Reading a newspaper is an excellent way to practice spoken English. Most newspapers use important English vocabulary words. A newspaper will give you many common political, scientific, economic and technical words.
However, using a newspaper to study spoken English will require that you do more than merely reading it. You must read the newspaper frequently and read it aloud. You must always look up words you do not know in your dictionary and attempt to use these new words and expressions when you speak.
- Print an article from a newspaper web site. (Always select a newspaper from the country using the English you are studying.)
- First, read the article out loud, looking for new vocabulary words.
- Whenever you read a word you do not know, stop and look it up in your own language English dictionary.
- Write the English words you do not know in a notebook. Then write the meaning of the word in your own language.
- If a word you do not know is used more than twice in an article, put a check () by it for special study.
- You do not need to write names of places or people in your notebook.
- After you finish reading the article for the first time, review the meaning of all the new vocabulary words you wrote in your notebook. Study these words enough so that you know what they mean when you read the article.
- Now read the entire article aloud for fluency practice. Try reading the article as smoothly as possible without stopping. Read it aloud twice. Your purpose is to read it so that an English speaking person could easily understand what you are saying.
- Read the article again for meaning. Always read aloud. If you do not understand a sentence, stop and figure out exactly what it means.
- If some of the meanings you have written in your notebook do not make sense in the article, look the word up again in your dictionary and see if it has other meanings. Write the meaning in your notebook that makes the most sense as a second meaning for that word.
- If you still cannot figure out the meaning of a sentence, it may be because two or three words are used together as an expression. Try to determine the meaning of expressions. Look for similar expressions in other articles. If you cannot determine the meaning of an expression, you may need to ask an English speaking person to help you.
- Identify expressions as you read. Use a special mark to identify them in the articles.
- Try substituting other words while using the same expression. Say or write as many sentences using the expression as possible. For example, you may read a sentence in a newspaper which says, "Former Governor Mitchell announced on Friday he will not run for another term, putting to rest months of speculation about his future intentions." "Putting to rest" is an expression which means "ending." (The sentence means that the Governor was "ending months of speculation about his future intentions.") Try writing sentences using the new expression. Most expressions can be used in different tenses with different people or things. For example, the expression "to put to rest" can be used in the present, "I want to put our disagreement to rest," in the future, "he will put his argument to rest," or in the past, "they finally put their rivalry to rest."
- Many times, English uses forms of words as a type of expression. For example, you may read a sentence in a newspaper which says, "We're getting all kinds of calls from people who are panicking and asking what they can do." This form of expression uses two (or more) words ending in "…ing" to describe two (or more) actions that the same person is doing at one time. Substitute other words while using the same form of the expression. Try writing as many different sentences using the same form as possible. You might say, "Parents are taking their children from school and going home," "The children were finishing their lessons and leaving for lunch," or, "We were sitting on the grass, listening to the concert."
- For more fluency practice, continue reading the article aloud until you can read it at the same speed that an English speaker talks. Practice until your pronunciation sounds like that of an English speaker.
- Your purpose is not merely to learn the vocabulary in these articles, but to learn to speak English. Keep practicing until you can read the article aloud so that an English speaking person can clearly understand what you are saying.
- Select other newspaper articles and continue reading aloud while you look for new vocabulary words. When you find a word in your notebook that you have already checked (), place a second check () by it. Any word in your notebook with two checks should be memorized as an important word to know.
- Frequently review the English words in your notebook. Try using each word in a sentence. Use these new words when you talk with an English speaker.