The Joy of Reading

The art of reading has become just that, a dying art. No one seems interested in reading nowadays. Such is the impact of social media forms like the Internet, Facebook and video capturing the minds of the young; it’s hardly surprising that reading comes way down on the list of things to do.

“The Times” newspaper in the UK has published a report by the former head of Ofsted in response to concerns that children here are suffering from ‘word poverty’, being unable to string a proper sentence together before they start school. Other studies have noted that children from poor backgrounds have smaller vocabularies and less abstract ideas.

Now while it is unfair to assume that anyone from a poorer background is disadvantaged in this way. It is fair to say that anybody irrespective of their upbringing can pull themselves up by learning to read and learning to read well. It is one of the best gifts a parent can give to their child and it yields many benefits some of which are listed below:-

1) One of the best ways to educate yourself is through reading; you may not be fortunate enough to go to a university, or private school. However if you can read, you can have access to information and insight into areas that you once thought was beyond you. Famous self taught people such as Robert Burns, and Charles Dickens have risen to prominence and have left behind great legacies, partly because they educated themselves through reading.

2) Read and read widely, everything from the classics to poetry, websites, magazines, leaflets, blogs, twitters even adverts. It’s still reading and it will help you to expand your vocabulary as well as your spelling.

3) Reading aids comprehension, the ability to understand what you read. Developing good reading skills at an early age will perfect this. Being able to read well means that you will have no problem understanding manuals, contracts, benefit forms and other important documents in later life.

4) Reading allows you to exercise your mental powers of creativity. Often your imagination runs riot when reading a fiction book as your mind conjures up images of alternative endings and how scenes should be played out. If the book is then adapted into a film or play. It can be a big disappointment as it usually bares no resemblance to your movie script which was so much better and more exciting and that is the beauty of reading the places it can take you to in your mind.

5) Reading improves your communication and writing skills.

6) If you have difficulty concentrating for any length of time. Try reading something of interest as reading compels you to focus.

7) Reading allows you to develop critical thinking skills and allows you to make decisions for yourself.

So there it is, reading has many benefits and those that can tap into those benefits from an early age will certainly reap the rewards later on.


Ask john English QuestionQuestions: Do you like reading? Why or why not?

What do you usually read?

Put your answer in the comments!

What is the Best Way to Study English?

Many foreign people find English words and the English language one of the hardest in the world to learn. While English could be one of the most difficult languages, there are many ways for non-native speakers of the language to learn. Since the start of online learning , it is much easier to get a hold of information than it used to be without the internet. Seeing as this is so, people who do not speak English fluently should use the information on the internet to learn phrases and words. It is also easy to find English vocabulary quizzes so those who are learning can test themselves on their English skills. An additional alternative would be to use a complete software program, like Rosetta Stone, to learn English. Finally, the most popular option would be to just take a class. All of these options depend on the reason for learning English and the amount of English you want to learn.

There is so much information on the internet nowadays that it may be challenging to find the information you want. Those individuals , who wish to learn English, could try locating websites that give the definitions and show how to pronounce the words or, even better, find websites that will pronounce the words for you. Teaching yourself English online would probably be a good choice for those who are just going to visit on a short vacation, or for those who only want to learn the basics.

Another alternative for individuals who want to learn English, would be to purchase a software program, such as Rosetta Stone. Programs like these are have a lot of depth to them and they are similar to taking a class. Many of the software programs have all of the components of learning a language, such as speaking, reading, writing and listening. The difference between a software program and taking a class would be the ability to ask questions if you are confused about a subject and the fact that you would take the class outside of your home if you took a class. This option would probably be the better selection for those who are trying to learn English for business or for an extended stay in an English-speaking country. This would also be a good idea for people who are more independent learners.

Finally, taking a class would be the final alternative if you want to learn English. Taking a class would be more detailed and you would have the ability to ask questions, unlike the software program option. Taking a class, again, would probably be a great selection for individuals who are learning English for business or for those who are planning an extended-stay in an English-speaking country. This option would also be a great option for people who learn better with others.

All of these alternatives have their advantages and disadvantages. Each option will depend on the amount of English each non-native English speaker wishes to learn and why the person is trying to learn English in the first place. Seeing as how English has been named one of the more challenging languages to learn, it may be better to try a software program or try taking a class instead of just trying to learn a few words. However, as always, the choice is for each person to make.

How to ‘have the last word’

General LessonTo have the last word…

John ‘To have the last word’ means to be the winner in an argument.

Here is a great saying I read last week. It talks about one good way to win arguments:

The best way to have the last word is to say ‘sorry’.

In some cultures it is not good to say sorry. In some cultures, people never say sorry. In English speaking cultures, it is usually good to say sorry to someone, if you have done something wrong or something that hurt the person.

Ask john English QuestionQuestion: Do you think it is good to say sorry? Why or why not? When might it not be good to say sorry?

Put your answer in the comments!