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  Weekly Feature: (August 15, 2005)


Read this Summer: Improve Your Writing Too!
Louise's Weekly Feature


Many students ask me, “How can I improve my writing?” My very simple answer is, “Read as much as you can in English.”

Research on writing improvement shows those students who read a lot, show huge gains in their writing proficiency. It is actually quite sensible, because the more you read the more exposure you get to good English writing. You start to think and then write following the models you have read.

“Is she crazy?” you are thinking to yourself. “It’s summer! I don’t want to be reading some English book where I have to look up every second word in the dictionary.”

Again, that’s where some research helps us out. Choose books that you can read independently (with 95% accuracy). Follow this rule when choosing a book: you should be able to read aloud a paragraph or two at the speed of speech. There should be fewer than five hard words per page.

You are probably asking yourself now, “How can I possibly choose a book? There are millions of them!” You are quite right, but here are some suggestions to help you:

1. In the PALC computer room, there is a wonderful library of Penguin Readers written on lots of different subjects available for every level of English. In addition, there are talking books (tapes) with novels, so you can listen and follow along with the text.

 2. Children and young adult fiction is another excellent source of interesting reading material. The following two web sites have lists of award winning books.

 Award Winning Children's Books

Newbery Medal Winners

3. Finally, visit your local library and talk to the librarian about reading choices. Librarians are highly skilled at matching books with readers.

So, enjoy the rest of the summer, but if you go to the beach why not take an interesting book and begin to enjoy reading in English.


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