A time that I really like in language learning adventure, is when I have sufficient knowledge to read articles or stories that interest me.
Reading helps me enormously. I like to come across words that I’ve seen somewhere but have forgotten to use, or those that I see for the first time but I can guess their meaning from the context.
We can guess a lot from the context, often more than we imagine. And the more we read, the better we become at it.
It’s much easier to remember a word when we learn its meaning from how it is used rather than simply from translation.
And you, do you read anything in English?
And if you do, do you do anything else with the text – apart from reading it?
Do you underline new words, do you look them up in a dictionary?
Or maybe you focus on the words you know – maybe you pay attention to how they are used?
I hardly ever check all the words that are new for me in a text. I usually just look up a few crucial ones. BBut I always underline interesting collocations and note down any handy expressions that I come across.
Just as speaking about topics that truly interest us, reading can be a motivating and effective way to learn. And you really don’t have to wait until you’re advanced to enjoy authentic language.
By authentic language, I mean texts that were basically written for native speakers – they aren’t simplified for English learners.
If you pick a text which is too difficult, this may be daunting and demotivating, but many authentic texts are understandable and enjoyable, even for pre-intermediate learners.
These include some stories for children.
I’d like to share with you a story by a Dutch writer that I really like. Bibi Dumon Tak writes a lot of stories for children about animals.
When my son was small, I used to read them to him and sometimes we go back to those stories, stories about strange, loony, bizarre animals, one stranger than another.
Here’s a story about The Sloth, translated by Laura Watkinson.
(A sloth is the animal you can see in the picture below)
If you are an animals fan or if you just enjoy the humour of children books, check out it. You can download the story here: The Sloth
Notice that this language is authentic, which means that the story is in original – but it still possible to understand even if you are at around A2+ / B1 level.
The story is accompanied by exercises on vocabulary, adverbs of frequency and asking questions. Let me know if you find it useful 🙂