Are You A Promiscuous Reader?

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Imagine this scenario:

It’s a lazy weekend afternoon. You have a sofa in a sunny window calling your name. You pick up something to read in your native language and you settle in for an hour – or two. What did you pick up to read?
Have an answer before you keep reading…

Was it a bestselling novel? A book of poetry? A book of short stories? A romance novel? A comic book series? Your tablet PC or iPad to read your favorite blogs? The newspaper? What section of the newspaper?

Now imagine this scenario:

It’s the next weekend and you again have a lazy afternoon to spend reading. What do you pick up this time? Is it the same thing?

When someone says, “I’m a voracious reader,” it generally means that the person reads a lot. People enjoy reading many different kinds of books and magazines on any number of topics: religious books, history books, romance novels, comic books, science magazines, news magazines, children’s stories, poetry, science-fiction, etc. Most people will say that they prefer a certain ‘kind’ of book or topic.
This means that a voracious reader can be reading a lot of material on one topic. For example, I can spend my time reading different non-fiction books about WWII for the next several years and not run out of material. I can read romance novels for the rest of my life and never run out of material. Or comic books, or news magazines, or the newspaper…

Being a voracious reader is great, but it may not be helping you develop your language skills if you find that you read the same type, or genre, of material all of the time. Why?

Writers for different genres use different types of language – from sentence structure, to punctuation, to vocabulary. You probably do this when you’re writing in your first language as well. An essay you write for an assignment is going to be in a different style than your private journal entry.
If you read the same genre of material all of the time (even most of the time), you’re missing out on whole chunks of your first language, from grammar to vocabulary. This makes transitioning to your second language understandably more difficult.

Great language learners read more than just what they enjoy in their first language. They read anything and everything, from romance novels, to the Bible (or Koran or Torah…), to comic books, to weekly news magazines… They’re promiscuous readers.

The question is: Are you? What are you reading these days? Is it time to pick up something new?


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