English Learning Tips For Students
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Louisa Walsh

How to improve your English reading skills by Louisa Walsh

To improve your English, we recommend you practice all the key skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening in English. In this article we will focus on improving your reading skills in English.

Practicing reading in English will help improve your understanding of English,knowledge of English vocabulary/phrases and understanding of English grammar.

Reading does not need to be boring. Below we look at ways of improving your reading skills in English - and we link to some top websites so you have instant access to authentic and interesting English reading material.

If your English is already a good level, try newspapers. Popular 'quality' UK newspapers have online sites:

The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
The independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/
The Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/uk/

Newspaper articles are sometime difficult because they often use slang, idiom or specific cultural expressions which will be difficult for a low level learner to understand. For example, a couple of recent newspaper stories began: 'How Leonardo DiCaprio scored big with Scorsese'(was immediately popular with) and 'Iraq policy has lead to Blair's downfall' (decline in power, popularity or status.)

If modern short stories are more 'your bag' (your preference)I like this site: http://talesetc.com/copyrights.htm The stories are short so they are suitable for reading on the Internet and easy to understand. You should find a theme to interest you.

Are you interested in English culture/traditions/food? Then visit http://www.woodlandsjunior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/index.html. I love this site. It is written for children and so the language is very simple but it is very comprehensive, covering all aspects of daily life in England. There is a great section on typical English food. If you are feeling very brave, why not try one of the recipe ideas following the instructions in English

But what if you don't like reading stories, are not interested in English culture or you find English newspapers on the Internet boring or too difficult? Then don't read them! You will learn more if you read about something that interests you. Whether you like sports, film reviews or gardening, there will be a site on the Internet for you, so read about your particular pastime on the Internet in English, rather than in your own language.

Top tips to improve your English reading skills:

As mentioned, choose a theme/website/book that interests you.

Practice reading in English regularly; at least once or twice a week.

Be confident! You don't have to understand every word to understand the general meaning. Try reading a text once through first to get a 'sense' of the meaning. This can be more important than understanding every single word.

Keep a dictionary with you while you read. Advanced learners, try this online dictionary: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ Get into the habit of looking up phrases that are difficult while you are reading. Doing it afterwards might mean you forget the context.

Are you having to look in your dictionary for every second word? Then the text you have chosen is too difficult for you. Choose something else - not too easy, though. It is good to have a bit of a challenge.

Happy reading! Visit www.phone-english.net for more information on how you can improve your spoken English with 1-1 lessons by phone.

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