Greetings from the US!
I went home to Virginia for the holidays this year.
And while visiting my sister, I decided to check out a local book store.
Of course, I went right to the language section.
What did I find?
The same boring grammar books and lists of idioms I see students in Europe reading!
If you know my blog, then you know that one of the basic ideas I teach is that you should run away from anything boring.
And run away fast.
Because boredom is the enemy of learning and remembering.
We pay attention to what’s interesting and forget and avoid whatever is boring.
And if you choose a boring book – like A Dictionary of American Idioms (zzzzzz) – that’s a bad idea because you’ll quickly become bored, you’ll stop reading, and your English will get worse.
So what’s the solution?
Every bookstore sells books which can improve your English vocabulary.
Just reading one of these books will help you learn and remember useful, native speaker vocabulary.
But these books are not in the language section…
Where are they?
They’re everywhere else!
They’re fiction books… biography… humour… personal growth… fantasy… yoga for mothers…
In fact, any book that’s not in the language section!
Because although reading is one of the best ways to improve your English vocabulary…
(According to one research study, adults learned 45 words from reading just one short novel. *)
It MUST be something you’re interested in.
If it’s not, then you’ll become bored, stop reading, and your English will get worse.
Two Book Recommendations From My Sister
Because I stayed with my sister and her family last week, and because she’s a school teacher, and because your reading should also be easy, I asked her to recommend some books.
These are her top two choices for easy reading:
Little House On The Prairie
One of my sister’s favorite books. All her kids read it, and I read it too when I was little. (I liked it, but I think it’s more of a girl’s book.)
It’s the true story about a girl who moves with her family to the American frontier (out west) before there were railroads or electricity.
The TV show based on the book was something my family watched every week.
This one, I remember, I liked more. It’s definitely a boy’s story.
In the 1860s, when Europe still had kings and queens, a boy and his dog hunt in the wilderness of Texas.
*Saragi, U., P. Nation, and G. Meister. 1978. Vocabulary learning and reading. System 6: 70-78