How reading news articles can help you with your English
Learning English doesn’t necessarily mean reading boring course book readings, doing to listening activities you have no interest in or for that matter completing several grammar gap fill activities. You actually have another option, you can read news articles.
Choosing what to read can be tricky at times so here a few tips to help choose the right type of news article.
- Choose a topic you are interested in (consider the large numbers of printed media – newspapers, magazines and free press)
- Choose an article which is neither too long nor too short. Length does matter, especially when you read for recreational purposes. You should be looking for an article which appears challenging without discouraging or intimidating you.
- Choose an article which exposes you as a learner to a particular vocabulary set. So, for example, if you have just studied collocations to do with money (i.e. withdraw money, save up money etc.), you might wish to read an article which discusses some financial matter in order to see the application of said vocabulary in an original text.
Reading for the 1st time:
The first time you read a news article, your goal should be to understand the main idea. Now, what us teachers mean by that, is that you should be in a position to summarize the key ideas and themes discussed in the article.
An example answer could be:
“I believe the news article discusses the ways in which people can save money. More specifically, it gives the reader 10 easy to follow Tips describing how to save money on a daily basis.”
Reading for the 2nd time:
The second time you read a news article something should be for a more detailed understanding. So, for example, you could try to identify the keywords in each paragraph and use them to write a tittle for each section of the article. In an article, for instance, of 5 paragraphs, at the end of the detailed reading task you ought to be able assign 5 different subtitles to each paragraph. Putting those together would potentially allow to build on the initial summary (from the 1st reading) and add some more details to, thus making it both more comprehensive and accurate.
Being able to summarise accurately is a skill many native speakers learn as they go along but for English language students, it is useful as it gives you the opportunity to expand your vocabulary, practice your reading skills (using different reading strategies each time) and develop your critical thinking (as you are asked to understand what is important information and what isn’t)
All you need to do now is find a friend or classmate and tell them about what you read!
Task: Write a short paragraph discussing:
- Do you find reading news articles and magazines useful?
- Do you think teachers should use more real-life texts in class?
- If yes, what kind of topics would you be interested in?