Improve your English: reading skills

Before improving your reading skills, and the same as with the listening activities, you need to start thinking that it is OK to not understand everything and that THIS IS NORMAL!!!

It’s a good idea to think about exactly what you are going to do with your reading:

Plan BEFORE reading? What type of text is it? A newspaper article? A blog? A WhatsApp?
Predict language and vocabulary BEFOREhand?
Just read and see what happens?
Focus on understanding context?
Focus on specific information?
Make a table with unknown vocabulary or expressions?
Are you going to write a summary AFTER having read it?
Keep a diary about how difficult/easy/frustrating you find reading in English?
Make vocabulary and grammar activities from your original reading activity?

Tips and recomendations to improve your reading skills

  • You could find articles online about topics YOU are interested in. If you like photography, WHY NOT read an article you would have read in your native language? If you like mountain climbing, singing, skiing, gardening, cooking, history, geography, nature, knitting, camping OR WHATEVER, find an article, read and enjoy it!!
  • The fact that you choose something YOU ALREADY KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT makes it much more likely to understand more vocabulary and you will find it much easier to infer meaning from that which is already familiar to you.
  • DON’T choose a book JUST BECAUSE it is in English. Be practical, don’t frustrate yourself. If a book is too much for your level or time constraints at the moment, accept this fact, don’t stress about the fact you are not ready yet because YOU WILL BE one day!
  • Read Facebook pages and Instagram statuses in English. Very short, quick exercises which you do anyway in your native language. Twitter posts, memes! Look at the language, think about the structure for a minute! Pay conscious attention.
  • Understand you also have to break out of your current English routine in order to move forward. your feelings of insecurity and overall competence are intrinsically linked.  Immerse yourself in new contexts, feel good about learning again.
  • Read 1 blog a week. You have to find something that you feel comfortable reading. The idea is not to read mass amounts of text, the idea is to have regular contact with English from as many natural sources as possible.
  • The wider the scope of formats and contexts the broader your perspective becomes. However, try focusing on ONE topic and read several articles about the same topic for a period of time.
  • And when I suggest you pay attention to the LANGUAGE AROUND YOU, I want you to imagine yourself walking down a street in Barcelona. How many signs in English can you see? Names of restaurants, shops, gyms. How many adverts can you count in English when you are on the metro?
    How many people can you hear talking in English on TV, on the radio, or while you are on a train, or in a restaurant, in a bar, or at work? Conversations, songs, advertisements…English IS around you and if you just start noticing it: by making your brain aware, you start to live through the language rather than ‘study’ it in a textbook!

Reading activities are great springboards for creating your own vocabulary and grammar activities and all of the above strategies can be applied to listening as well.

  • For example, you read an article about Donald trump. What you could then do is:
    • Go back to the text and look at if the article talks in the present, past or future
    • Look at what type of writing it is; Article, blog, informal, formal, passive or active voice, how it is written, and the grammar points they use.
    • Become the teacher.
    • You see a structure like ‘would have been seen’, type it in Google and have a read about the structure for 5 mins!

General: aprende algo nuevo cada día. Espacio con información muy variada. magazine de noticias, política, cultura y tecnología. Información sobre pequeñas empresas y startups. Revista con relatos breves, ensayos y críticas sobre temas diversos.

Technology: para aquellos que buscan información sobre tecnología (últimos desarrollos y tecnología).

Sports: Noticias relacionadas con el deporte y grandes eventos deportivos que se producen en el mundo.

News: es el servicio público de radio, televisión e internet de Reino Unido. Noticias nacionales e internacionales.

Films & culture : artículos y noticias sobre películas y celebrities.

Curious: para aquellos que les gusta “saber como y el por qué” de ciertos temas. Secciones: Entertainment, History, Language, People. para los que buscan noticias poco comunes. noticias con artículos de interés global.

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Liz McFarland

Lingüística e innovadora en educación, con más de 10 años de experiencia en formación de lengua inglesa.

Una Familia Online: Ideas, sugerencias y fuente de inspiración para familias activas.

Aprende ingles por tu cuenta – Improve your reading skills.

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Un comentario en «Improve your English: reading skills»

  1. Muchas gracias por la información. Gran aporte de esta web. Un cordial saludo!

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