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

Before the global pandemic, I had had very different plans for Autumn 2020. In fact, I had thought that this very evening I would be meeting my fellow students and enjoying a special dinner with them, one that was to have celebrated the start of a new academic year. (Can you notice the past perfect tense in those sentences?)

Having been offered a place on a postgraduate programme at the University of Cambridge, I had been so excited to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the UK – 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 aim is that whenever it becomes possible to return to Cambridge, I will be well prepared!

πŸ“ Do you have any plans for how YOU can improve your reading, writing and comprehension skills this year? It is never too late to start. 

Here are a few tips to help you along:

πŸ“š 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 need to be academic, but they do need to be meaningful and worthwhile.

πŸ“š Mark your calendar with reading and writing GOALS. This can be done to improve different skills: you can aim to read a book every two weeks, for example. Or if that is too much, aim to listen to a couple of podcasts every weekend. You can decide!

πŸ“š Keep a small NOTEBOOK or fill an APP like AnkiCards with words that are either new for you or that you know but tend not to use. These can be words in English or in another language (even your own mother tongue)! We tend to get by with using only a limited vocabulary, but challenge that tendency: see what new word you can use in your conversation or writing today.

Every transformation, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction!

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by Joyce E. Gibbons

English language tutor and researcher at 'Learn English Through Literature' (2021)