How to Improve Vocabulary by Reading Books

improve vocabulary reading booksToday you’ll learn a step-by-step way to improve vocabulary by reading books.

First of all, it’s important to realize the difference between your vocabulary goals for the IELTS Exam.

Receptive vocabulary is what you can recognize and understand when you see it or hear it, so this is for the reading and listening portions of the test.

On the contrary, your productive vocabulary is what you want to actually use in your speaking and writing.

The way we go about learning these sets is very different.

Improve receptive vocabulary:

Broadening the range of what we understand comes through repetition of seeing or hearing a word in context.

As you don’t know what topics will come up on the IELTS Listening and Reading Exams, there is no list that you can memorize.

Being able to recognize a large range of vocabulary is vital, because the key words from the question will often be paraphrased in the passage or the listening section.

Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a book you’ll like to read. Make sure it’s a topic you’re interested in, or you won’t learn much and you won’t be motivated to actually read it.
  2. Read a chapter.
  3. After finishing the chapter, go back and highlight or circle 3 new words.
  4. Do an internet search for each word. See it context. Don’t make a list. It’s likely these words will pop up again throughout the book, so the more often you see it, the more likely it is to stick in your mind.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each chapter.

 

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Improve productive vocabulary:

You should be keeping a vocabulary notebook with words you want to use on the exam.

These words can be topic specific, as IELTS does feature similar topics on many exams.

However, as you can’t be sure about the topics or the questions you’ll get, it’s smarter to learn words that can be applied in a variety of contexts.

You want informal and descriptive vocabulary for Speaking Parts 1 and 2, and academic vocabulary for Speaking Part 3 and Writing Task 2.

Follow these steps:

  1. Choose a book you’ll like to read. Make sure it’s a topic you’re interested in, or you won’t learn much and you won’t be motivated to actually read it.
  2. Read a chapter.
  3. After finishing the chapter, go back and highlight or circle 3 new words. Try to choose words that are interesting and descriptive, and might be used in many different contexts.
  4. Do an internet search for each word. See it context.
  5. Add the words to your vocabulary notebook.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 for each chapter.
  7. Review your notebook 2-3 times a week.
  8. Make yourself use the words in speaking and writing practice.

What do you think about today’s advice?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

 

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