Some of my students have encountered difficulties in writing or giving speeches. For others, they are stunned when they are asked about a particular question. It is a challenge many people have when they are asked to speak or write about something. They end up saying, “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t know anything about this.” The answer to this is simple: read. This prevents mental block. I also had students who already may be good in the English language, yet they don’t know what to say. Some of my students may say that they lack experience. This is only partially true. One must also have some knowledge about other things. This can be solved through reading.
However, don’t limit yourself to what you already know. You may read something that you are already extremely comfortable with. That only adds to the information that you already have. Life becomes monotonous that way, but you haven’t really learned anything new to you. You shouldn’t be afraid of learning things outside of your comfort zone. Go ahead and read a book that may be a bit more challenging for you. Pick something up that is not necessarily mainstream or pop-culture. This way, you can widen your vocabulary and expand your knowledge with anything. It opens your eyes to new things; you no longer become ignorant of perspectives of people from different countries, cultures, religions, histories, lifestyles, and specialist fields. You are able to relate yourself and your knowledge to anyone you meet. You are no longer afraid of becoming speechless.
Instead, you become more confident in coming face to face with others. You even become more inquisitive towards others to verify what you have read. From this formed habit, the learning never ceases. You become excited to read articles because you enjoyed conveying it to others. A spark of interest may even come your way when someone provides you an information you haven’t heard of. Thus, you read further on the subject at hand. You might also enjoy the fact that you are suddenly the center of attention because people are listening to you talk about anything.
I grew up in a household where books are everywhere. These were no nursery rhyme books. These were high school and college textbooks of my mother and cousins. My dad subscribed me for a monthly edition of National Geographic magazines and children’s encyclopedias. I naturally learned the English language this way. I would be delighted to pick up any book that I can get my hands on. I would be so excited each month to read the latest edition of Nat Geo delivered to our door step.
There were many terminologies that I couldn’t understand from reading these books, but that was all right with me. I always kept a dictionary handy in case I encountered them. I wasn’t limited to reading them; I would talk about them to my friends, family, and teachers. This helped me in my school essays. In fact, my school would even ask me to compete in essay writing contests and speech competitions because I am knowledgeable. I may not be an expert on a certain subject, yet I was confident to talk about it in front of class. The words, phrases and sentence structures stuck in my mind. I would remember how they were written. This habit helped me become a good writer and speaker.
People come up with several excuses just so they would avoid reading. They might even say “it stings my eyes,” or “I have no time,” or “I prefer watching movies.” However, you shouldn’t be afraid of reading. It actually helps you with communicating your ideas. You learn things and then you share them. You can talk about several topics to your friends. Also, I do suggest that you should not be afraid of picking up that giant book at the corner of the bookstore. You may be quite surprised how delighted you’ll end up from reading it.
I also suggest that you join the American Institute for English Proficiency and the Philippine Book Club for their book club meetings. Book Club Meeting with AIEPRO