you are reading. It is much more important to read to comprehend than it is to read quickly. Therefore, take your time when reading to ensure you understand.
- Talk about it. Look for opportunities to talk about what you are reading with others. If you are enrolled in the Washington language school, inlingua, talk to your classmates about the books you have read.
How to Prioritize Reading in English
Now you know why you should read and ways to make reading in English easier, so now let’s move on to discuss ways you can prioritize reading. For students who study English in Washington DC, reading in English will be a part of their daily routine. They will need to read in English to navigate everything in the city from maps to restaurant menus.
- Read what you love. First, it is important to read the things you want to read. In classes and work, you will be required to read certain texts. So, in your free time, read the things you enjoy, such as comic books or magazines or books about topics that are important to you.
- Don’t make it a race. You are not on a quest to read the most books in the world; therefore, take your time reading. Slow down and just enjoy it!
- Visit the library. Libraries are wonderful places where you can borrow books for free. Take advantage of your local library and stock up on books to read for fun.
- Reread books from your native language in English. A good way to practice reading in English is to reread books you have already read in your native language. Since you are already familiar with the stories, you can focus on the English vocabulary and sentence structures.
- Use e-readers. Even if you don’t own an e-reader, you can download an e-reading app for your mobile device. E-readers are excellent tools for new English readers because of the included dictionary tools, which allow users to highlight unfamiliar words and receive a definition automatically.
- Listen to audiobooks. Finally, listen to the audiobook of the book you are physically reading. This is a great way to hear how words are pronounced in English.