This article is the third in the “Four Modes of Language Learning” series and will primarily deal with ways to improve reading skills.
Reading is an enjoyable pastime for many and is often used as a tool for teaching and learning. It can also transport its readers to fantastic worlds and expose them to unique ideas. Like anything else, doing something repetitively will help you to improve.
The problem that many new language learners make is that they pick reading material equal to the material they read in their first language. Why is that a problem? Well, your skill level is quite different between your new and native language. In my classroom, I often provided easy-reader Spanish books to my high school students. They use to chuckle at the thought of having to read stories that read like “see Spot run.” In the end, they saw the wisdom in my decision as they encountered reading nuances that they never had to contend with in English.
Once you get comfortable reading material at the basic level, you can start to increase the difficulty of what you read. This will guarantee that you are always challenged. Naturally, you will read things that you like but don’t forget to read materials from different genres. The hardest part is locating good material. Here are a few suggestions to get you started: Visit the children’s area of your local library and ask to be directed to the foreign language section. Browse the internet for translated versions of your favorite children’s books and every now and again just for fun, follow native speakers on twitter or Facebook and try reading their posts.
I guarantee if you practice daily reading, your reading skills will get better and better.