Hi everyone it’s Hannah again. As promised before, today I’m gonna share some useful tips which will help you improve your vocabulary and reading.
Do you know the title of the story that I just read? Let me give you a hint: it’s about an imaginary hideous monster whom many people disguise as on Halloween. Yes, the book’s title is Frankenstein. This was my favorite book when I was just a high school kid. I really love the morals of the story.
Reading English books is definitely an amazing way to learn English. The question is: what kind of books should you read? A really thick book with a lot of new vocabulary so that you can learn as many words as you can? Probably not. The books you should read to improve your English should satisfy 2 factors: Level & Interest. And that’s why I wanna introduce the GRADED READERS series.
WHAT ARE GRADED READERS?
Graded readers are easy-reading books used to help second-language learners to learn English. In other words, they are the retold stories of existing works, especially the famous ones. The vocabulary and grammar used in these books will be simplified to suit the targeted level of the audience. There are usually 4-8 different reading levels, depending on the publishers. Now, let’s have a look at my favorite book “Frankenstein” and compare the original story with its simplified version. You can also pause the video to read the text.
How can you compare these 2 versions in terms of the vocabulary? Which one has more simple words and therefore easier to read? The 2nd one right? And that’s the graded reader version. The first version is undoubtedly the original work of Mary Shelley.
THE BENEFITS OF GRAED READERS
- Reading helps you extend your vocabulary in the most natural way
Graded readers reinforce your vocabulary by showing it in clear and wider contexts. They also help improve your word collocation – how words go together. For example, you would say “heavy rain” instead of “thick rain” OR “high temperature”, not “tall temperature”.
- Reading improves your writing
Research shows students who read extensively also make gains in writing proficiency.
- It’s a fun way to learn English
Another name of graded readers reading is reading for pleasure. You don’t feel like studying when you do this activity because you will have the right to choose the book genres you want to read. But it’s not the case in an English class. You have to read what’s available in the textbooks and sometimes it’s not interesting at all. Basically, there are 2 types of books: fiction vs non-fiction. If you’re a dreamy person just like me, you would probably enjoy fiction books. I can name a few: romance, horror, mystery, thriller, science fiction….etc.. However, if you are more like a rational person, you can choose non-fiction ones: books about history, science, health…etc.
- You will acquire new knowledge, not just English – the language itself
You will gain some insights and facts about the topics you choose to read. Research also shows reading boost our mental capacity and creativity. In other words, you become smarter when you like to read. Good news right?
HOW DO YOU USE GRADED READERS
Step 1: Find the right books
What does “Right books” mean?
- They are the books about the topics that you’re interested in.
- You should understand around 98% of the vocabulary on 1 page.
- You can read quickly, at least 150 -200 words a minute
Step 2: Check the glossary before reading
WHAT IS “GLOSSARY”?
A glossary is like a dictionary. But it only has some words relating to a specific topic. The glossary of a graded reader gives you all the potential new words that you may not know. Check it out first so it will be easier for you to read extensively. For example, this is the glossary page of my beloved story “Frankenstein”:
Step 3: Set the target to read
Try to read at least 10 mins a day. It’s good for the beginning. And believe me, if you find the book you love, you won’t stop reading after 10 minutes end.
Step 4: Do activities at the end of the books
This will help to check your understanding and help improve your reading comprehension. Last but not least, you may wonder where to find these graded readers. Here’s my suggested publisher list:
You can easily find these books in the bookstores or e-commerce website like Tiki in Vietnam. Another economical option is to go for a book hunt at the old bookstores. For example, just google “Old bookstores in HCMC”
To get more tips to improve your vocabulary and pronunciation, check out my other posts here:
That’s it for today’s post. I hope you find it useful and also gain inspiration for starting a reading habit. Please comment in the comment section below the books that you love and want to recommend 😉 Happy reading!