Taking an academic English course is a great way to get the language skills you need to advance in your education or career, and one of the best ways to guarantee success in your studies is to regularly read in English.
Reading can teach you new vocabulary and sentence structures and reinforce the ones that you’re learning every day in class. It can also help you track your progress, as even complex, academic texts become easier to read and understand, helping you build your confidence before setting off to an English-speaking college or university. It’s important to choose reading materials that match your level and your interests, though, and students might struggle over how to choose the best reading materials to help them practice.
Here’s some advice for students who are enrolled in, or considering, an academic English course and want to choose the right reading material to help them improve their skills.
Reading novels or short stories can be a great way to practice your English. A well-written story can have you so involved with the plot and characters that you don’t even notice your English skills improving.
Just be careful when choosing a book, because some older novels might use outdated forms of English, so they might be confusing or unhelpful. Until you’ve mastered modern English, it’s probably best to stick with novels written in the last sixty years or so.
When studying in English school, you might find it useful to read novels that have been adapted into films or TV shows. This way, you can watch the adaptation (with subtitles if necessary) to help you understand the book as you read it, since you’ll already be familiar with the story and characters. Likewise, you can read books that you’ve already read in your native language.
If novels are too challenging or if you prefer shorter, more casual reading materials, you might consider picking up some magazines or newspapers.
There are magazines covering almost any subject you can imagine. Choose something specific to your interests and to your goals in learning English. If you’re taking an academic English course because you’re looking to study a particular subject at an English-speaking university, you can search for magazines on that subject. This will help you practice your English while learning the specific vocabulary that will help you in your studies.
Another convenient way to get in some extra reading practice is on your phone or laptop. There are many apps and websites that provide great daily reading materials in the form of articles, newsfeeds and blog posts.
Consider some of the online materials you already read regularly in your native language, like sports or entertainment news, for example. If you can find an English equivalent, you can get the same information and updates while practicing your English on the go.
Whatever you choose, it’s important that it’s interesting to you and that it’s the right level to challenge you without being too difficult to understand. For anything that is too challenging, set it aside and try reading it again after you’ve completed your course so you can see all the progress you’ve made.
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