Just Read It!

There are so many benefits to reading on a daily basis – reducing stress, improving memory or even just to kill some time. But reading every day will help you to improve your English as well.

It’s totally understandable that after a long day of school or work, sometimes the last thing you want to do is strain your brain. After all, reading requires some focus, attention, and mental engagement, right? Sometimes you just want to do something where you don’t have to think – like binge watching a TV show.

I get it. But reading doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Here are a few things to remember:

1. Reading should be fun

If you’re dreading picking up a book and starting to read it, it’s probably because you’re reading the wrong kind of book. If you’re reading a book that you find really boring, then you’re not going to be invested or interested in it, and you’ll interpret ‘reading time’ with ‘boring time’.  Reading time will drag on and on and you’ll be reluctant to pick it up again. There are thousands of books to chose from on hundreds of different topics. So the odds are you’re going to find something you enjoy reading. If you’re interested in a specific topic/idea, there is someone out there who’s written about it! Reading should be fun, so find a book that makes you feel excited to find out what happens or what you can learn.

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2.You don’t have to read forever

Reading time can feel like forever if you think that you have to spend hours at a time reading. You absolutely don’t! Read as much (or as little) as you’d like. If you can only read five minutes before you feel like your eyeballs are burning, then that’s great. Over time, you’ll probably realize that you can gradually increase the amount of time you spend reading. Not everybody can read for extended periods of time, and that’s totally okay. Spend whatever amount of time you feel comfortable reading – it doesn’t need to be excessive. 

3.Don’t read junk

Maybe you’ve picked up a book (or downloaded one from Amazon) and you notice that it’s not very well written or it’s riddled with spelling mistakes or you just find it boring – you’re not obligated to finish reading it. It’s like watching a TV show. You may give the first episode a shot, but if you realize the show is not well made and just not for you, you’re probably not going to continue watching it.

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4. Don’t get overwhelmed by the length of a book

Perhaps you’ve picked up a book and the length alone overwhelmed you. Don’t let this happen to you. There are no deadlines with reading – take as long as you need. You don’t need to finish a book within a certain amount of time. Alternatively, you can try reading short stories – they may feel less overwhelming.

Now that we’ve discussed things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a book to read, let’s talk about some of the benefits. As I mentioned before, reading can help reduce stress and anxiety or improve your memory, but we’re going to discuss specific examples of reading improving your English.

1.Vocabulary

The more you read, the more you’re exposed to new vocabulary words. Even if you don’t actively look up the new words, just exposing yourself through reading will allow them to creep into your everyday vocabulary. This is why you want to pick books with new challenging words in them – you don’t want to pick something too easy.

2. Context

Along with learning new vocabulary, you’ll be able to understand the context of new words. When you’re given a list of vocabulary terms and their definitions, it can be hard to understand how to use them in everyday situations. However, when you read, you’ll be exposed to the context of new vocabulary terms and you’ll know how to use them.

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3. Writing

Exposing yourself to well-written books will help improve your writing. When you’re writing, you’ll be able to draw on previous examples that you’ve read.  The books you read will have an impact on your own writing style, and your writing will become more concise and fluid. If you struggle with grammar reading more will be especially helpful. Over time, you’ll understand what doesn’t “sound right” in your writing.

You may be hesitant to start reading, but just give it a go! If you find a book that you enjoy, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of reading – including seeing improvements in your English. How often do you read? What kind of books do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

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