Getting your reading comprehension up to scratch can be fun and motivating. You can improve your reading skills by watching films and TV shows with English subtitles. You can also read a newspaper or a magazine.
The best way to improve your reading skills is by picking up a book!
You will find that reading books is still one of the most efficient ways to improve your reading skills and add a lot of vocabulary to your word bank. The trick is to find THE book that hooks you and makes you feel confident enough to pick up another book.
1.Find a good book length with short chapters
Too long you will get discouraged. Too short and you’ll be bored. Look for a book with about 150-250 pages. Interesting books with less than 200 pages are harder to find, unless you go for books for a younger audience.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Fiction- Youth 13+)
- James Patterson’s ‘Bookshots’ (Mystery & Thrillers and Fiction available)
- Penguin Readers series (Classics & Fiction)
- Alexander McCall Smith (Mystery and Thrillers)
Tip: Whenever possible, listen to the audiobook at the same time. It can help you with your pronunciation and your listening skills.
NB: If you’re a slow reader, reduce the speed of the audiobook.
2. Find a story that interests you
Find something exciting! Learning a language can be fun and reading even more so. Choose something to your personal taste. Have a read through the ‘blurb’ (fancy word for ‘summary’) at the back of the book to see if the story will interest you.
- Youth literature: Easier and shorter books on the whole, but still really good books.
- ‘Chick lit’ (aka Romance): Light and funny, and so quick and enjoyable to read.
- Crime & mystery: Great page-turners – you won’t notice the time fly!
Tip: If you don’t mind reading a story twice, try to read a book you particularly loved reading in your native language. Since you won’t have to concentrate on the storytelling, you will be able to focus on the vocabulary and the sentence structure.
3. Level of English in the book
Open a book you find interesting and read the first page. If you can understand what’s happening, you’re already on the right path. Find something that will challenge you without the need of a dictionary every 3 words.
Also, try to choose a book where the story is linear and not so tangled. Focus on working on your comprehension skills first and later you can explore the different writing styles on offer.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to read children’s and teen books. They can be exciting and interesting even as an adult. Try:
- The Chronicles of Narnia by CS. Lewis
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Harry Potter by JK Rowling
- Charlotte’s Web by EB White
Extra tips: If you’re looking for some literature in your native language in Edinburgh, stop at the Central Library on George IV Bridge or in charity bookshops where you can find foreign literature. You can also order online (look at Abe Books and Amazon).
To get more suggestions, do not hesitate to drop us an email! We’d be happy to share our favourite reads!
Written by Judith Bellemare, Venture English