Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week. Before I get to my tip about improving your English reading skills, I want to catch up with last week’s events.
Last Wednesday was the first day of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter. Lent lasts for 40 weekdays and during this time many people give up (stop doing) something. If you read my blog about Pancake Day, you might remember that religious people usually give up eating certain types of food (for example, butter and eggs). However, these days many people do not give something up for Lent for religious reasons, they use Lent as a way to test their willpower (how well they can control themselves). Lucia, Bloomsbury’s lovely Centre Manager, has decided to give up chocolate for Lent. She’s doing very well so far – she has excellent willpower!!
Have you given anything up for Lent? I’ve decided to give up ‘going outside in the rain’. This means that when it’s raining I have the perfect excuse to stay indoors!!
Last week I asked you to send in your love stories and we received a beautiful story from one of our former Bloomsbury students:
“I’m a girl, who studied 3 courses at Bloomsbury International…
What happened was that during the second course, last summer I met someone special in the same class, a boy, we started dating, and now one year and a half later, we are going to get married. I´m a photographer and I’m doing a project ….So I´d like to know if there is any chance for me to go to the school during these days and take a picture of the class where we met“
What a lovely story! Of course you can come and take a picture of the class where you met! Everyone at Bloomsbury International wishes you both the best of luck for the future. I think this is actually the first Bloomsbury International wedding!!
How are you all getting on with the English language study tips I gave you last week? My Italian friend started to keep a diary and she thinks that her English writing skill has definitely improved, just in one week! Yesterday she told me, “I’ve even started thinking in English now when I write my diary, instead of translating from Italian”.
This week I have another tip to help you improve your English reading skills. You may think, “I don’t need to improve my reading skills – that’s only for people who are taking an English language exam”! But this is not true! Of course, if you are planning to take an exam you will need to have excellent reading skills (your English teacher can help you with this) but reading skills are also something you need in your everyday life.
When you are looking through a newspaper do you read every single word? If you did this it would take you about 4 hours to read the Metro every morning! Most people ‘read for gist’ which means they read the headline and quickly read the article to see the main subject. Then they decide if it is a topic which interests them and if they want to read the whole article in more detail.
A good way to improve this skill is to practise – find a long article (in a newspaper, magazine or online), set yourself a time limit of one minute to read the whole article (just look fort the keywords – you do not need to read and understand every single word) and then tell a friend what the article is about. If you do this your reading for gist skills will improve quickly!
Another way to improve your reading skills is to start reading an English book. This is also an excellent way to improve your vocabulary. If you don’t feel comfortable reading a book in English, why not start with a teenage book (like Harry Potter) or a graded English book (a book that has been simplified for different levels of English). If you are attending an English school, ask your teachers for advice about graded reader books.
Have fun with English
Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation (sound the same when you say them) but have different meanings and usually different spellings.
to – two
where – wear
I – eye
Match the homophones! This is a really fun way to improve your English pronunciation and spelling! (If you don’t know what some of the words mean, look them up in a dictionary!)
You will find the answers in next week’s Bloomsbury Blog!
Last week’s answers
Have a good week everyone!!