It gets pretty boring trying to improve your reading everyday using practice tests.
Your life is already pretty boring so let’s see if we can find some ways to make it slightly more interesting.
The news used to be boring too, but now that Donald Trump is president it is better than watching an action movie!
Let’s take a look at how you can use the news in a structured way over a long period of time to improve your reading skills and do better on the test (these tips apply to books and other online articles as well – not just the news).
You can get more tips and reading materials from our Facebook group, too!
Tip #1: Know your Websites
Here are my favourite websites for reading the news, including a mixture of American and UK sites:
news.google.com Takes the top headlines from hundreds of newspapers and websites. Also allows you to personalize and search news all over the world.
theatlantic.com This magazine has been around for 160 years and employs some of the best writers and journalists in the world.
pitchfork.com The best and most popular blog for reading music news.
bbc.co.uk The gold standard for UK news, publicly funded and 100% impartial.
dailymail.co.uk Often considered to be the pinnacle of professional journalism.
nytimes.com LIberal-leaning and the most famous news organisation in the world.
Tip #2: Read lots of Related Articles
Let’s take an example. You find this article on politics from the Atlantic:
Here are two of the related articles at the bottom:
Make sure that you read articles from the same topic. Since both articles are related you will be able to review a lot of the same vocabulary.
Some of the common vocabulary in both articles includes: administration, white house, democratic, campaign, conceal, institutions and many more!
This is how you learn a language: you read the same words over and over again in slightly different texts and over time understand the word fully.
You don’t learn words with vocabulary lists and translations from L2 to L1 (or even from dictionaries!). That is superficial.
This method of learning slowly as you read a word over and over again encourages deep, meaningful learning, not simple memorisation.
Tip #3: Keep a Journal for Vocab and Ideas
The difference between successful and unsuccessful IELTS students is how active they are.
Don’t just read. Read and DO SOMETHING.
Here are some images of good note-taking (from our Instagram page):
Tip #4 Practice Activities
Besides taking good notes, you should also try to do some meaningful practice with what you read.
You don’t have to be in the classroom with some old, ugly teacher to do practice activities.
Here are some activities you can do all by yourself:
1. Read the article and write a short summary (1-2 sentences long). Then go back the next day and re-read the article and add more detail to your summary.
2. Write your opinion of what is happening in the article.
3. Write a prediction for what will happen in the future related to the article.
4. Record your favourite quotes/lines from the article. Try to memorise them.
5. Add an extra sentence to every paragraph in the article.
Now it’s Your Turn! Post a link to a news article about Donald Trump below: