Learning English is not just learning vocabulary and grammar. It also involves mastering such skills as listening, speaking, writing and reading. It will not be an exaggeration to say that reading is one of the most important skills in learning English. But why is it so important?
Here are a few reasons why reading is important and why you should pay proper attention to mastering this crucial skill.
- Reading is great for improving your vocabulary. Firstly, you will come across a lot of new words when reading. Sometimes you do not even need a dictionary, because you can understand these words from the context of the book. Secondly, you are very likely to memorize a lot of both new and familiar words quite well, because they will be repeated in the book a number of times. As you know, repetition is key to transferring information from short-term into long-term memory. Thus reading will allow you to expand your vocabulary and memorize it better.
- Reading is very good for your grammar. Similar to vocabulary, while reading a book, you will come across a variety of grammar structures, both familiar and new, in a variety of different contexts. You will also come across some of the structures again and again, this expanding your grammar and committing it to memory.
- Reading is important for learning in general. What is special about reading as a skill is the fact that you can use it to learn about other aspects of the language. For example, you can read word definitions, description of grammar structures, instructions for writing or general advice on how to improve English. To do it successfully you need good reading comprehension.
- Reading is convenient to practice. Practicing English regularly is very important. However, listening may not always be possible or convenient, or you may not have a suitable partner for speaking practice. To start reading you just need to open a book. Maybe not even that: if you are not against electronic books you can have a whole library in your smartphone.
- Reading is key to learning about the world. Just think about all the things you read in your native language: news, fiction, websites, forums, stories, jokes, cookbooks, manuals and so on. Improving your English reading comprehension opens up a vast world of knowledge. Just imagine, over 80% of information on the Internet is in English, a great deal of it in text form. You are going to need those reading skills for that!
As you can see, reading is just something you have to do because your teacher told you. It is a key skill that expands your vocabulary and grammar and provides ample English practice. It can also be a lot of fun, with all the great books, funny stories and useful websites published in the English language.
Reading is also relatively cheap or even free. There are a lot of sites on the internet where you can find free reading materials, for example, https://www.gutenberg.org/ that publishes free classic novels.