Magazine topic: 
Books

Reading for fun ... in English!

by : 
JaredT

When I was at primary school, summers holidays meant football with friends, countless PlayStation1 (wow I feel old...) sessions and more importantly no homework. Yet admittedly there was one thing I always feared…the book project. For those of you that don’t know what it is, it is a scheme to encourage young people to read, which involves finishing five books during the two months of holidays. Although it wasn’t obligatory, my sister was an avid reader and keen participator, so I was somewhat forced into it to by my parents. At the time of choosing the books I had a rather basic checklist; pictures, very few pages and a large font. Nevertheless, receiving the certificate on completion, which would stand proudly on the table for the first two weeks of term, helped motivate me to start enjoy reading. Now I can safely say that it is a hobby of mine. So, if you also enjoy reading, why not use a hobby to help you learn English?

Okay, so firstly it’s important to choose a book which is the right level for you. This is extremely important. If you are just starting out with English, don’t try to read a 600 page classic novel! Not only may you fall into a coma through boredom but something too difficult will make you feel negative about your own level. The more you read at your level the better you will get, and one day, you will be ready for something more challenging!

Secondly, although having a dictionary at hand to look up words which appear a lot is useful, I would recommend trying not to translate word by word. You will soon get bored of looking through the dictionary and you may end up wanting to throw it out the window! This is more serious if you’re using an online dictionary…Go into the process accepting that you are not going to understand every word. It will often be the case that the words you don’t recognise will be uncommon words that you will never use in your life…hence not as important to learn! Look up the words that you think are important to understand the text or follow the story. This is important, so as to stop the process from becoming boring. If you do learn a new word, as with any new vocabulary, try to use it in a sentence. This will make it more likely that you will remember it in the future.

Finally, perseverance is key. Although at first it may seem that reading has become a chore, you will soon get into the story and you will end up not being able to put the book down! The feeling of finishing a book in a different language is very satisfying. If you finish one, however, don’t stop there! The more you read the more vocabulary you will learn and the more you will start to become familiar with sentence structures and common phrases. 

I hope the next time you pick up a book it will be in English!

PS. Picking it up and putting it back on the shelf doesn’t count…  

Discussion

Do you enjoy reading? Do you read a lot in English? Do you think it helps you to improve your language level?
Check out our Easy reading section if you're looking for short texts to read at your level.  

Comments

salah's picture
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salah 27 August, 2015 - 16:15

Reading is the best way to improve our english skills, it's like charging our minds by knowledge and ideas.

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francesca97it's picture
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francesca97it 13 December, 2014 - 19:45

I love read and i love english literature. So, i have read one book in english: "the canterbury ghost". I have understand well the story becouse it was for my level. I want to read another books in english.

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movingtoUKteen's picture
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movingtoUKteen 23 May, 2014 - 13:59

Harry potter and hunger games have been my friends when it came to reading in English, I read my first harry potter book about 3 years ago ( I was 12) and I started with number 6, not so smart I know... :(
But after that I started reading them from the right order and it became a kind of big puzzle I saw a word that I didn't know and tried to guess the meaning, than I would try to remember it by saying it a lot of times and writing it down.
So that would be a hint for everyone that wants to read some English books for the first time, and another one: read it first in your own language and after that in English.
it is just the the harry potter books are so awesome, otherwise I don't think I would have been able to make it till the very last book.
p.s does anyone here know what Thou means? I found it in a old book but I have never heard of it and translate says that it means you, but you means you right? ( okay that last line is confusing)

bye bye

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 12 July, 2014 - 12:46

Hi! I know what you mean. If you read series of books in the wrong order, when you read the earlier books you already know what is going to happen. But I still enjoy it. I like finding out how things came to happen and you can see how characters change too. It's a different experience for you as a reader.

Did you find the answer to your question about 'thou'? You're right to mention that it was in an old book - that's helps to explain it. It's a very old word and it means 'you', like you said. English today is quite different from old English!

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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SweetRobin3's picture
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SweetRobin3 15 March, 2014 - 17:30

yes ! books are important to improve my English level
any way books are important part of life :)

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justcricketforme 14 March, 2014 - 12:33

I love reading. Well, ever since I started school, at four, I've been reading English. I was from start motivated to read in English. I usually read in English. I have a question to ask. A week ago we were making scentences as our English coursewok. I wrote a scentence:
"I told Jenny and Charlotte that they must come on my birthday because Mum wants to meet them,"
My teacher encircled "Mum" and cut a whole mark. I asked her why and she said it's not formal. Is it? As many English books I have read have got "Mum" written in 'em. Am I right or wrong? Please help!

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JoEditor's picture
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JoEditor 14 March, 2014 - 15:01

Hi justcricketforme,
The sentence you wrote sounds good to me, but I'm not sure of the context of the sentence. Did your teacher want you to write 'mother' instead of 'mum'? Mum is the most common way of referring to your mother in English - it's informal, but in most contexts it's fine. :)
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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Amazing's picture
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Amazing 7 March, 2014 - 23:52

I always love books and reading.
So one of my goals this year is to read at least 12 books in English.
I hope to accomplish.

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cklj's picture
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cklj 13 February, 2014 - 20:50

I always enjoy reading. I'm reading all the time. I haven't tried reading a book in a foreign language, but I'd love to. This text has motivated me to start reading in English. It can't be too hard, can it?

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 14 February, 2014 - 01:50

Hi cklj! I'm really glad this blog has inspired you. Keep the three tips in mind. Now you have an exciting choice to make ... which book to read! Do you have a school library? They might have some English books you can borrow and read. If you have a big bookshop where you live, you could see if they have any English books. Good luck making your choice
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

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EDUARD's picture
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EDUARD 7 January, 2014 - 10:29

Yes, I really enjoy reading. I prefer reading detective stories in English. In fact, reading isn't my hobby, but when I begin reading English detective, I can't break away :D...I'm sure that every page improves our English skills.

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RAGSANA99's picture
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RAGSANA99 29 December, 2013 - 15:24

My hobby is reading.It is difficult to me to read in English, but I can read English short stories

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maryagnes's picture
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maryagnes 23 December, 2013 - 21:33

I enjoy reading a book , I realy like read books in my mother tongue.
Honestly, I've never read a book in English , I don't know why , but I have some difficulties in English so I have a little scared
But, in my opinion I think that read books in English is very good to learn vocabulary and others things as traditions, etc...
And, one day, I'm going to try read a book in English like hunger games or other.

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Molnomore 18 December, 2013 - 13:20

I've finished 2 books and that kind of feeling is beyond words! At first it maybe difficult but you will enjoy it gradually though there are still many words you can't understand. That is the magic of literature.

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Oliii98's picture
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Oliii98 8 December, 2013 - 18:13

After reading this article I can say that I will read a english book! I really want to improve my english. I'm thinking of watching english television or films, but I'll maybe do that.

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Natalija's picture
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Natalija 5 December, 2013 - 19:49

Yes, I really enjoy reading. I prefer reading in my mother tongue, but I completely agree that reading in English helps a lot. I read all books by Jane Austen and Bronte sisters in English, I like their writing style, and now I'm reading Scot Fitzgerlad's books in English.

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ellen's picture
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ellen 30 November, 2013 - 19:10

I love reading books but i have difficulties in reading english books.
i prefer reading ~Mark Twain~book.

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SandraB's picture
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SandraB 28 November, 2013 - 17:16

I've been reading books since i was barely six?I always loved reading and there is nothing else in this worldthat can improve your knoweldge and writing than books.I don't really have any difficulties readig English books,I have read 'The Fault In Our Stars' with barely using dictionary.

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Bosnianchild's picture
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Bosnianchild 22 November, 2013 - 20:46

I really love reading books. I love reading anything. I really want to improve my English, I must do it!!

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Leia's picture
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Leia 20 November, 2013 - 13:59

I don't like much reading books. Also I have little time to read books. However, nowadays I feel I need to read more books for my writing ability. Books have a lots of words and grammers and expressions. So I think reading book is very helpful to improve English ability.

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dinhthi46ml's picture
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dinhthi46ml 19 November, 2013 - 09:25

Book is amazing! We try read books, it is acknowledge of life and to have skill english. Good luck every body!

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MALINE's picture
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MALINE 17 November, 2013 - 16:02

I like reading books and as a matter of fact I´m reading a novel in English Caught in a crossfire by Wade wilton it has 421 pages and I´m at page 110 and I´ve only looked up like 12 words in the dictionary and it´s true what Jared said you don´t have to look up every single word that you don´t understand if you read all the sentence or the tewt you´ll get an idea of the meaning of that word.
Although I have a question I read "I breakfasted" instead of I had breakfast is that ok? please let me know,thanks.

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Harabeli Supersweet's picture
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Harabeli Supersweet 16 November, 2013 - 15:17

I really enjoy reading. Yes, I read in English and it helps me to improve my reading skills. I usually read simple stories, Disney books. I like fairytales.

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260344 26 December, 2013 - 15:54

I enjoy reading. I read a lot, but not on English, but I would like to try. I think that helps us to improve our language level.

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