Read to improve your vocabulary

One of the most common questions an English teacher hears is “how do I improve my vocabulary?” Well, there is no shortcut to doing this. The best advice is READ, READ, READ! If you don’t read then you will probably not notice the words that you don’t understand, especially if you are hearing enough to get by when you are listening.


Reading is the best way to increase your vocabulary.

Now I’m not saying that you need to subscribe to an aviation magazine or journal. There is plenty of material out there on the Internet which you can read for free. This is one of the reasons why we set up our Facebook page to provide you with an abundance of aviation related stories to keep you interested in the subject.

When we listen and don’t understand something, we often skip over it, especially if it hasn’t affected our general comprehension. With reading you have the opportunity to really learn. You can read at your own pace, underline words and look them up, and most importantly, write them down in a format that helps you to remember them. The important thing afterwards is to USE THE NEW WORDS. That way they are committed to your memory. Keep using them and they will be yours forever.

Don’t just read the words though. Look at the grammar and the constructions that are used. Take notice of the collocations and the prepositions. Pay attention to the articles (a/an/the) and use reading to help you improve in all of these areas. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with time, reading WILL help you to improve your vocabulary.

— Abbreviations, acronyms
— Animals, birds
— Aviation, flight
— Behaviour, activities
— Cargo, merchandise, packaging, materials
— Causes, conditions
— Geography, topographical features, nationalities
— Health, medicine
— Language, spoken communications
— Modality (obligation, probability, possibility)
— Numbers
— Perception, senses
— Problems, errors, accidents, malfunctions
— Rules, enforcement, infringement, protocol
— Space, movement, position, distance, dimension
— Technology
— Time, duration, schedules
— Transport, travel, vehicles
— Weather, climate, natural disasters

When you are selecting what to read, think about the categories mentioned in the Language Proficiency Rating Scale blog. If you know you are particularly weak in talking about one of them, find an article about that one. A word of warning though: in these days of so-called “citizen journalism” anyone can write about anything and publish it online. Try to find reliable sources and even then, don’t be surprised to find spelling or grammar mistakes!

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