Reading Journal: 5 Creative Ideas to Bring Your English to Life

Reading Journal: 5 Creative Ideas to Bring Your English to Life

Time is our most precious currency.  It makes us choose, select, edit.  What stays? What goes? 

Who are we, in the end?  The way we spend our most valuable currency--our time. 

To put it bluntly, if you think you have to choose between the challenge of making English your own and your other passions--you'll have to pick one or the other. 

The way I see it, you have to choose both.

If you love books, if you can't imagine life without reading, then pick up your book in English and you've just found a way to engage two passions at once--to beat time.

The same is true for your reader's journal.  Incorporate more of what you love into what you're already doing. 

Books, English and Friends!

Books, English and Friends!

We're going to try something new this week!  You won't see a blog post from me!  The last part in the series on using a reading journal to bring your English to life will be out next week. 

This week, I'm asking you to put all of these ideas into action.

I'm asking you to try out thinking before you speak.  It's easy just:

  1. Download this week's worksheet with writing prompts.
  2. Write freely about them in your journal. 
  3. Join the discussion on Skype this Wednesday, June 21st at 6 PM UTC and see how your ideas flow when you think before you speak.

Want More Elegant English? Your Reading Journal Can Help.

Want More Elegant English? Your Reading Journal Can Help.

Sometimes we get to a place with our non-native languages and we are allowed to celebrate! 

It's not easy coming this far--being bilingual is challenging and amazing--and we are allowed to rest on our laurels sometimes! 

But even after years of living in a language, you can sometimes discover there's something more you want. 

It happens!  For example. . .

I studied French at University, taught French, I've lived here for more than 10 years.  My French is pretty darn good, thanks.

Well, except that in English, I've always thought of myself as a writer.  I've been in writer's groups and had a lot of fun.  And I miss that.  I'll be fine living and doing business in French.  But am I a writer? 

Think Before You Speak: Your Reader’s Journal in 15 Minutes a Day.

Think Before You Speak: Your Reader’s Journal in 15 Minutes a Day.
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
― Oscar Wilde

I love this quote.  It reminds me that when you take the time to read, and to think things over,  it shows up later when you are put to the test. When your English is put to the test.

How can you keep your English ready for new situations?  By giving yourself time to think before you speak.

It’s a really powerful way to change your relationship with English (or any language you want to make your own).

If you're a book lover, one of the best ways to prepare for challenges is toread in English--and keep a reader's journal.

Read Books, Transform Your English: Advice from 5 Inspiring Teachers

Read Books, Transform Your English: Advice from 5 Inspiring Teachers

You need to be yourself in English--to feel at home in the language, to make it yours.  And you know that reading books in English is an essential part of that ongoing journey.

You want your reading to help you, not just to understand more, but to actually find your voice in English.  And you want that voice to be your own, to be truly you.

That’s a pretty serious transformation. 

  • But how exactly can you use your reading habit find your voice in English?
  • What does it look like when you start making English your own?
  • What actual steps do you need to take to get there? 

For the next month, I’ll be addressing these very questions. 

And I wanted to kick off that discussion with some advice from some inspiring teachers and coaches. 

Reading in English? Ask the right questions.

Reading in English? Ask the right questions.

Whether you’re reading books, novels, short stories in English, keep this in mind.

It’s not about having all the answers.  It’s about asking all the right questions. 

Think about why you are reading in English when it’s not your first language?  Maybe it’s because

  1. Reading is part of who you are and you want to enjoy reading in English like you do in your native language

  2. You want to understand more in English and you want to learn more vocabulary

  3. You know that reading is a path to expressing yourself better in English (finding your words more easily, expressing yourself more like a native-speaker)

Asking the right questions while you read is a way to achieve your goals.

Don't Understand Your Book in English? 7 Strategies to Try Today.

Reading in English is like traveling to a strange land.  

Fantastic. . .Yes!  

Uncomfortable. . .Yes!!

There will be times when you really notice the discomfort,

  • When you don’t understand enough.
  • When you get tired after reading for just a short time.
  • When you wonder if you’ll ever be able to read in English like you do in your native language.