A convinced reading addict, Daniel Martins told SEDA News how his passion for the written word is helping him improve his English skills fast and learn English by reading online.
By Netania Gomes
When did you start being passionate about reading? When I was a kid my mum used to subscribe to comic books and she received them regularly by post. She says this was to give me something to get entertained with and also give her a break from my mischief. From there I got into more complex books and so on.
Do you see reading as an important tool for learning English? Why? Reading as a routine helps you develop the knowledge in various subjects, so why not to include it in your daily routine as a homework? When you are still in the Beginner level it can be hard to build this routine, but if you are patient and persistent you will see it will get easier and easier for you to read English regularly and a lot.
What are some the tips you can give to students who have just started learning English? First of all, change the language of your “virtual life”. This may seem complicated, but actually it is very simple. Every student uses countless websites and online services such as email, Facebook, Instagram and of course, nowadays everyone uses a mobile phone, a computer, a tablet and so on. So why don’t you change the language of all of this into English? It’s a simple change because you probably know how to use all these services without even reading the words on the screen, but at the same time this change will help you become more familiar with English words.
Do you know of any good websites for learning English that students should visit? There are two websites I really like practicing my reading with: News in Levels (www.newsinlevels.com) and ESL Fast (www.eslfast.com).
The first one is really interesting because you can read the same story in three different levels of English – from Beginner to Advanced. While the second one will give you 365 short stories – four or five paragraphs long – about different subjects.
What else do you do that can help students?
I would also advise you to migrate all your daily readings to English. Every day I read a considerable amount of articles about IT and technology as it is something that I am really into, so what I do is gather this information from websites in English instead of checking out sites in my own language.
So if you like reading about a specific subject like travel, sports, economics, health or fashion for example, try to get your reading material from an English source, don’t read in your native language.
Reading in English is a lot easier when you genuinely like the subject you are reading about! I also use the Feedly app to organise my daily reading materials, so I set this app to show only the websites in English, that way I’ll be forced to read them before opening anything else.
What about books in English?
This is easy: start with books for kids and don’t be afraid to read books for teenagers as well. I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars and I have no shame in admit it! The important point here is to start with books that have a comfortable vocabulary level and increase the difficulty level gradually. There is nothing magical about this, it will work in exactly the same way it did when you learned how reading in your native language.