Learning tip: Reading! Posted by on Jul 6, 2012 in Vocabulary

Many of you may frown upon the idea of reading so let me tell you a bit of my story. I started teaching at 17 and as a non-native teacher I decided to improve my English by reading and listening. Luckily I worked at a school that had a lot of books in English, by authors such as Stephen King and John Grisham. They were original books, not adaptations, so the vocabulary was not always easy.

I started borrowing these books and, as you can imagine, it took me a long time to read them. I used to underline the unknown words and write them down. The lists were long and I had to be very patient (so will you!) because learning vocabulary doesn’t happen overnight. One thing I noticed was that as I read on the lists were getting smaller and smaller because the words I had written down repeated themselves and I eventually learned them.

Again, this is something that takes time, dedication and lots of hard work but you know what? It pays off! So I decided to do the same with French. I bought some original French books and some translations of books by Stephen King so I could reread them in French. One of my favorites is IT (Ça, in French), so here’s the first two paragraphs of the book for you to start reading and learn some new vocabulary.

“La terreur, qui n’allait cesser qu’au bout de vingt-huit ans (mais a-t-elle vraiment cessé ?), s’incarna pour la première fois, à ma connaissance, dans un bateau en papier journal dévalant un caniveau gorgé d’eau de pluie.

L’esquif vacilla, gîta puis se redressa, plongea crânement dans de perfides tourbillons et descendit ainsi Witcham Street jusqu’au carrefour avec Jackson Streer. Tous les feux de signalisation étaient éteints, en cet après-midi de l’automne 1957, et pas une maison n’avait de lumière. Cela faisait une semaine qu’il pleuvait sans discontinuer et, depuis deux jours, le vent s’était mis de la partie. La plupart des quartiers de Derry se trouvaient toujours privés d’électricité.”

Have a great weekend!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Sean Young:

    Very good advice! Another tip when reading is to speak the words as you read. You don’t have to say them very loud, but at least a whisper. This will not only help you improve your reading skills, but also improve your speaking skills and hear the pronunciation at the same time.

  2. Stan:

    Good suggestion. I would add that in addition to writing down the new words, it would be useful to write down the entire sentence in which the word was found. It’s long but so useful.