EDITING : 2022.7.18 월 18:01
The Gachon Herald
Read a book!improvement of English ability through reading
kweagle  |  g.herald1984@gmail.com
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Updated : 2022.06.30  12:29:23
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
 Learning a new language is one of the most challenging tasks a person can set out to do and learning to speak with others is one of the most sought-after goals. A vast number of articles, blogs, websites, etc. are devoted to the learning of language and how best to go about the process, and frankly, the search for the ‘best’ method can be exhausting; the methods learners attempt often do not provide the results they are looking for. Language learning is difficult, there are no quick fixes, there is no ‘magical’ way to go about acquiring the skills needed to communicate in a new language. There are certainly best practices, for example, listen more, write more, speak more (alone and with others), and read more, to name the most basic.
 
 As a language educator, one of the most frequent questions asked of me is how to improve. I always get the feeling the person asking believes we, educators, hold special knowledge which will enable them to somehow reach the level of language proficiency they are seeking. The answer is we do not have this special knowledge. What we do have are ideas for working through the language acquisition process, sometimes they are successful. There are so many factors involved in what will work for one learner and will not work for another; trial and error is often the only way to find what works for you.
 
 But let us just get to the information you are looking for: what do I as a language educator believe can help you on your journey? The answer to that question is reading, LOTS of reading. I do not mean reading once in a while or reading about how to learn language, I mean reading all the time, every day, and reading what interests you. Extensive reading has been shown to improve language skills, including the often-desired speaking skills (e.g., Norbaevna & Yuldashevna, 2019; Mart, 2012; Renandya, 2007).
 
 Most importantly, reading a lot provides a comfortable and stress reduced way of diving deeply into language use. You do not need to do this in a classroom under the watchful eyes (and ears) of teachers and classmates; learners read at their own pace and in their own space with texts they want to read.
 
 While you are reading, you gain access to the use of language, e.g., grammar, vocabulary, spoken language, thought language, etc. Since the activity of reading is personal and self-controlled, you have the time to think through the language you are experiencing. I recommend reading a text without stopping; if you find there are language items you do not understand, have a method of marking your book or e-book for review after reading. Just read and let your brain (an actual ‘supercomputer’) do the work for you; without conscious effort, you are likely to absorb a great deal of knowledge regarding language use without specifically spending time on learning the details. This can help reduce the stress of language learning and allow you to enjoy the material. However, it is important to find time and ways to put your newly found language knowledge to use, such as speaking with others, listening to podcasts, watching film or television, etc.
 
 The most important things I would suggest are: a) read what you enjoy; b) read at an appropriate level (about 50-70% understanding) and gradually increase the difficulty of the texts, for example, graded readers are an easy way to accomplish this; c) read out loud as often as possible to start getting a feeling for how the words sound; and d) read every day. Like all language use, reading requires dedication, motivation, and a goal; you need to find these for yourself as they cannot be provided for you. However, once you have found them, you have what you need to get into and learn a language.
 
 Reading may seem an unlikely way to improve speaking, listening, and writing skills, but I believe you will find positive results if you devote yourself to reading, regardless, it certainly is not going to cause any harm. I have seen this process in action with someone starting with Who Were the Beatles (Edgars & Tugeau, 2006), 112 easy pages; then a few stories of slightly increasing difficulty; getting to Wonder (Palacio, 2012), 315 more serious pages; again a few novels of slightly increasing difficulty; arriving at Seveneves (Stephenson, 2015), a mind-bending 880 pages! This took place over two years of reading every day, and the progress was evident in reading skills, language acquisition, and speaking confidence; these improvements were from the reading alone, there were no language classes or private language study, just reading. This is not an example of empirical evidence, but it is something you can do on your own, no help needed.
 
 If I can offer one way to get you started, it would be to ask someone, including myself, what they think you could start reading. In the event you decide you would like to start looking at your language learning in a different way, look no further, find some books, start reading, and never stop!
 
 Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in reading and would like suggestions on where to start.
 
References
Hamrayevna, R. O., & Rashidovna, S. M. (2019). Impact of extensive reading to develop
speaking skills.International Journal on Integrated Education,2(4), 11-14.
Mart, C. T. (2012). Developing speaking skills through reading.International Journal of
English Linguistics,2(6), 91.
Renandya, W. A. (2007). The power of extensive reading.RELC Journal,38(2), 133-149. 
 
   

▲ Dept of. Global Language Center

Prof.Dean Jorgensen

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