Reading to improve your overall IELTS score is one of the best strategies around. I can’t stress this enough. And apart from it being a great strategy, you don’t even have to pay any money to do it. If this doesn’t make it one of the best ways to learn English, I don’t know what does.
However, I know that a lot of you dislike reading, so I am going to have to work hard to persuade you. So, read on to find out why reading is a great way to improve your overall IELTS score.
This Is Not to Improve Your IELTS Reading Skills
Before we begin, I should point out that practising your reading does not help you much in the IELTS Reading Test. I know this sounds a bit of an oxymoron, but hey-ho. If you want to practise IELTS reading, google “esl intermediate / upper-intermediate / advanced (choose one) skimming and scanning practise” (without the double quotes obviously). If you want to practise for your IELTS Reading Test, check out the book below.
When I think about why reading is important for your language learning, I’m thinking about strategies to improve your vocabulary, word choice, grammar, tenses, and so. You read as it helps you to improve your speaking and writing. Your reading skill improves as well, of course, but that is not our primary focus.
Don’t Start to Early
Okay, so you want to start reading but you don’t know where to begin. First of all, you should understand that you can start to early. Especially if we are talking about ‘real’ reading, such as newspapers or novels. If you’re just learning you ABCs, then I doubt reading will help much. Mind you, if you’re just learning you ABCs, you’re probably not reading this either.
If you are a lower-level user of English, but you still want to read, well done! The best way to do this is start with something easy(ish) and move on as you get more advanced. If this is something you would like to try, you could start with the book below. Or search for something similar yourself.
Types of Reading Material
So, what types of reading material works best to improve your overall IELTS score? Well, the short answer is anything. If you like reading current affairs, then grab yourself a daily newspaper or go to the BBC. Reading novels is more your thing? Then read the type of novels that you enjoy i.e. action, romance, sci-fi, and so on.
And if you like reading stories, but you’re broke, then find an online source for reading. I suggest this short story site call East of the Web. It’s great fun, a lot of the stories can be read in a few minutes, and it’s free!
How Should You Read?
This is important because many teachers say that you should have a dictionary and a notepad while you’re reading. I’m not so sure if this is a good idea. Here’s a question. How many of you read while taking notes and looking up the meanings of the words in a dictionary? I’m pretty sure not many of you. Because it’s not fun.
I think the best thing to do is just read. You will improve your overall IELTS score. It may happen passively, and it will certainly take more time, but in the long run, I believe that you’ll be more successful. This is because you’ll continue reading, whereas you’ll probably stop if you’re thinking of your reading as an academic exercise.
By the way, reading is also a great way to help you generate ideas for the IELTS. I wrote quite a good post the other day about this. Check it out by clicking on this link.
So, I Shouldn’t Make Notes?
No, I’m not saying that. But don’t read to learn vocabulary, or to improve your grammar, or work on your tenses. Read for the pleasure of reading. However, if you want to make notes about new vocabulary, then go for it.
And if you’re going to make notes, I strongly recommend that you record lexical chunks rather than discrete words. You’re much more likely to remember phrases than individual words, and phrases are much better to help you improve your overall IELTS score. And if you’re looking for IELTS Vocabulary building, then below is the book you need.
Wrapping It All Up
And there you have it. A quick post on the benefits of reading to improve your English. One last thing. If you’re not keen on reading, don’t let that put you off. Start with just 10 or 15 minutes a day, and work up to longer amounts over the next weeks and months. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did when you improve your overall IELTS score.
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