English listening and reading are the two fundamental skills required for one to develop and keep developing one's English language skills further.
Listening and reading are the two bedrocks on which one builds and further develops one's English language skills. Hence, when you work on listening and reading skills, you will also improve writing and speaking skills and other English language sub skills. The point is to improve overall English skills; one must listen and read as much as one can.
Reading is a very important measure of one's overall English language skills in all English language proficiency tests including Pearson Test of English Academic(PTE). If one can read and comprehend the text with ease, one has good English skills. On the other hand, if one reads slowly or finds comprehending the written text difficult, it means one has poor English skills.
The first step to cure an illness is to diagnose it. Similarly, with reading, the first step is to identify what English sub skills you lack that affect your reading or reading comprehension. We identified a number of reasons that can affect a student's reading comprehension depending on their English language proficiency. Student with extremely poor English skills and who read slowly; do not know how to pronounce or interpret the written word. This is a symptom of poor vocabulary and unfamiliarity of English Grammar. Students with medium English skills, find it difficult to comprehend academic English text. This is because they are not used to reading Academic English and are unaware of how academic texts are structured and are unfamiliar with academic vocabulary or Jargon.
To improve English reading skills, you must diagnose your English skills in the context of reading. Ask yourself what affects your reading comprehension. Furrther down in this article, you will find tools to help you with this diagnose and how to use this diagnosis to improve reading and other communication skills.
It is quite obvious; to improve reading and reading comprehension skills, you have to read and read as much as you can every day. However, the question arises, what does one read?
What you read depends upon your English language proficiency. If your English skills are poor, that is, you read slowly and have difficult comprehending simple written texts, you should read novels, news articles and so on. If you have problem comprehending academic literature, the kind featured in Academic English language proficiency tests; you need to expose yourself to as much academic literature as possible. I suggest that you read academic articles on websites like economist.com, editorials and columnist on various topics relating to academic disciplines such as science, economy and the like on theguardian.com, Washington Post, New York Times, and Wikipedia to name a few. You will also find academic articles on scholar.google.com.
Reading alone is not going to help you. You have to read with a purpose. The primary purpose you should read is to comprehend the message of each line, paragraph and the overall text. As you read, identify the factors that affect your comprehension. Suppose, If you are unable to comprehend the message of a paragraph, ask yourself what is inhibiting your comprehension. It may be some words or words used in a different context that you are unfamiliar with. It may be a phrase that you have come across for the first time. Research these words or phrases; internalize them; so much that they are part of your language as much as your heart.
You may read random articles; however it is best to read with curiosity to quench thirst of understanding about a particular topic. When, you go through a list of articles on a website, ask yourself what you will like to learn from your reading of that article. You can also choose a topic of your choice to research and learn. For example, you may want to learn about academic English structure for writing. Search for related articles on Google or scholar.google.com. As you read about a topic, develop further curiosity on related topics that come to your knowledge as you read; research these topics further.
you must read for comprehension; however at the same time, learn how the author has used preposition, articles, adjectives, words and the like to express her/himself. As you come across new phrases, words, grammar, expressions whilst reading, internalize these new skills and make them a part of yourself.
There are number of exercises one can use to internalize new English expressions and words. Below are a few ways you can internalize English skills that you learn. The method which will be suitable to you depends on your learning preferences; however, we recommend a mixture of these techniques to achieve best results
Paraphrase the same idea using your current English skills. Compare and contrast your English with that of the author. Note the differences, understand the errors in your English.
Write down 5 sentences how you would use the new phrase, expression or word in real life or everyday situations
Paraphrase the same idea that you have read or another idea in your own words but use the phrase, expression or word that you are trying to internalize.
Search for examples using the same phrase, expression or word to get examples of how people use them in everyday communication.
Be conscious when using English skills for communication through writing and speaking. Correct yourself when you make a mistake using the new prases, expressions or words that you are trying to internalize.
The application of above techniques can help you internalize the new words, phrases or expression within a week, while eliminating incorrect usage that you were accustomed to before, completely from your system.
For readers, looking forward to developing advanced academic English reading skills will find this article imcomplete and rightly so. However, worry not, soon we will come up with an article for advanced academic reading skills.
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