You probably already know that reading can help your English in many ways: it can help improve your understanding, build your vocabulary and even make you better at grammar!
But how do you start reading in English when you've never done it before?
If the thought of a long English novel sounds frightening, or simply boring, read on! There are lots of other ways to get reading in English.
Find something that interests you
You need to be interested in the subject you're reading about or you'll soon get bored and give up. So, what are you into? Maybe sport … or films … or cooking? Find a magazine, a blog or a website related to your interests.
If you're following an international sports competition, read about it in English, as well as in your own language. Read a review of a film you've just seen. Try following a recipe in English and you'll be even happier with the food that you make!
Don't forget to make a note of the new vocabulary that you learn. If you like the subject, you probably enjoy talking about it too. Use the vocabulary you've learned in your conversations!
Read short stories
Do you enjoy reading stories in your own language, with great characters and an exciting plot? Reading a long novel in English can be difficult if you're not used to it. Why not start with short stories?
It's even better if the story is written at the right level of English for you. 'Graded readers' are especially written for language learners and they exist at different levels, often from beginner to advanced. Perhaps you can find some at your local library.
On the LearnEnglish website, you'll find some excellent graded short stories in different genres. Do you fancy a tale about a vampire, some science fiction or a detective story?
There are exercises to help with vocabulary and understanding, and you can even write a comment afterwards to share your ideas about the story.
Make reading a habit
When do you usually read? On the bus to work? In your lunch break? Before bedtime? Experts say that we can create habits more easily if we attach a new activity to something we already do as part of our daily routine.
So when you have your morning coffee, instead of looking at photos on social media, what about reading in English for five minutes instead? By doing this every day, it will become a habit – something you do without even thinking about it.
And according to experts, tiny habits can be the most effective. So think small! Just one page of your book, a few paragraphs of an article or blog post. Habits can be addictive. Soon reading in English will be a part of your daily life.
Move on to longer reads
Once you've built up your English reading habit with articles and short stories, you may feel ready for the challenge of a longer book.
One idea could be to choose a book that you've already read and enjoyed in your own language. Maybe you read it a while ago and you've forgotten exactly what happens. Read it again in English, and the story will be familiar and easy to follow.
Another idea is to read the book of a film that you've already seen. Often there are lots more details in the book, but you will already know the context and the characters from the film.
So, hopefully you're now feeling ready and motivated to read in English. And in fact, if you've read to the end of this article, you've already started! So all you need to do now is keep up the good work.
Find something that interests you, read regularly and soon you'll notice the benefits to your English, as well as learning new things and enjoying exciting stories. Happy reading!