What if I tell you that learning a language (and in our case English) is not hard at all?
What if I tell that daily reading habit can do magic?
What if I tell you that there is a very simple formula to learn English?
First thing first!
Are you the one who cannot even look at books, let alone hold them but desperately want to improve their English language skills; or are you an avid reader and hoarder of books?
Well if you belong to the latter category than move on, please. This write up is not for you. 🙂
As for the rest of you out there who are struggling to get better in their language skills; let’s start with all the tricks that will actually help you.
Believe it or not but the strategies are quite simple. Just keep in mind that baby steps and the routine are the
1. Reading TIME and SPACE
I have always been saying to allocate a special corner in your home to your creative activities. Especially for reading. (Once you will become a proficient reader you will find yourself reading all the time and everywhere). Since its purposeful reading, therefore, a purposeful space is always a good idea.
Choose a time in the day when you actually have 15 to 20 uninterrupted minutes to spare. Start with 20 minutes and increase it gradually. This intentional read practice will condition your mind to adopt reading as a habit. You will start enjoying the ritual eventually.
2. Read What Makes Sense to YOU
Do not force yourself into reading what others recommend or what is in fashion. Go to bookstores or libraries. Start with children’s books. The focus is to learn and not to show off. Not yet at least!!!
If you are not comfortable at what you are reading then you will just have a headache and stress. Do not put yourself in torture. Read what INTERESTS you, especially keeping in mind your READING LEVEL.
Books written by Enid Blyton can be a good start. Moreover, there are sites which are loaded with book recommendations.
Here are some of the links:
3. Note Taking
Now, this is my favourite part. Whenever you read something, make sure you take notes. Maintain a notebook. Use it to write new words, phrases, information or whatever piques your interest. Ask yourself questions. Ask yourself the reasons behind what the writer has written. What surprised or confused you? What are you going to do to rectify the confusion?
Another trick is to keep post-it notes handy. Every time a question pops up in your mind, post a note.
This one practice/habit has made me a notebook hoarder. Every time I read a book or articles, I have a notebook with me. So, go and buy some fancy cute notebooks and play around them along with your books.
4. Dictionary or NO Dictionary?
Yes, the dictionary is a very good friend but when you read a book then do not open the dictionary after every line.
One, try to understand the meaning of certain words through the context. That is, read the whole page or paragraph to understand the idea.
Two. You have your notebook to help you. While reading when you scribble down the word, you can always come back after finishing your reading session.
Keep reading as reading and not classroom lecture.
5. The Changes
Slowly but surely you will feel that your mind is brimming with ideas. And here you have to start practicing this next step.
Whatever the new word or phrase you learn, make it a point to use it in your conversation or writing. If you are unsure about the pronunciation of certain words then Google is there to rescue you. This may surprise you, but you will be indulging in the art of writing also.
6. Expand your Horizon
Once you are comfortable with the basic reading materials, move on to more challenging tasks. This can include different genres or advanced level books. You can check the book recommendations online.
It is not always necessary to read big books. Read short stories, magazine articles, news reports, recipes. Just read EVERYTHING.
Do you realize that you are actually interacting with the masters of storytelling? You are learning language skills from the masters themselves. So, be appreciative of the fact that you are a chosen one to be rewarded with their presence in your private life.
8. A Book Club
This might be very ambitious. But at one point, you can actually gather friends and share your experiences with them. You might end up initiating a successful Book Club. This club will be a good way to socialize with likeminded individuals and a place to share your experiences about what you have read.
See! You will be automatically practicing what you have read and thus improving your language skills.
No language is hard. You just need to allow yourself to fall in love with words.