Oleh: Asih Zunaidah, S.S., M.Li.
In one of my previous articles, I talked about how to speak English fluently by ‘thinking in English’. One of the resources for your fluent speaking is your word bank, or in other words: the vocabulary stored in your head. It is well known that storing English dictions can be assisted by both listening and reading. As listening helps you with the pronunciation and intonation, reading will help you with the spelling and memorizing the word order. Focusing on reading, one cannot simply force himself to read study books or boring texts in order to be a good learner. Remember that reading can also provide entertainment. So why torture yourself with dreadfully difficult and heavy texts?
If you are a beginner in reading full English texts, resorting to fun and light texts is always a good call. Stop pushing yourself into reading criminal or scientific texts even though you really like reading them in your first language; because you will consult your English dictionary more than you reading the texts. A good start would be reading a story text, or better yet: a children or teenage story/ short novel. As a good learner, you need to always keep this in mind: there is nothing wrong with reading a children story even if you’re in your 30s. For the sake of mastering English, you should never disregard any types of text.
So how do we start? First, choose a story that you’ve already been familiar with. For example, the classic bedtime stories that you were well introduced to when you were a child. In this way, you will have the upper hand since you are well aware of the storyline and names; as the difference would only be the language. The benefit of doing this light reading method is helping you to cope with translating too many new words and depending on the dictionary. Next, have your own little notebook (attached to the book, if possible) to jot down any possibly new words and their meaning.
Lastly, never get bored in reading the text repeatedly until you’re finally fine without your little note. Read the story until you fully understand the words and you can read it fluently in your head. This might take a few times before you finally memorize the whole story (including its words), which can eventually help you to ‘think in English’ since you’ve already got ‘chunks’ of words nicely stored and are ready to recall or use them anytime in speaking or writing.
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