Picturise this – you have built a house with a fragile base.

Will it withstand all weather conditions? You bet that you want to build a house on a solid foundation. Similarly, the language learning is built on a solid foundation of Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing – The four processes that make you a well-rounded English speaker.

It took me years of successes and failures together in using and teaching English language to realize the importance of these four pillars. The Lighthouse effect was only created when I spent hours and hours of learning English over these years, where I actually engaged to read, write, speak or listen to English to achieve fluency.

Typically, people struggle with listening – comprehending – speaking cycle of English language learning. Many people soon realize that they are stronger in writing this language than responding in it.

As I have always believed, the measurement of success in any communication, Verbal or non-verbal, in English or not, is from the point of view of how effectively Listening is carried out and comprehended.

When I was learning French, I set myself up with a goal that I will successfully complete my 35 hours of Coaching. To my dismay, even after completing the Cross Culture and French program of yet another 35 hours in Paris, didn’t get my Listening and responsiveness up to the mark. Only after being in the moment and on the streets of Paris, is when I started investing deeply in Listening. My biggest aim was to respond fluently and hold confident conversations to manage my routine day in this language.

3 months of intensive study, switching and giving attention to detail in each skill of learning, and 3 years of expatriation to a foreign country helped me to learn a new language.

Newton’s third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, if you want to gain fluency and accuracy in speaking English, you need to ensure that you switch the mindset and attitude towards learning each of these foundation pillars.

Let us now understand these four cornerstones that build our English spaking journey.

Reading
Writing
Listening and Comprehending
Speaking

None of these skills work in silos.

If you are reading, you may resort to writing for easier recall.
If you are listening, you are always comprehending to respond
If you are writing, you speak the language out with reading or paraphrase it for easy comprehension.

Once you dabble and master these four skills, you start becoming more fluent and in control of the language. You start enjoying the language!

So friends, let us look into how you can sharpen your reading skills in this Phase I of the article on how to ensure absolute fluency and flair of speaking this language.

Part I: How to Improve Your Reading Skills

The wishing well to improve one’s reading skills lies in books! Books are a haven of vocabulary, sentences, stories, and many interesting elements that add up to your Spoken English journey.

They help you to discover the culture, personalities, regions, and many new concepts that will expand your senses. With the online books available in thousands of languages, reading has just become easier and freely available.

Do look into some of the most interesting and thought-provoking resources that one must keep handy to upgrade your reading skills:

1. Picture / Comic / Creative writing / Puzzle Books
High on engagement, Picture books allow the reader to use words and resonance at beginner’s level. Indeed, Pictures speak thousand words! They are fun to read, visualize, explore, and comprehend better. They encourage you to start using one-word vocabulary, paraphrase the understanding and enjoy the process of storytelling. It also pushes the learner to formulate simple sentences. Language puzzles, crossword, creative passage writing engages the learner and keeps the interest going.

2. A Good Dictionary and a Pocket Notebook
Why a pocket notebook is required when I have a pocket dictionary? Where, a dictionary is your best friend in this journey, documenting the words in a pocket notebook with their synonyms, antonyms, or short sentences will allow the learner to recall them in time. As you deep dive into reading with a purpose, you will frequently come across new vocabulary words. By having a handy dictionary, you will be less complacent and not resort to procrastinating on knowing these words. You will surely find out what the meaning of these new words are and jot them down in your personal dictionary.

With an eye for detail, you may also jot down the grammar root of each word. These steps will kick-start your journey to improve your accuracy in English Grammar.

A personal dictionary as a pocket notebook can be referred on the go! You could target to use 10 words in the notebook in your travel time. You could also refer a digital application on your smart phone such as English Grammarly or Dictionary.com to check for the words and its usage. Even for taking notes, you could you Notes App in IOS or Android to ease up the writing process.

3. Read Newspapers
With newspapers, you will not only improve your knowledge of current affairs, social, global and economic events of your country, but also you will improve knowledge of a language, vocabulary, verbiage and construction of sentences. Not to mention, your grammar and sentence construction in English will slowly improve. An approximate cost of Rs. 7 – 10 will simply give you more than 1000 useful words everyday!
One could also refer to e-times of any newspaper at no cost!

4. Blogs
Today is the era of blogs! Every person has varied interests – food, recipes, fashion, jewelry, fitness, spirituality, yoga, shopping, etc. Whatever your interests – today’s social media platforms will have enough online material / blogs / articles to read about them in English language.

5. Enunciation
Have you ever felt interested till the end to listen to a speaker with monotone or flat tone? It comes as no surprise when such speeches have low engagement and recall. Hence, as you turn the tables around, you would like your listener to be interested in your topic and every such aim must couple with a good level of modulation and stress in pronouncing the spoken words. This brings life, meaning and more purpose to your speech. For example, in the sentence “He stole my purse”, every primary word enunciated and stressed will change the tone and meaning of the sentence.

In the 2nd phase of our blog, you will experience how to enhance your writing skills. Till then, open up your world of words with reading and you will indeed see yourself more familiar and fluent in speaking English. Remember, coffee and conversations begin with a leaf of a book! Live more lives with the world of books… So, happy reading!

Author's Bio: 

The writer of the article is the Founder Director, Chief Facilitator, Motivational Speaker, and Persona Excellence Coach of Nirmiti Academy, one of the top 10 institutes in Personality Development, Coaching, Spoken English in 2019 in India. For more tips and techniques in Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and Comprehension and improve Spoken English skills, follow our YouTube channel @Nirmiti.Academy.

Do check our varied programs in Spoken English and Communication Skills on our website