Learn English through story-reading
It is human nature to listen to, read and tell stories. When we were young, we begged our parents to tell stories almost every night before we went to sleep; as parents, we have become great storytellers ourselves. No matter how ridiculous the stories we make, our children listen with great interest. Subconsciously, both children and we learn our mother tongue well and perfect the ability to speak.
When listening to stories, children don't care at all about the words or grammar rules in our speech. They just pay attention to the plot development and imagine themselves to be a part of the stories. When a little older, they ask for picture books or watch cartoons on TV; when old enough to read, they might be obsessed with stories and novels. The children using alphabetic languages seem to develop their reading skills earlier than the Chinese children, as Chinese characters are the most time-consuming part of the learning or acquiring the language. Primary and secondary school students in countries such as the UK, US, France and Germany are involved in more reading and writing than Chinese students.
Based on my personal learning experience, it is necessary to read and listen to the news in English to learn new expressions and obtain useful information. But news rarely touches the heart, whereas reading and listening to stories, in addition to learning the language, can strike a chord in our hearts. Generally speaking, when emotionally engaged, a learner becomes more efficient in absorbing knowledge and information.
Most learners of English share a common wish: to be fluent in speaking English. To develop the ability to speak, the prerequisite is an abundant amount of audio-visual practice, reading, imitation, recitation and memorisation. In practical speaking, we are usually engaged in conversations rather than impassioned broadcasts or speeches. Therefore, it is recommended that learners may learn to speak gently. There is no need to be as serious and rigid as a TV anchor. If you listen to the learners around you, you will find that most of them speak English in a stiff and harsh tone. It would be better off to mimic a thrilling story than imitating the tone of an announcer reading a piece of news.
Professor Krashen, a leading linguist in the world, recommends 'free voluntary reading'. Of course, if you don't like stories, it's okay to listen to your favourite content. Anyhow, you will still improve.
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