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Spoken English

A Guide to Comprehensive Reading

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'The fluent reader sounds good, is easy to listen to, and reads with enough expression to help the listener understand and enjoy the material.'
- Charles Clark eAgeTutor_-_Read

Students of English language need to understand one thing, that there are four pillars of learning English – listen, write, speak and read. Without mastering these four pillars, one will not be able to grasp the language and understand its nuances. Listening and speaking are a multiple-person activity, something you cannot do alone. Even in case of writing, you need someone to check and correct it. However, with reading, you can do it alone, when and where you want and for as long as you like. This is the one skill you can develop and improve rapidly.

Before you get your books out and get about the job of reading, remember one thing – treat this exercise as what it is, a reading exercise. Do not make it a grammar and vocabulary building exercise. Having said that, we do not mean that you should pay no attention whatsoever to the grammar and vocabulary structure, what we mean is that the aim of a reading exercise is to help you understand the paragraph/ phrase you are reading. At the end of the reading exercise, you should have a thorough understanding of what you have read. You need to grasp the theme, mood, and ideas. This is the reason why reading exercises are also called 'comprehension exercises' – you need to comprehend the text.

Here are a few tips that you should understand and implement before you grab on your reading glasses:

Get connected

Before you get on the job of understanding the text, you need to get the general feel of it. Quickly skim through the whole text to understand the theme and mood. Now read the article slowly, grasping the information and knowing in detail what the article says.

When you read an article this way, you are tuning in your brain with the message of the article, so when you read it slowly, you can understand it in a better way.

Use common sense

If you are appearing for a comprehension test, be prepared to expect the unexpected. In a comprehension test, you can get an article just about anything - technology, animal rights, philosophy, hypnosis – you name it! It is not possible for anyone to be well-versed with all sorts of terminologies and jargons. So, if you are reading a text and you encounter an unfamiliar word, do not waste time trying to understand it. Read around the word and try to understand in what context it is used. For example, 'My mother got upset of my shenanigans and grounded me for a week! Now I better give up my mischievous behavior for good.'

Now even if you paused at the word 'shenanigans', you would have more or less deduced its meaning that it means annoying habit or making trouble. Similarly, you can understand what a particular word means by understanding the context in which it is used.

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There are many such tips that will help you in improving your English skills, and we shall elaborate them in our next blog. Till then, keep learning English and improving, and yes, watch this space for our new blog!

    

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