Read English for fluency

If you want to increase your vocabulary and fluency in your mother tongue, it is helpful to read as widely as possible. You will meet new words and work out their meaning from context. Sometimes you might need to refer to a dictionary.

Guess what? The same benefits are seen when you are learning a foreign language. Read every English word you see.

Keen readers spend much of their childhood reading the small print on the back of cereal boxes, because they are not allowed to have a book or Kindle at the breakfast table but they just can’t help reading! There’s a starting point for you. Open your cupboards or visit a supermarket and see how many products are labelled in English.


Have fun with picture books like Baby’s First Books. Read children’s books or easy readers edited for adult learners. All of┬áthese will build your confidence and give you regular revision of vocabulary and sentence patterns.

As well as reading these simple texts, experiment with more advanced language. Read articles from the news. Aim to read at least one a day. International stories are usually the easiest to follow, because you are already familiar with the topics from news reports in your own language. This will give you the vocabulary you need to talk about these subjects if the opportunity for conversation comes up. Reading prepares you for the action of speaking.

Professional journals in your area of expertise are accessible, again because you are familiar with their content so you can guess the meaning of new words or confusing structures.

If you enjoy reading for pleasure in your first language, push yourself even at an early stage of learning English. Choose non-fiction books on topics that interest you or try reading novels. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you understand. Just read, and the sentence structures will put down roots in your brain.

The more frequently you meet words, whether hearing, seeing or saying them, the more they become “your” words. Once they are fixed in your mind, they will be tools you can use to express yourself. Remember to read aloud every day to speed up the process of converting your passive understanding of English into a storehouse of active knowledge. Put it to use whenever you can!


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