Learn English through reading

So you want to improve your English but, for one reason or another, you cannot enroll on an English course….what can you do?

Well, first of all you can read our earlier post about improving your listening skills outside the classroom.

But maybe, ‘reading’ is your thing and you want to focus on improving your English through reading. Well fortunately, as with listening, there are many sources of fantastic reading material that is often free to access, and can help with your English, and in this blog post, we are going to take a look at a few of them.

Let’s start with one of the best sources of excellent quality and also free material: The British Council Website. You will need to choose a page appropriate for you (kid, teen, uni student, adult) and then locate the link to take you to the reading exercises. On English for teens website, you need to scroll to the bottom of the page and there are several story options with accompanying comprehension and vocabulary questions.

Dive on in, you are sure to find something which is both fun, informative and useful too!

If you are a university aged student and you are looking to practice your reading, then I would recommend a news site – maybe a TV channel site or maybe a newspaper – these can be fantastic sources of interesting material and also sources of relevant and advanced vocabulary.

The New York Times and The Guardian are both great sources of serious news material and the UK’s Daily Mirror is a good place for more informal news – sport…celebrity gossip..travel etc. For sure, there will be words which you don’t know…..but then, if you knew all the words, you wouldn’t be needing to study English would you? Try and guess meanings for new words from the context of the sentences and have a dictionary handy to check if your guesses are correct. And don’t forget to keep a list of your new words so you can look at them again and again and also try and use them – this is the most effective way of remembering them! You can also try to figure out if the new words can be replaced with some synonymous or idioms. We have some previous posts on how to use synonyms to make your English sound more natural and also a number of English idioms you can use in everyday conversations.

Many people are familiar with the BBC website, which also contains a huge amount of up-to-date material about what is happening around the world, but did you know that the BBC also devotes a section to learning English? Explore the site…..it has much to offer….and is free!

There is one source of material, which we haven’t mentioned yet, which you might think is strange, as we are talking about reading – and that is books. Books are of course the number one option for reading, so why don’t you head to your local library and see what they have to offer. Look for things like Penguin Easy Readers or Macmillan Readers, which you can select according to your level, and novels if you are at an advanced level. Look for something which you are interested in, or captures your imagination because then, you are more likely to actually do it, and, as we always say at LanguageBox.co, learning should also be fun!

A few readings from our very own English courses can be found below. The readings are taken from both General English course and Business English course.

General English Course – Reading Comprehension section!

English reading text 1
English reading comprehension texts, Intermediate Level, Culture lesson!

English reading text 2

English reading comprehension texts – part 2, Intermediate Level, Culture lesson!

Business English Course – Reading comprehension section!

Business English reading text 1
Business English reading comprehension texts – part 1, Advanced Level, Fair Trade lesson!
Business English reading text 2
Business English reading comprehension texts – part 2, Advanced Level, Fair Trade lesson!

About Keith Halstead

Hi, I'm Keith and I have been an ESL teacher for almost 20 years. I'm currently working in Plovdiv in Bulgaria and in the past have worked in the UK, Turkey and Vietnam. In addition to teaching, I am also the founder of VideomapBulgaria, which is pretty much what it says on the box and is a project which has taken me the length and breadth of Bulgaria in my mission to complete the map. I also write and make videos which you can find on YouTube if you search for Keithwhu. And that username is also a clue to my other big love which is the mighty West Ham United FC!

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