How can I improve my reading?

When we study a reading text in class I always give you a time limit to find the answers.  This means you need to focus on the words you understand and guess the meaning of words you don't know.  This can be quite difficult so it is a good idea to practice the process often.  

You can click here to read a recent news story  about the earthquake in Japan and practice this process.  The text will probably be difficult for you but that means you need to use the tactics you learn about in class.  
  • Please don't use a dictionary as this won't help you develop this skill.
  • Try to read and focus on the words you understand to help you generally understand the text.
  • If there are one or two words that you don't understand try to work out the grammar of these words (eg. are they verbs, nouns, adjectives etc.?)
  • If there are too many difficult words then try to read a different sentence.  (When you read a long text you don't need to understand every sentence.)
  • Then try to guess what these words might mean in this sentence - you don't need to be perfect.
  • If you think any of the words may be useful for you in the future then write them down.  You can check their exact meaning in a dictionary, after you have finished the reading activity.  Plan to use these words in class next week.  You can get bonus points if I notice you have used a new word from this text!!!!!
You don't need to read everything - remember 10 to 15 minutes a day is best.  The more you practice this process with different texts the easier it will become.  

This ability to work out language is necessary if you want to use English at work or take exams, such as IELTS or TOEFL, in the future.  Also, all your future reading exams in English will test this ability.