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English or American: how to choose literature for English lessons


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English or American: how to choose literature for English lessons


People who decide to master the English language begin to do so in accordance with their inclinations and temperament. One rushes to talk with foreigners on the street or on the net, knowing only 3 words, the other learns the lyrics of his favorite songs. Individuals who are unhurried and solid need books to start. Reading books, various texts develops visual memory, replenishes vocabulary, acquaints with stable expressions (idioms), grammatical constructions.

Stages of working with text:

  • Book selection
  • Reading, translating
  • Dictionary compilation, repetition
  • Summarizing.

Choose a book as a computer game: must capture

Choosing a book to read is not easy; you need to take into account several features at once. The book should be fun, ideally loved. For a start, it is better to take a text familiar in Russian. If you are not proficient in a language, it is best to use adapted options. The adapted versions remove outdated vocabulary, complex phrases, rare words - everything that can make it difficult to understand. Such variations are usually available for classics, but can be found for modern literature as well. To enrich the vocabulary, the choice of modern works is preferable: the dialogues there will be close to real ones, there will be no outdated vocabulary.

Many decent books have been translated into English, but learning English from translated literature is not worth it. Original literature, even adapted, conveys logic, the way of thinking of native speakers.

At the stage of the first acquaintance with English-language literature, it is better to take a short text, story or short story: there you can also find a detective story, thriller, fantasy or drama. A small volume is easier to read and analyze. When the matter is brought to a victorious end, self-confidence will appear.

How to determine if a text is level-appropriate? There are no more than 2-3 unfamiliar words in a sentence. Especially for a start, it is better to choose a book where the text is more or less clear (no details).

Reading and translating text: dictionaries and gadgets

Work on the text begins from the first page of the book: it is better to stay here. The first approach is reading without helpers (dictionaries, translators). The task is to try to understand the meaning of the text without prompts. The next step is translation. Today few people use paper dictionaries: computer translators are more convenient and faster. Anyone will translate individual words, but pieces of text, when the words are familiar, but the meaning is not clear, it is better to entrust Yandex / Google translator.

For those who read books in electronic form, the situation is even simpler: there are applications that allow you to get a translation by clicking on an unfamiliar word. This is both good and bad, depending on the purpose of the reading. If the goal is to enjoy reading while remembering English along the way, this is good: it will allow you to read the book faster and give you confidence. When the goal is learning, immersion in the English language, it is better to use a regular translator: typing a word includes visual memory, sharpens attention to the chosen meaning.

The most diligent will find it useful to translate all the sentences on the first page (or at least half). This will help you understand how complex the text is, as well as the structure of the text itself.

It's not always worth looking for a translation right away. In this regard, the ambulance of gadgets sometimes gets in the way: it is better to read an incomprehensible paragraph several times, slowly analyzing the context. It is quite possible that it will become clearer. However, there is no need to give up progress; for ease of reading in English, we have created different applications with useful functions:

  • WordParty is a "reader" that not only translates and explains, but also forms a personal dictionary, and on the basis of the dictionary makes a conclusion about the level of language proficiency and offers a list of films for this level.
  • Smart Book can switch text from original to translation in the same paragraph.
  • Bookmate will also help with translation, and even offer a large selection of English-language literature in a paid and free version.

Compilation of a dictionary: if you do not entrust the mission of WordParty

Compiling a dictionary for the selected text is an important part of the job. Not all unfamiliar words that had to be translated should be included in the dictionary. It is better to refuse to enter into it words, met 1 time, rare adjectives.

After translating a sentence or a paragraph, it will become clear where are the keywords, without which it is impossible to understand the meaning, and where are optional. The dictionary is made up of keywords: this will help to move further in the text and will not turn the dictionary into a multivolume edition.

It is better to write the dictionary by hand, but not everyone has this opportunity. Gadgets are so good that they allow you to study on the road, in line, use every free minute. Before reading a new passage in a chapter, it is worth repeating the words from the dictionary. For the convenience of learning English at home, it is useful to make flashcards.

Users of English learning services - " Ligvaleo ", " Duolingo " and others - will be able to insert basic words from the dictionary into daily workouts and repeat them as a game.

Final work on the text: retelling or essay

It is not enough just to read the text to improve your language proficiency. The words just learned will be safely forgotten if they are not fixed in memory: they need to be used in your own speech in order to remember for a long time. At the reading stage, when words from the dictionary are repeated, you can make simple sentences with them.

After reading the text, it would be good to retell it. Ideally - to someone who can correct mistakes, if there is no one - then to himself. In retelling, you need to use vocabulary words and memorable phrases from the text. Another option is to write down the retelling, which is much more difficult: you have to follow the spelling. Here you can describe your own thoughts and emotions that appeared during the reading.

Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Kuban State University, Russia (World Economics); Westminster University (Business & Management).
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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