Lesson #110: Being Focused and Intentional about Reading to Improve Ourselves


Before the global pandemic, I had very different plans for Autumn 2020. As a matter of fact, this evening, I had planned to meet my fellow students and had had a special dinner that celebrated the beginning of a new academic year. (Have you noticed the past perfect tense in those sentences?)

Being offered a place in a post-graduate programme at the University of Cambridge, I was looking forward to studying at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities, but it was not to be.

At least not this year.

Life brings challenges and changes, so there are times when we must put our cherished plans on hold and make the best with what we still have.

Which is why I am being even more intentional now to read selectively and write with more focus this year.

My objective is to be well-prepared whenever I get the chance to return to Cambridge!

📝 Do you have any plans to improve your reading, writing, and comprehension skills this year? It’s not too late to start.

Here are a few tips to help you along:

📚 Make a list of ‘to be read’ books (sometimes called a # TBR list) that you know will help you become a more thoughtful and better person overall.  They don’t have to be academic, but they must be meaningful and worthwhile.

📚 Mark your calendar with reading and writing GOALS. To enhance various skills, it is possible to aim to read a book every two weeks, for instance. Or if it’s too much, try listening to some podcasts every weekend. You have the option to make a decision!

📚 Keep a small notebook or fill an app like AnkiCards or Quizlet with words that are either new to you or that you know but tend to forget. These words can be written in English or another language (including your mother tongue)! Our vocabulary tends to be limited, but challenge that habit by discovering new words to use in your conversation or writing today.

Any change, however small, is one step in the right direction!

by J. E. Gibbons

English language tutor and researcher at 'Learn English Through Literature' (2024)