Children and adults can learn English through story, in many ways, both as serious study and as a casual free-time activity. Many would attest that stories are an excellent way to learn English for a learner of any age.
Find out here how stories can help in English language acquisition of learners.
Reading Stories is an Excellent Way to Learn English!
As a child, perhaps you have a memory of your parents or grandparents reading you stories while you’re sitting on their lap. Back then, you might be blissfully unaware that you have listened to different stories, and that you have enjoyed the experience. You might not be aware but listening to stories is an excellent way to learn new words and methods to communicate your ideas or messages to other people. This is an example of how story-based learning can be a highly effective method for your English language acquisition as it promotes listening comprehension skills.
A good English story encourages us to keep on reading. It inspires us to turn to the next page because we are curious about what happens next. What the main characters would do, what would they say. These are just some of the things that we want to find out. Also, stories make us feel different emotions –anger, happiness, fear, curiosity, and more. When we are deeply engaged in the story, it’s easy to feel that we are actually a part of it. This relatable experience encourages us to read more, and ultimately enhance our English skills in the process.
Due to the natural empathy we develop with the stories’ characters, our brains process their comprehension differently from the way they perceive factual information. Furthermore, the human brain doesn’t always recognize the difference between a real situation and an imagined one, therefore making the characters “alive” to us. Whatever they say or do becomes meaningful to readers.
All around the world, several cultures have used stories to pass knowledge and other valuable information from one generation to another. The early people have understood that stories serve as the best way to preserve history. After all, the word story has been derived from the word “history.”
How can you learn English through story in a fun yet easy way?
English is a language that obligates well-organized study habits because of its ambiguity. Despite its complexity and ambiguity, ignoring the importance of the English language can limit individuals’ opportunities for personal growth, social interaction, and productivity. It is one of the aspects in education where people feel burdened most of the time, since acquisition and utilization of it takes a long period of time. It is an undeniable fact that language proficiency is the key to open the door of opportunities for personal growth, social interaction, work and employment and personal productivity. And while English language acquisition is a crucial element of effective communication skills, engaging learning is an essential factor for success. Reading and listening to stories is an effective way to learn new words and phrases.
Learning English through stories doesn’t have to be hard work! Stories can increase English-learning motivation in anyone, from school students to businessmen and retired people. Language learning shouldn’t only be studied because story-based learning is also an effective way to learn new words and phrases, while gaining cultural context and deeper understanding of the language and the people who speak it.
Stories help you increase vocabulary, understand grammar, learn collocations, and practice working out meaning from context. They also allow you to experience natural and authentic English. English in the real world is very different to English in a textbook, and learning English through stories can be done at your own time and pace.
Here are several ways to learn English through story.
Learn English through story, mainly English readers.
Use English readers. English readers are famous stories that have had their language made easier for different levels of English students. They have been carefully checked by English teachers and professors with a lot of experience, who have made sure the language remains natural but understandable for English learners. There are hundreds of these, with classic stories from Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter.
Get an electronic reader, like the Amazon Kindle. These allow you to look up the definition of words as you read them. Simply touch the word you do not understand, and a new text box will open with a dictionary definition in English for you to read.
Learn English through story/stories you’ve read before.
Read stories you’ve already read in your own language. Preferably, these should be stories you read some time ago, not recently. This is because you may simply skip through the parts of the story you remember, using your memory to tell the story rather than reading in English. Books that you love, but haven’t read for a while are the best. As you read the story in English, you will read and understand what you are reading, and then remember that you read this before in your first language!
Start with stories for young learners. When you are learning a language, you shouldn’t try to start by reading the books you would read in your first language. Children’s books, while the themes can be simpler, offer a good place to start when first reading stories in a new language. Books aimed at teenagers are good for upper-intermediate learners and above, though there is no guarantee the language in these books will be easier to understand than in books for adults.
Watch the movie, then read the story. A lot of famous stories and books have been adapted for the big screen. Often, it is far easier to understand the story you are reading if you have seen it. Of course, watch the movie in English and, if you use subtitles, use English subtitles!
Find book reviews online. You will be able to find these for long stories and short stories. If you do this, not only can you hear what other people thought about the story, but you can also check your understanding. Book reviews usually include a short overview of the story, using simpler language. Often, you will easily be able to discover what you understood, what you misunderstood, and the different ways of understanding a story. After reading a few reviews, you can go back and read the story again for a deeper understanding. Eventually, you may be able to write your own book reviews and post them online for other people to read.
Discuss books online. There are millions of book and story discussion groups online in many different languages. Simply search for the story you are reading, and join in the discussion. You can join in anytime you like, leaving short one-sentence comments or whole paragraphs. Hopefully, you’ll get responses that will give you further chances to practice your English.
Find and read classics of English literature by searching for “copyright-free stories.” You can use the books of famous authors such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, or Arthur Conan Doyle to learn English through story, all for free. Of course, these stories are likely to be quite challenging!
Check our website! Here you will find several famous English language stories for different levels of English learners.
Learn English through story and make it a more enjoyable experience!
Remember to start small. Short stories are good, because you can read them in a short amount of time and take time to study the language. Here are additional tips to help you out!
A podcast a day, keeps the boredom away.
Boredom is inevitable. Reading long passages can really make a reader yawn. Listening to podcasts is a real time and life saver. Podcasts stimulate creative thinking. This encourages the listener to become more critical and creative in their thinking, hence, develop artistic talents. Contemporary podcasts are timely and relevant to target audiences. It can serve as a learning tool in honing the language skills of non-native English speakers. It is also important to note that many learners learn more effectively when they are listening than when reading the content.
Pin your interest.
Reading texts which do not suit your interest is like filling a sealed bottle, you can never benefit from it. Reading alone cannot guarantee a learner with full language acquisition. But reading a passage which interests the learner can increase the probability of learning the target language because one can relate with the twists and turns of the plot of the story.
Binge great stories. English is fun.
People often look for fun ways to learn a language. Questions are, “Is it existent?”, “Is there such a thing?” Well, they do exist, and watching TV is one of them. Try watching shows with English subtitles, then turn them off when you started to grasp its vocabulary. Surprise! You are learning! Five TV shows that will surely help you learn English are: Friends, Big Bang Theory, The Office, Mad Men, and Suits.
Reading level matters.
Most English learners show signs of reading difficulties. Sometimes, learners are struggling to read because they are still in the phase of learning the language. Or, they have a learning disability in reading that has not yet been identified. By identifying appropriate reading materials and practicing regularly, English learners can enhance their reading comprehension skills and accelerate their language acquisition journey.
Practice active reading.
Reading is an essential skill for language learners. Improving one’s reading skills means improving listening, speaking and writing skills too. Practice constant repetition of words and patterns in reading can language learners in remembering vocabulary and grammar. Actively and critically engaged with the content can save a learner some time. Underlining or highlighting keywords while reading can help in identifying which point matters. On the other hand, recording oneself while reading the module material is also a great help.
Read a little every day, and soon you will find yourself reading in English for fun, not for study!