How to use an English newspaper to help you improve your English?

If you asked any English teacher, what they think is the best ‘authentic’ reading material for you to improve your English, almost all of them would say a newspaper. I would have to agree with them. English newspapers are great. The main reason for this is because newspapers are much more current than textbooks. Textbooks can become outdated rather quickly. The reading material they contain can soon seem old fashioned and boring to the reader. However, newspapers contain up to date news and stories. Plus, you can read a different one every day. I know how valuable newspapers are myself, when I was working and living in Spain, I would read a newspaper most mornings while having my coffee before my classes. I learned lots of things by reading the newspaper such as new vocabulary, phrases, and common expressions. Even better I could speak about some of the current news stories with my speaking partner, which he enjoyed.

​Reading newspapers on a regular occasion will help you to improve your reading writing and speaking in English. Another great reason why you should read newspapers is because that they also contain a wide variety of different types of texts, you can read narratives, stories, letters, advertisements, reports, and reviews, all of which can help you to expand your knowledge of English.

Now you know the value of newspapers I recommend that you start using them to improve your English. Whether you are into British, American, Canadian or Australian culture you will be able to find newspapers online. (Below I have included some links to popular British newspapers) go and check them out. Here are some useful tips on how to read your preferred newspaper.

1. Choose an article or story in the newspaper that interests you. Research shows If we find something interesting we will remember a lot more information about it. Don’t just read any article, find one that you are interested in.

2. Be clear on your aim. Are you reading the article because you want to improve your reading or are you reading it so that you can have a discussion about the article?

3. Have a notebook nearby so that you can write down new or unfamiliar words to look up in a dictionary.

4. Don’t try to make sense of everything. Newspapers can contain lots of new and unfamiliar words that you may or may not understand. Use the pictures to help you create a mental image. Try to read the whole article first and see if you can understand the main meaning of the text. When you have read the article, and have an idea of the context, then you can read it for the second time and look up the meaning of any new or unfamiliar vocabulary. Use your notebook to record any new vocabulary.

5. Try to get the most out of what you read. It’s a good idea to take what you have read and extend it further. Here are some suggestions of what to do after you have read your chosen article:

  • In your own words, you could write a short summary of what you have read. This is what we call ‘paraphrasing’ 
  • If you have a speaking partner you can then ask them to read the article and you can turn it into a friendly discussion or a debate. Great for practising and improving speaking skills.

​ Ok, now you know the importance of newspapers and how to read them, go and find an English newspaper that you like and get reading!

Here are some British Newspapers you can try.

If you would like other newspapers then I recommend doing a search online for more.

Oh, one more thing I’d like to mention… Don’t believe everything that you read in a newspaper. Remember that stories can often be ‘exaggerated’ to make them more interesting.

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