Not to state the obvious, but if you’re going to reach a high level in any language, you have to read. But reading not only helps you for the reading parts of an exam, but it can also help in many other areas such as:
- Grammar retention
- Vocabulary retention
- Fluidity (if you read outloud)
Personally, I’m a huge advocate of reading. I love reading and try to do so as much as possible. Hence why I set up the English Book Club in my current school. I’ve found it’s a great to boost student’s confidence in reading, of course, and also in speaking and listening. As the students have to read the passage before the group meeting and then comment on it during the one-hour session, they lose that fear of speaking and they improve their listening skills by actively taking part in a debate. It’s fantastic to see everyone improving week on week.
If you want to improve your reading skills but there’s no book club near you, try picking up a book. But how do you choose? Well, there are 2 main elements to bear in mind when choosing a book in a foreign language. Firstly, it should be suitable to your level. Cambridge have created a fantastic series of graded books so you can choose exactly the right level for you. And secondly, it should be a story that interests you, otherwise you’re not going to enjoy the book very much.
Moreover, once you have the book, make sure you read little and often. It’s much better to continuously improve your skills than to try and cram it all into one day. Another tip, which helps a lot of my students, is to read outloud. Yes, it will take you longer to read, but through reading the words and saying them outloud, you can increase your fluidity, improve your pronunciation and practice grammar patterns you may not otherwise use.
I hope those tips are helpful! Happy reading!