Reading texts in the foreign language helps you to learn new vocabulary, new language structures and how words are used in everyday language. It also improves your spelling and your writing.
You should know that there are four types of reading:
- Skimming: when you skim a text, you read in order to understand the main idea of the text.
- Scanning: when you scan a text, you read in order to find out specific information, for example key words.
- Extensive reading: when you read extensively, you read for pleasure and general understanding.
- Intensive reading: when you read intensively, your purpose is to understand all the information the text provides.
Before you read a text, you should be aware of which type of reading you are going to do. You will have to decide what your purpose is when reading a certain text. Becoming aware of this fact will help you to both focus on the important points and reach your goal.
There are some more tips that can help you to improve your reading skills and to use reading as a rich resource for your language learning.
Suggestions for improving your reading skills
- Make it a habit to read texts in the foreign language. You may start with children's stories and move on to newspaper articles, magazines and books for adults.
- Choose books, newspapers and magazines according to your personal interests and needs.
- Buy a bilingual book or buy the same book in your native language and in the foreign language. When reading, compare the books when there is something that you don't understand.
- Most of the time it is not necessary to understand every single word when reading a text. So don‘t panic if there are a few words you don‘t know. You may try to guess their meaning from the context.
- If there are words that you don't know but you think are important, look them up in a dictionary and write them down. Study them again after reading.
- If your reading purpose is to find out specific information, think about some key words first, then scan the text to find these key words. Underline important words and phrases. You may also take notes.
- If your purpose is to generally understand the text, underline important phrases in each paragraph and write down the most important things.