Some of my students have encountered difficulties in writing or giving speeches.  For others, they are stunned when they are asked about a particular question.  It is a challenge many people have when they are asked to speak or write about something. They end up saying, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t know anything about this.”  The answer to this is simple: read.  This prevents mental block.  I also had students who already may be good in the English language, yet they don’t know what to say.  Some of my students may say that they lack experience.  This is only partially true.  One must also have some knowledge about other things.  This can be solved through reading.

However, don’t limit yourself to what you already know. You may read something that you are already extremely comfortable with.  That only adds to the information that you already have.  Life becomes monotonous that way, but you haven’t really learned anything new to you.  You shouldn’t be afraid of learning things outside of your comfort zone.  Go ahead and read a book that may be a bit more challenging for you.  Pick something up that is not necessarily mainstream or pop-culture.  This way, you can widen your vocabulary and expand your knowledge with anything.  It opens your eyes to new things; you no longer become ignorant of perspectives of people from different countries, cultures, religions, histories, lifestyles, and specialist fields.  You are able to relate yourself and your knowledge to anyone you meet.  You are no longer afraid of becoming speechless.

Instead, you become more confident in coming face to face with others.  You even become more inquisitive towards others to verify what you have read.  From this formed habit, the learning never ceases.  You become excited to read articles because you enjoyed conveying it to others.  A spark of interest may even come your way when someone provides you an information you haven’t heard of.  Thus, you read further on the subject at hand.  You might also enjoy the fact that you are suddenly the center of attention because people are listening to you talk about anything.

I grew up in a household where books are everywhere.  These were no nursery rhyme books.  These were high school and college textbooks of my mother and cousins.  My dad subscribed me for a monthly edition of National Geographic magazines and children’s encyclopedias.  I naturally learned the English language this way.  I would be delighted to pick up any book that I can get my hands on.  I would be so excited each month to read the latest edition of Nat Geo delivered to our door step.

There were many terminologies that I couldn’t understand from reading these books, but that was all right with me.  I always kept a dictionary handy in case I encountered them.  I wasn’t limited to reading them; I would talk about them to my friends, family, and teachers.  This helped me in my school essays.  In fact, my school would even ask me to compete in essay writing contests and speech competitions because I am knowledgeable.  I may not be an expert on a certain subject, yet I was confident to talk about it in front of class.  The words, phrases and sentence structures stuck in my mind.  I would remember how they were written.  This habit helped me become a good writer and speaker.

People come up with several excuses just so they would avoid reading.  They might even say “it stings my eyes,” or “I have no time,” or “I prefer watching movies.”  However, you shouldn’t be afraid of reading.  It actually helps you with communicating your ideas.  You learn things and then you share them.  You can talk about several topics to your friends.  Also, I do suggest that you should not be afraid of picking up that giant book at the corner of the bookstore.  You may be quite surprised how delighted you’ll end up from reading it.

Source: www.aiepro.comI also suggest that you join the American Institute for English Proficiency and the Philippine Book Club for their book club meetings. Book Club Meeting with AIEPRO

  • When I went to the United States, I was not speaking English. I was put in remedial classes because I was not able to join the regular classes. Some kids made fun of my English and my Filipino accent. I felt awful, and one thing that helped me a lot was the love of books. I began going to the library to learn more so that I could catch up. By the time I was in high school, I had become the editor-in-chief our our school paper. Thanks to books and the joy of reading!

    • Wyn Inocentes-Aiep

      The good thing of what you did was that you didn’t quit reading. You didn’t settle. You recognized your weakness and transformed it to strength.

  • carey besinga

    Reading exercises our brains. Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than, say, watching TV is. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections.

    • Reggie Meriales Aiep

      And practicing on your reading doesn’t just make you a better reader. You also improve writing and grammar 🙂

  • Icey Justalero

    Reading is something that I learned to love a little girl. I grew up surrounded by story books, comic books, reference books and encyclopedias. When i grew tired of these, my mom took me to a shop in Glorietta where they sold blank story books and comic books, so that I could also start writing my own.

  • Rhianne

    Through reading you will be familiarize to those some confusing words which have the same sounds or pronunciation but their meaning is really different,

    • Reggie Meriales Aiep

      Those words are called homophones.

  • seona jung

    Reading books widens your knowledge and it is also good exercise for your brain.

    • Reggie Meriales Aiep

      True. I know a lot of useless information just because I read random things. HAHA!

  • Reggie Meriales Aiep

    I honestly despised reading books as a child. I found them boring. But people shouldn’t be limited to thinking that reading is just you skimming through thousands of words in a pictureless book. There are many ways to enjoy reading. From comic books to playing card games and enjoying its lore. You just have to be creative if good ole reading is not your style.

  • Reggie Meriales Aiep

    Exactly. Different kinds of reading material is good for something! 🙂

  • P’pao Paoz

    When you have found the right book and enjoyed it, tell your friends about it. When they have read it, discuss it with them. Use this website to give your opinions. Or write a review. These are all ways of practising the language you have met while reading and they will help you to improve your level of English. Try the exercises or keep a record of each book by using the worksheets. You will find that they help your reading

  • Vinz San Juan

    I started reading when I was in 5th grade. From that moment on, I learned to love reading. My father always says that the key to new knowledge is “Read, read and read.” Because in reading, you’ll gain a lot of knowledge and it’ll surely improve your vocabulary. However, I can’t focus on reading all the time because school is bothering me also but I always find time to read when I have leisure time.

  • Julia Borisenko

    In today’s world, reading is basic to everyday life. We read to learn about the news, to learn about rules, and to learn about how to do things. We also use reading to learn English

  • Jeah Magimot

    Hello Wyne! I love reading too, but mostly about leadership and fictional novels. What books do you suggest that are based on science or history? Aside from textbooks. Thanks!

  • Jackie Rosales

    when i was in high school I love reading, then I stop when I reached the college and now that I’m working. I admit that my english and vocabulary become weak. Will I have to start devoting my self reading at lest three pages a day. Also it made me realize that I’m not one of those people who travel around I’m missing out the fun of learning other places.

  • When I moved to the United States from the Philippines when I was a young kid, reading was also my way of learning English. I read so many books as I went to the library almost all the time right after school. I even participated in a reading program where I earned a sticker after I read a book.

  • Liz Orale Aiep

    Reading is a vital skill in job hunting. Many well-paying jobs require reading as a part of job performance. There are reports and memos which must be read and responded to. Poor reading skills increases the amount of time it takes to absorb and react in the workplace. A person is limited in what they can accomplish without good reading and comprehension skills.

  • Czaree Deles

    Reading, indeed, is one way to improve your English skills. It is in reading that you will be able to build your vocabulary and will practice your brain to understand and think in English.