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  • Writer's pictureAnqi Teng

Reading Won't Fix Your Grammar. Here's Why.

The answer to all English issues seem to be "read more".

Not enough vocabulary? Read more.

No ideas for creative writing? Read more. Poor grammar? Read more.

However, does reading more actually make a difference? The answer is unfortunately a resounding no. The act of reading itself does not necessarily fix any of these issues. The act of reading is simply a tool that will only yield the right results when used in the right way.

Most students do not read actively. They will skim through the page for the storyline, not the grammar or vocabulary. Students rarely are motivated enough to pull out a dictionary and search up words they are unfamiliar with.

So if this is the case, how exactly can students improve their English grammar?

  1. Learn grammar rules: it might be painful but learning the basic rules and components of sentences is a crucial first step to understanding how the English language is put together. This can be done with a textbook, online exercises or tutoring depending on how the student learns best.

  2. Set aside non-pleasurable reading time: reading should actually be done in 2 distinct ways. One way is for pure pleasure - an excellent way to learn more about the world around us. There is no need to constantly associating reading with study. That will ruin a child's experience and drive them away from books. Reading to study should be scheduled separately. A 15 minute reading session each day where the goal is to absorb vocabulary and dissect grammar is enough to help students improve.

  3. Learn how to diagram sentences: admittedly an ancient grammar learning tool, diagramming sentences has a bad reputation in America for being not so useful. If done the traditional way, sentence diagramming can definitely be tedious and boring. However, using it as an editing tool to check if sentences are logical and well organised is an excellent way to help students catch their own grammatical mistakes.

  4. Edit, edit, edit: whether it is by a teacher, a tutor or the student themselves, having one's writing edited and then redone is the best way to learn grammar and writing skills. Of course, for the student to be able to edit their own work, a good grasp of grammar rules is crucial, as per point number one.

No one improves their grammar simply by reading - just like a soccer player will not learn how to play well by watching soccer games for fun, students do not learn how to write well by reading for fun.

Hopefully these tips will help the students in your life improve their grammar and their English marks!

P.S. Confused about what books to look for in the library? Simply fill in our contact form, with "Reading List" as the topic of inquiry, for a free reading list with books and movies for every high school year level.

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