How to start reading in English?

It's such a common question.

I have heard this many times from my students as most of them are quite afraid to deal with the reading tasks on the Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE..). In that sense, I decided to kick off and open this book club community. I wanted to extend my knowledge and help other Spanish native speakers to get confident in their English abilities. And for me, there is not such a better way than learning by reading books. Obviously it takes time to feel comfortable as a reader in a language that is not your mother tongue and, also, stop despairing because you don’t understand many words. In this article, I will cover some first tricks that may cheer you up before starting our June’s reading. Go and take some notes, #beereader!

Don't hurry up yourself.

Pick the right book

I remembered that the first book I wanted to read fully in English when I was not used to do it was Harry Potter -to be honest, my intention was devoure the whole J.K Rowling’s series!-.  50 pages later, I had to quit, as I was feeling overwhelmed. After all, I had to admit it was not the best book for that moment. By the time, I was preparing my FCE exam and I was just familiar to read in Spanish.

So, that is the main key. Choose a handy, simple book. Try to begin with a topic that you really enjoy reading or it is related to your studies or work. It can be fictional or non-fictional, but my recommendation is to start with a book with less than 250 pages. I am trying to stick to that rule in our bookclub. I do know that not every member’s got the same level so it has to be accesible to everyone at first.

Listen and read at the same time

You might think I got nuts, but not really. There is a very useful tool nowadays and this is the “audiobook”. 

I am sure you now well some platforms where to find this precious kind of content. You may even already be addicted to listen to them while you are commuting on the bus to work or going for a walk alone. I specially like Storytel, as the user experience of the app is great and you not only have available audiobooks, but ebooks in English too. So, yes. Have a look at the catalogue and pick a short audiobook and get a digital copy or buy the paper book to follow the reading at the same time you listen to it. You will catch up with the pronunciation of tricky words and will assimilate better the story in your mind.  If you don’t know if you would be able, I recommend you to begin with any of these three books whether in Storytel or Audible. It is up to you. Remember you have at least 2 weeks free to try out the app in both cases and cancel anytime

A book written by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi. It is only 64 pages and 45 minutes on Storytel’s audiobook! Get the ebook on Amazon for just 2,48€

Also a very short non-fiction book. If you have spare time, listen to the audiobook while reading. It lasts just 1 hour and will improve your vocabulary related to expression emotions and feelings

Staying in Japan, this classic novel is not very difficult to approach yourself into literature in English. Check it out on Storytel. You only need three free hours and, if you don’t find the digital copy free, it’s 6€ on Amazon