Are you good at reading English? Do you want to improve your English reading skill? I’ll suggest 3 best ways to improve your English reading skill.
1. Speed up your reading
You should increase the reading speed to be a good English reader. The key factors to read fast are “Automaticity” and “Fluency”. If you know the meaning of a word very well, you’ll understand the meaning as soon as you see the word. That’s “Automaticity”. If you read the complicated sentence using phrasal chunking and prosody, that will help you increase “Fluency”. I use two ways for increasing my “Automaticity” and “Fluency”. One is to connect a word with an image. When I hear or read some unfamiliar word, I’ll check the meaning of it and visualize an image of the word. Then I’ll practice speaking the word keeping the image in my mind. That will be the base of “Automaticity”. Regarding “Fluency”, I often practice oral reading, repeating, overlapping and shadowing. Those speaking trainings will naturally make me understand the correct chunking and prosody. I recommend you to try some exercises to improve your “Automaticity” and “Fluency” to speed up your reading.
2. Increase our vocabulary
It is necessary to increase your vocabulary to be a good English reader. If you know only 100 English words, you can’t understand today’s news about Syria’s situation. When you face a new word, let’s guess the meaning of it from the context first. Don’t check the dictionary every time you see a new word. Just read a lot. Then, you’ll find that you often see the same word and naturally you can get the meaning of it from the context. Now, researchers says that we need between 6,000 and 7,000 words to understand daily listening and 20,000 words for academic texts. How many words are necessary for you? It depends on what you want to read and how much you want to understand. So don’t buy a word list book at a bookstore. If you read what you want to read in English a lot, you can make your own word list in your mind. If you want to use a real word list, make your own word list based on what you read. On your own word list, you should add an example phrase using each word. You should know how you can use the word in a phrase. Don’t think about how much vocabulary you have seriously. Just enjoy reading and increase your vocabulary!!
3. Confirm what you get from reading
Let’s confirm what you get from reading the book, the document, the e-mail, the newspaper, etc.. If there’s nothing left in you, reading it was almost meaningless. It just took your time. As a pre-reading activity, let’s consider what you’re trying to get by reading it and make some questions to the author. You can do it based upon a title, a table of contents, skimming of the 1st paragraph, keywords from the document, the author’s information, etc. As a while-reading activity, why don’t you making underlines, highlights or taking notes on what you thought was impressive. As a post-reading activity, I recommend you to summarize the point and make some reaction. Making a mind-map, sharing your ideas on Facebook, talking with your friends, recommending it or criticizing it, trying something new according to what you just read… All of them are effective for confirming what you read.
Speed up, increase the vocabulary, confirm what you get, and let’s become a good English reader!!
Tanikei is an English learning coach who supports all the stray English learners in Japan. She herself has been learning English at FORWARD since September, 2011. She loves to learn English, to communicate with many people and to help others achieve their goals. She is a CDO (Chief Dreaming Officer) of a start-up company, “petite lettre” that publishes digital books on Amazon Kindle, iBookstore, Kobo, Google play.