Learn English reading news, it is more than beneficial, it is necessary. It’s not enough to wake up early in the morning, have a nice cup of coffee and think your English is improving without understanding the daily happenings in the most important English-Speaking countries around the world.
It takes very little time from your day to skim through a few pages on the best online news sites. At the same time that you learn English with Music, Movies, and T.V. shows, English Slang and software, you have to make sure you can relate to the important events around the world.
Why learn English reading the news?
News articles are written in what is called formal English: A standard format that allows for universal understanding of the written form and has standard expressions that come around the literary, business or marketing world, getting people used to certain terms, technicisms and manners of speech. These terms and vocabulary are so often seen in literature that a clear definition of what is formal and informal English can be easily distinguished.
The word “News” is the plural of “New”, indicating some new event, happening or ocurrence. When we want to know the news, we want the most recent and up to date information of importance: political scandals, sports events, fashion, film industry, science, etc. News give us context to link the meaning of language to real-life events that produce an immediate attention and the focus of our mind and emotions. Reading good news can also affect our brains during sad or cloudy days.
Tips to learn English reading online news:
- Join online newspapers like The Skim, who provide short summaries delivered to your mailbox, giving you in simple English, the short version of news events. If you have an advanced level of English, you might want to read the Wallstreet Journal, or watch videos on CBS Try the newspaper that seems more friendly to you not only in interface but also in the way they deliver their content. I’m particularly fond of the BBC webiste. It has a friendly interface, it is a great source for videos and has amazing and well defined news sections. The BBC also offers a section called Words in the News for British English fans. People reading the news list important words and then read a story containing these words. Many of these words can be tough, but practice will get you through. The BBC also has a great phonetics section called the Sounds of English, containing a great array of videos and downloadable material for practicing pronunciation.
Voice of America has two levels for English-learners on its news website. You can listen to English podcasts and view videos. This channel includes subtitles (captions or words at the bottom of the screen) and the commentators speak slowly and very clearly, at a third slower than a regular podcast or news video. This is a great start for learners to take things at their own rythm, and since they can pause whenever they want, it makes for great analysis of words and phrases.
High quality news for bulding precision.
There are many sites with poor writing (grammar, syntax, content, style) that we want to avoid. This is why we should stick to high quality news sites that provide clear crisp writing and a great journalistic style to go along with it. The sentences should be short and informative, making use of the simple subject-verb-object formula. USA Today has many English-learner followers because of its clear and well written English articles.
Multicultural contribution is key to the writing of credible and sound (substantial, solid) news. For this reason the Guardian’s Staff is great at delivering accurate, unbiased (impartial) and heartfelt news that blend together the sense of community and international collaboration of dedicated reporters.
Learn English reading what you truly like and enjoy.
If politics or economics isn’t your thing, you might want to look for those news that truly capture your attention. If you’re into MAA (mixed martial arts) you might take a look at sites like sherdog.com. This is a great site for combat sports updates. But be warned that many sports commentators speak so fast that their commentaries end up being difficult to understand, and adding to this the constant yelling and shouting due to their emotional interaction with the sport itself.
The Midfield Dynamo Football Site breaks their news into top 10s; this is great for receiving summaries of valuable information in an easier to understand English without the emotional contribution of live commentators. Real Clear Sports pulls lists from several sites to create easy to view categories. You can find your most interesting topics categorized by best to last and find things your not so interested in ranging from bad to worst.
Kids can also benefit from Kids news sites such as htekidsnews.com where information is a filtered source of daily news according to their level. NBC Learn is another great site for kids that helps them learn about what’s happening around the world. Kids Discover and National Geographic Kids are also available for travel buffs.
Instyle Magazine is great for stept by step how-to guides. If you like following instructions on fashion, or be told what kind of shoes to wear for your upcoming marathon, Instyle Magazine organises how-to stories by topics of interest. It has great how-to story videos and its interface is self-explanatory.
If you’re into jogging and fitness, runnersworld gives you tons of how-to stories, from picking the right shoes for your daily jogging, for casual walking, and if you’re the track sports star, the right shoes for your intensive activity. It has how-to training videos, nutrition tips and really helpful and entertaining top 10s.
Write your own news:
One of my favorite activities is to write the news of important events within my country. I can either look into my country’s newspapers and do a translation, but will always compare the style with a good English-written newspaper for clarity and declarative sentences. Have a dictionary at hand for those difficult words. I would even recommend doing a full news article with good photography included. Do something simple like going to a museum and reporting on it. Take interesting pictures for your headlines; write short articles on particulars and points of interest regarding the place or event. Try using journalistic techniques of your favorite news papers and compare your work to theirs. Pretending to be a reporter is a lot of fun, and great learning can be gained.
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