Updated: May 15, 2022
One of the best ways to learn vocabulary is reading. It does not mean you have to read a thick boring classic from a high school reading list. There are many different things that you can read. You can get started for example with blogs, recipes, or graded books. Think about what you are interested in. Perhaps, consider these questions:
1 What would I enjoy reading? (I don’t want to be bored.)
2 Isn’t it too difficult for me? (It needs to go smoothly.)
3 Isn’t it too easy? (I still need to come across new words.)
4 Isn’t it too long? (I don’t want to spend hours reading it because I need to do other things.)
5 Don’t I spend too much time looking up unknown words? (I want to remember new words, but haven’t I highlighted too many of them?)
6 Am I still motivated to finish this read? (If it is too hard, I will be demotivated, I might not finish it and might stop reading, which would be a pity.)
If you are not, think about a different level or genre. Maybe this could be a reason.
If you are, well done! Keep reading! Next time, try perhaps another level.
Think about the way you read and make it as natural as possible. You should not read just because it is helpful, but because you enjoy it. You definitely should not force yourself. Make it a nice routine when you can chill (after lunchtime, on Sunday morning, before you go to sleep etc.)
TIP 1: Talk about it with your friends and discuss the content and words. You can make it more memorable and help each other with learning English or another language.
TIP 2: If you still want to create a vocabulary list, you can work with the text and for example write down or look up only a certain number of new words per one page. Let’s say you will limit it to 5 new words per page.
REMEMBER! To understand the text, you do not need to know every single word. Context will help you with understanding too so allow yourself to skip a few unknown words. You will see that you can live with that and still understand the main idea. In addition, you will read a bit faster and stay motivated.
GRADED BOOKS / GRADED READERS
If you start with reading and you are not sure with what you should start, check out GRADED READERS. There is an incredible range of titles, best-selling authors, and genres you can choose from.
There are several levels (usually 6 + starter). These levels have a different wordcount and keywords which increase with each level, so you are exposed gradually to more and more words.
Choosing the right level:
Some websites help you look for a book based on your CEFR level. There are sections for children, teenagers, young readers, and adults, which you can explore and select a proper read.
Or try this test to help you: https://elt.oup.com/student/readersleveltest/?cc=cz&selLanguage=cs
Buying the books:
You can get books as a paperback or an e-book, sometimes there is an MP3 format available too, so you can alternatively read and listen. Some of the books have extra tasks before and after reading to help you with understanding.
You can listen to stories even on Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/show/23zdIqNUb0riR51woKIEoF?si=57c651244a454601 (transcripts available on their website)
Where can you buy GRADED READERS?
o http://www.macmillanreaders.com (Macmillan Readers)
o https://www.knihydobrovsky.cz/urovnove-knihy-oxford-bookworms-library (Oxford Bookworms - I can personally recommend these as there are exercises connected to stories) If you would need extra help with choosing the right level, let me know.
o https://www.penguin-readers.cz/?gclid=CjwKCAjw8sCRBhA6EiwA6_IF4TMeIpU8IhhWeB0zecppgKyNKexuyI2n5SVjq5RabxVbPCxa6ODIwRoCVOEQAvD_BwE(Penguin Readers)
This https://www.bookdepository.com is my favorite website. You can buy English books there and the delivery is free. Great even for (book)gifts.
TIP 3: If there is a bookshop near your place, go and have a look yourself. You either choose one there or buy one online. They can be cheaper online though so just have that in mind.
Let me know if I there is anything you need my help with as well as your suggestions. I would also appreciate some feedback. Do not hesitate to tell me what you selected and how it worked for you.