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A unique strategy to improve your Reading

By DET Practice - TADE Hub
March 28,2023 | 14:57 PM

What is the purpose of Reading? Is it to understand what we read? Definitely. So, improving our Reading skills means helping us understand a wide range of uncommon topics. Moreover, in the process of practicing Reading, we actually advance our vocabulary bank as well because we always see new words, collocations, idioms, and so on while Reading. 

This article shares a strategy of 05 simple steps to help students upgrade their Reading skills and widen their vocabulary bank simultaneously. 

Step 1: Skim through and find suitable content

Skim through means reading something very quickly to get a general idea of its meaning and decide if it’s suitable content to read carefully. 

There are three types of content that students always face, including Easy, Difficult, and Just-right content. 

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  • Easy content: Students are able to understand over 90% of the content, which is good, but they will likely learn nothing from it. If students already know and understand most content, there is not much stuff for them to enhance their skills. Thus, we should avoid this type of content if students want to learn lots of new words. 
  • Difficult content: If we understand less than 70% of the content, it isn’t suitable for us. The average magazine article is between 1,500 and 3,500 words. Let’s say we read an article of 2,000 words, and we only understand 65% of the content (less than 70%), which means we don’t understand the rest of 35%, which means we probably don’t understand around 700 words. So, how long would we need to look all 700 words up in order to understand the whole article? 
  • Just-right content: This is the type of content we need. Suppose you are able to understand roughly above 70% and less than 90%, it’s Just-right content to study. In this type, we will learn a lot from it by utilizing our current level to guess the meaning of similar words or looking new words up in a dictionary.

Conclusion: By Skimming through, we are able to find the Just-right content to practice our Reading skills as it’s the most suitable type. Just-right content provides us with lots of new words to widen our vocabulary bank, but at the same time, we don’t spend much time on it. 

Step 2: Read, Read, and Read

After finding a suitable article – The just-right content, it’s time to Read, Read, and Read. We strongly recommend students find suitable articles on NPR, which is a great source of American English. Or if students prefer British English, they can find British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Both have a wide range of topics with thousands of articles, so no worries if you cannot find Just-right content to practice Reading. 

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Reading daily is the key to widening our knowledge and vocabulary bank, which helps us get ready for English proficiency tests in the future. In the next steps, we will be guiding English learners on how to improve their Reading skills and learn new words effectively. 

For example, we choose this article on NPR for testing: “Silicon Valley Bank’s fall shows how tech can push a financial panic into hyperdrive”.

Step 3: Take notes while reading

As usual, taking notes plays an essential role in learning new knowledge and remembering words. In one article, there are countless ideas, collocations, idioms, and so on that, we can learn from. Therefore, reading without taking notes is only wasting time for nothing. 

It’s super easy to do. In this step, we need to read all sentences carefully and take notes of ideas, collocations, idioms, or whatever learners want in a notebook while reading. 

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Regarding our example, we found some new ideas and words as follows:

  • Clamoring;
  • Instantaneous;
  • Cascade;

Simply take notes everything you want, but don’t look up new words meaning and pronunciations right after taking notes as it interrupts our reading process, which may cost us the whole day to finish one article – this is no good at all. English learners need to leave all words there and we will get back to them later.

Step 4: Summarise what we read

Summarising what we read helps us strengthen keywords, learn how to paraphrase, and understand general ideas deeply. Doing so helps a lot when we take IELTS, TOEFL, or DET. 

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In order to summarise one article thoroughly, after the previous step – Take notes while reading, it’s time to read the whole article one more time and start summarising it. Let’s get back to our sample article, and we have the following summary:

The article cites words from financial experts about the recent fall of Silicon Valley and Signature banks in the US, which prove how tech - we are living in a technology world – can push financial panic or crisis much faster compared to the past, specifically the world financial crisis in 2008.

Step 5: Review all keywords

Here we come to the final step – Review all keywords. 

The purpose of reading is to widen our vocabulary bank and gain more knowledge that we already went through in Steps 3 and 4 respectively. In this step, we will be reviewing all keywords that we took notes on earlier to help us completely understand them. 

We will review all words by checking their meanings, pronunciation, synonyms, and how to use them with some examples.

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Some words have lots of meanings in different contexts such as Cascade, so students should check them all in Oxford Learners’ Dictionary or Cambridge Dictionaries for a full understanding.

Special step: It has to be this way! 

We need to read the whole article one more time after checking the meanings and pronunciation of new words in Step 5, which is the major key to helping us read all words again in real context and understand how each one is used. Consequently, we have higher chances to apply these new words in our real conversations or written theses in the near future – this is what we all want when we take the Duolingo English Test or other English proficiency tests.

It's time to wrap up everything in this article and start your Reading right away. In case students are looking for materials to prepare for the Duolingo English Test, we have the following materials to offer.

  • 05 DET Preparation steps: A detailed 05-preparation-step strategy helps DET takers prepare for the test in the beginning. Even if you are a beginner, it’s no problem as this strategy is very easy to follow.
  • DET Practice Platform: The DET online preparation platform offers thousands of practice questions, hundreds of Interactive Reading sets, and at least 15 Full DET Practice tests. On top of that, users get immediate feedback after submitting their answers to check for mistakes and learn from them. The platform shares feedback based on Fluency, Grammatical Accuracy, Lexical Diversity, Lexical Sophistication, and Acoustic Features.
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  • DET Preparation Course: A complete DET Preparation course is developed in 03 main parts: DET Foundation, Tips and Strategies, and Important Notes. Students have Tips and Strategies for all question types, so they can apply them to practice and improve their scores. Let’s take a look at this course road map and other benefits, and watch video trials.

In a nutshell, we truly need to devote our time to study and practice on a regular basis in order to advance our skills and obtain the desired scores. Our team will always be here to help, reach out to us if you have any questions.