English Reading For Beginners
Reading for Beginners

12 Ways To Improve Your English Reading

There are many aspects to learning the English language and English Reading and English Speaking are the 2 most important ones.

Most English learners say that to them, the most important thing they want is to be able to speak English. They want to speak like a native English person. They want to be able to hold a conversation with a colleague or friend in English.

That is very important indeed, but it is a difficult task to become an advanced English speaker if your English reading skills are low-level.

In order to learn new words, we need to be able to read them as well as hear them.

We must be able to understand the context of a story, sentence or phrase to progress in our path to becoming an accomplished student of English. English reading is essential if you want to have a large vocabulary and expression base, and the ability to use those words and expressions correctly.

There are different ways to improve your reading ability so that you can get the most from your learning.

1 - Increase your vocabulary and expressions

English Reading and writing

By reading regularly, you will be able to find new and unfamiliar words and expressions that you have not seen before.

If you find a word that you are unsure of; first try to read the rest of the sentence and see if you can understand it. This will be a good indicator as to what that one-word means. This helps you to read within context.

Have a dictionary and notebook next to you, in case there are words that you really need help understanding. This notebook will be your “dictionary diary”.

Here is a great online dictionary that we recommend to look up the meaning of new words.

Write down the word or phrases and their meaning next to it. Review these words or phrases multiple times over the next week to help you remember them for future use.

2 - Choose a suitable English reading level

English Reading Books

This is very important if you want to stay motivated and continue progressing with your English reading.

Try to choose reading material that contains words and phrases that you mostly understand. There is no point in trying to read something that is too difficult, as you will become demotivated and want to give up!

Also, try to pick a reading topic that you would like! Maybe you are into motorbikes, or fashion or wildlife! You don’t have to read a long novel, it could be a magazine or comic book, or even the daily newspaper.

As long as you read suitable material for you! That is the most important thing.

3 - Practice is the key!

As the saying goes. “The more you put into it, the more you get out of it”.

This is very true in the case of reading. If you dedicate some time each day for reading, naturally your pronunciation and understanding will get better and better over time.

Set aside some time each day for reading. Read aloud to improve your pronunciation. Relate the story to your own life.

Try to understand the story itself, as well as the words and expressions that make it.

4 - Listen to an English audio book

Perhaps the story you downloaded onto your tablet, or the book you bought in the bookstore also has an audiobook with it.

This is a great way to learn how to pronounce the words correctly. It is also a great confidence booster. If you do have the audiobook for a story, try to read along with it.

You could try to read it by yourself afterward.

5 - Make time for your English reading

It is vital that you try to read every day.

It doesn’t need to be for hours and hours, but if you can read for 10, 20, 30, or even 60 minutes each day, your reading will improve a lot.

You could read on the bus to work in the morning, spend part of your break reading a story, or relax in the evening on your sofa reading a magazine.

Try to make your reading environment comfy and inviting. Have somewhere comfy to sit, good lighting and of course, your notebook, pen, and highlighter next to you to make any notes!

6 - Question your story

If it is a short story or novel that you are reading, it is really helpful to actively take notes and make questions as you read.

For example, before you read, you could scan the first paragraph and try to guess what it will be about. You could make predictions about what will happen, and see if you were correct after you have read that part.

You could make questions for each chapter such as; who were the main people in the chapter? Where was the main setting? What events happened? Why did that happen?

Note parts that you did not understand, and try to find out what they mean.  Make yourself engaged and involved to help you understand the story more completely.

7 - Practice reading sight words

If you don’t know what sight words are; they are the words that are most commonly used in the text.

You will see them a lot in most sentences and because you tend to see them so often, you don’t need to struggle to read or understand the word; you “scan” over it.

Some examples of sight words are; a, and, the, from, to, can, in, they, this, you, what, etc.

If you can master these words, then you can focus more on the other, less common words and phrases. Test yourself!

Write down a list of 10 or 20 sight words. Time yourself reading them. Try to beat your previous time.

You could make the list longer, or make the time-frame shorter; it’s up to you!

8 - Push yourself to read for longer

It can be a struggle to read for a long period of time, especially when you have just started reading longer pieces of reading material, or if you have had a very long day at work.

Perhaps the last thing you want to do is start reading a book. It is tough, but as mentioned earlier; even if you can squeeze 20 minutes of reading into your day, it will help a lot!

If you find that you are getting tired or you cannot concentrate after 10 minutes of reading, try to read for 12 minutes the next evening, then 15 minutes, and so on.

Keep pushing yourself a little at a time, and before you know it, you will be reading for an hour without any problem every day!

9 - Don’t get trapped on the details

Dont get trapped

A common error that readers make, is to try and understand every, single, word.

If you do this, it will take you forever to read just one book, as you will surely need to find the meaning of many of the words.

It greatly slows down your reading, and you miss out on the general storyline because you are too busy finding the translations.

Try to read in context, and understand the whole phrase or sentence.

If you really get stuck on a word or expression, circle it, move on and you can come back to it at a later time.

10 - Use the library to find great books!

English reading in the library

Not only books, but you can find all kinds of reading materials in your local library.

Every kind of topic will be available, every level will be available, short stories, novels, newspaper articles, magazines; It is all there to be read by you!

If you don’t have access to a library, you could always get reading material online.

You can download materials to your computer or tablet, or whatever is the most convenient for you.

The internet has a huge library of material and it is so easy to access, there is nothing to stop you!

11 - Practice English reading in groups

Sometimes it can feel a little boring to read alone all of the time, or maybe you are reading a book that you are finding a little difficult to get through.

This is where it is a great idea to involve your friends who are also working on their reading skills.

Another great way is you could meet up once a week and discuss a certain book, or you could each share 5 new words or phrases that you learned that week and teach your friends how to use it correctly. You could have pop quizzes.  

You could read short passages each and have your friends listen and check your pronunciation.

It is also so much fun!

12 - Keep track of your progress

It would be a shame to go through all of the effort and hard work of reading, taking notes and studying new words and phrases if you didn’t follow your own achievements!

It’s a great idea to have a notebook, or you could even use the back section of your dictionary diary, to write down the names of all of the books, magazines or comics that you have read.

So that on days when you are feeling demotivated and that you are not making progress, you can take a look at all that you have accomplished up to that point.

Just the boost you need to keep going! It also serves as a great way to see what kinds of books you have read.

For example, maybe you have read 3 romance books, 4 horror books, and 5 magazines.

Perhaps you want to expand your vocabulary so that it relates to science or the future!

Then you could start to read some sci-fi books to learn new words and phrases about these topics.

We Hope The These Tips Will Help You Become Better At Reading English

Hopefully, these suggestions can help you to both improve your reading skills, and help you to enjoy reading more!

Reading is one of the most enjoyable pastimes shared by many, so it is a wonderful thing when you can learn and progress whilst doing something very enjoyable and fun.

Keep your mind open when it comes to reading material; it is everywhere and so easily accessible.

Being able to read well and have a good comprehension of a text takes a lot of time, patience and practice, so if you make the effort, then you will reap the rewards in the end.

Reading is a major factor in becoming fluent in any language.

As the quote goes. “Think before you speak. Read before you think.” 

More Useful Tips To Help You Improve Your English

See how many of our 20 Most Common English Idioms you know to help you speak like a native.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Check out our 50 Tongue Twisters to help you with your English pronunciation!

Goodbye! See you soon! Nice meeting you! Do you want to learn more ways to say goodbye in English?

If you enjoyed it, please share it!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
SpeakEasy Free Book


Subscribe to take control of your English by starting with these free E-Books! 

*We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe. Here’s our privacy policy.

SpeakEasy BookClub Logo

Log in to your Account