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The Magnificent 7 ... Tips for Reading Books in English

It’s So Difficult!

A lot of people go out and buy a novel in English, full of enthusiasm and motivation. They then read three pages and give up because it seems so difficult. Motivation disappears and the book lies like an old sock in the corner of the room, lost and unloved.

7 Tips

Here are seven tips on how to avoid this problem and make reading in English fun and useful.

  1. The choice of book is so important. If you choose the wrong book, you might well find it too difficult, boring or slow. See this other blog post to help you choose the right book.
  2. Try to read in English like you do in your own language! This means that you shouldn’t try to read and understand every word. When you read books in your own language you don’t actually read every word and normally there are some words that you don’t completely understand but this doesn’t stop you from understanding the story.
  3. Don’t stop reading as soon as there is a word, phrase or structure that you don’t understand. Read to the end of the sentence or paragraph and re-read the previous sentence to see if that helps you. Essentially try to understand the new language from the wider context.
  4. Don’t expect to understand everything! If there is a word that you don’t really understand but you understand the general meaning of the sentence, it is perfectly ok to ignore that new word. Remember you are reading for fun and pleasure, not as a torture!
  5. Underline phrases, words or expressions that you don’t understand as you are reading. Then at the end of the page or chapter you can go back. But be selective! Choose just two or three things to look up in a dictionary, otherwise it will soon become boring.
  6. Be active with the language you focus on. Don’t just underline things you don’t understand – also identify expressions which you like and want to use. Do something with the words that you look up in the dictionary!
  7. Stay motivated! Remember that some books start slowly – I’d always recommend reading at least the first 20 pages. Also don’t forget the advantages of reading books in English and how it can help you.

Good luck and enjoy!

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