WHY READ?

A lot of emphasis is placed on extensive listening (listening to lots of content) if you want to improve your English. How many times have you been told by your English teacher to watch authentic series and films in English and to listen to English every day?

I totally agree that improving your listening skills is vital if you want to be able to communicate effectively. However, there is also an important place for reading in your language development, especially extensive reading (also known as free reading or reading for pleasure).

Why? Here are my top 3 reasons:

1. You increase your vocabulary and consolidate your grammar

When you read a lot, you meet thousands of words, structures and collocations (common word partnerships) that you probably won’t find in a coursebook or be able to pay much attention to when you are watching a series. You will see these words and structures frequently and in different contexts when you read a lot. The context will help you to understand how the grammar and vocabulary are really used and repeated exposure means that you will remember them.

2. You improve your productive skills (writing and speaking)

This follows on logically from the previous point. If you are seeing language repeatedly and in context, you will find it much easier to reproduce it yourself in writing and speaking. Reading helps speed up the normal language learning process where passive comprehension becomes active knowledge. The more you read, the more quickly your spoken English will improve.

3. You build confidence and gain motivation

It is extremely rewarding when you discover that you have read your first novel in English and that you have actually enjoyed it too! This sense of achievement gives you more confidence in your language abilities and more motivation to continue practising and progressing.  

So, what do you think? Are you ready to try your first extensive reading challenge with an authentic novel?

If you are already a bookworm, what was the first novel that you read in English? I would love to hear about your experience. Don’t be shy. 😊


ROOM ON THE BROOM

Halloween is coming and I want to share with you a book that I love reading with my girls at this time of year: Room on the Broom. Julia Donaldson is the author behind The Gruffalo and The Stick Man (among other great books) and Axel Scheffler brings her stories to life with his fabulous illustrations.

What’s it about?

A witch and her cat are flying in the sky on a broomstick when it gets very windy and the witch loses her hat and some other objects. Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items but will she find room (space) on her broom for all of them to have a ride and what happens when the witch meets a scary dragon?

Language

The language in this story is not basic at times but this won’t stop you or your little bookworm from enjoying it. Just make sure you check the meaning and pronunciation of some of the vocabulary before you read it together. Remember that you can listen to a native speaker reading the story first on YouTube. The story rhymes and there is a lot of repetition a great way for you to work on pronunciation and also to memorise the story together with your little one. What’s more, if you have Amazon Prime Video, you can watch the film based on the book. It is 25 minutes long and fun listening practice for you both!

Message of the story

I would recommend this story to children aged 3–6 . It is a great introduction to the topic of kindness – what it means to be kind and how we can show kindness. It is also a good way to show children that they shouldn’t judge someone by their appearance alone or, as we commonly say in English, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Not all witches are bad witches – there are some very kind ones around! 😊

Happy Halloween! 🎃


THE KOALA WHO COULD

One of my students told me recently how “clingy” her child had become in the pandemic and I totally understood how she felt.

To be clingy[kling-i:] (adj.) = to be emotionally dependent, insecure, staying very close to someone
To cling/clung/clung to someone = to stay very close to someone/something

Examples:
1. My daughter has become so clingy. She follows me everywhere.
2. She has just broken up with her boyfriend as he was too clingy. He never gave her any space.

If your young child has become clingy and you are worried about the return to school or nursery and the changes that there will be, I totally recommend The Koala Who Could. Kevin the Koala 🐨 clings to his tree and refuses to move, but when he eventually does, he discovers a new and exciting world! 🤩🌎

The message of the story is so positive – we can’t control change but we can control how we manage it – and the rhyming in the story feels totally natural and not at all forced. In fact, if you want to read it in English to your child, it’s a great way to practise your pronunciation and intonation skills! You can even listen to a native speaker reading the story on YouTube first: The Koala Who Could. Try it. My clingy koala 🐨 loves it! 😊