15 Tips on Reading English Texts: Why, What & How

Reading is one of the four skills of a language. However, reading English texts can help improve your reading skills and overall language competence.

Reading English texts can help you to learn about English-speaking culture. In addition, reading newspapers, books, and stories is an excellent way to learn how language can be used differently.

Here I have shared WHY, HOW, and WHAT you should read to improve your English.

WHY Should You Read English Texts?

Reading English texts, such as books, news, magazines, etc., has different benefits. Here are some specific reasons for reading to improve your English competence.

1. To Enrich Your Vocabulary

Reading can help you learn new words in context. If you write any text of your level, you will find a minimal number of words utterly unique to you. However, as you know most of the words in the text, you can guess the contextual meaning of the unknown words. You don’t even need to look up the words in the dictionary. But of course, you can check the dictionary definition to be sure.

2. To Develop Your Writing Style

Reading can help you to learn different styles of writing for various purposes. For example, if you read fiction, you will know how a fictional story is told. On the other hand, reading the news can help you to learn how a report is written.

3. To Learn Grammar & Correct Structure of English Sentences

Reading can help you learn grammatically correct English since a good published written text usually has no grammatical errors. This is because they are edited and proofread before publication.

4. To Learn at Your Comfort

Reading allows you to maintain your preferred speed. For example, While speaking to someone, you must retain fluency depending on the other person you are talking to. But while you read, you read alone. You can read a page in ten minutes and even read that same page in an hour. That’s really up to you. This gives you the freedom to enjoy learning in your way.

5. To Explore Different Topics of Your Interest

Reading gives you scope to explore what issues you are interested in. if you are interested in politics, you can read about news and books on that. If you love sports, you might find some books, magazines, or news about sports and read them. 

WHAT English Texts Should You Read?

There are different English texts available online or offline. You can go for whatever format you are comfortable with. At the same time, there are different types of texts that you might accept as your source of reading. Here is a list of different English reading materials.

1. Newspapers Are Good Sources of Reading

If your level of English matches the language of the newspaper you have selected, go for it. Find which section of a newspaper interests you, and read them. Generally, in newspapers, the reporters or journalists are professional writers. If your English level is below intermediate, I suggest being selective while reading newspapers.

2. Magazines Are Usually Topic-specific, Thus a Good Reading Material

For example, if you are interested in movies, find a magazine that talks about movies. Be a subscriber of some weekly, periodic, and monthly magazines of your interest.

3. Books Are One of the Best Options for Reading

You can read poetry,  fiction, and non-fiction books. However, if you find reading novels difficult as a beginner, go for READERS. They are published shortly and most simply with easy words and structure. However, if you still find novels boring because of their length, start with short stories.

4. Read Things Around You

Suppose you are traveling; you can read the billboards, banners, and posters around you. If you buy a packet of chips, read whatever is written on the pack. It will help you experience authentic  English texts.

5. Jokes Can be Entertaining to Read

It will let you laugh and learn at the same time. To get rid of your boredom, you can read jokes online or from jokebooks. And even the jokes you read yesterday can be a good way of entertaining your friends at today’s party. 

Note: Don’t stick to one newspaper or one topic. Find some varieties in your reading materials regarding the subject matter.

HOW Should You Read English Texts?

Reading is important, but it is more important to know how you should read. Reading in the right ways only can help you improve your English according to your expectation. Here are some tips that you may follow to make your reading effective.

1. Find Texts of Your Level

Suppose you are a beginner-level of ESL learner. If you read a formal or professional newspaper, you may not understand so many words in one single piece of news. It may seem frustrating and demotivating. So find something that you can understand. If there are fewer than five new words on a page, you may consider that English of your level. If there are more than ten unknown words on a single page, this is not your level of English.

2. Select Texts of Your Interest

Reading books on your favorite topics will keep you from monotony and boredom. But don’t just read for the sake of reading. Instead, try to enjoy it as more as possible. Read anything that you find pleasant, no matter how silly people think it is.

3. Write the New Words in Your Notebook with Meaning, Word Class, and Their Use in Sentences

It’s pretty common getting new words while reading. You should keep notes of those words in your vocabulary notebook. First, it will help you to revise them when you have time. And most importantly, you will feel motivated when you see that there are so many new words in your notebook that you have already learned.

4. Make Reading a Habit

Regular reading will undoubtedly make it a habit like other daily activities. Find a space of at least ten to fifteen minutes every day. Remember! Reading regularly for a short time is far better than reading once in a while for a long time. So make reading a task of your daily routine.

5. Keep Yourself Well-equipped with Reading Materials and Other Supplies All the Time

Collect whatever English texts you are interested in and ensure they are always beside your reading table, sofa or bed. Make sure you also have your vocabulary notebook, pen, pencil, highlighter, or any necessary stationery items available while reading.  

In Conclusion

If we consider language as a house, reading is one of the four basic building blocks. We need to read many things in our daily life at home and outside. So, developing this skill is very necessary.

I hope the tips I have given here will help you improve your reading skills and overall competence in English.

Thanks for reading.

Happy learning!

Good luck!

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 7 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."