Skip to main content



Reading to gain fluency

The best way to improve your English language skills on your own is to read books, magazines, blogs, and poetry in English.

Even if you simply want to improve your ability to have a conversation in English, reading (especially out loud) is your most useful strategy.


When you read in English, you get the rhythms of the language in your head. Some languages are musical and flowing, like Italian. Others are choppy and forceful, like Mandarin Chinese.

English is somewhere in the middle: from its Old French roots, it has long, rolling, Latinate words: instigation, procreation, prevarication. From its Germanic roots, it has words that are barked: kill (as opposed to Latinate murder), spit (as opposed to expectorate).

Most English writing is roughly 50/50, Old French/Germanic, so the rhythms are constantly changing. Reading helps you learn how to shift gears easily from one kind of word flow to another.

Reading is portable and can be broken into small bites. Get in the habit of carrying…

Latest Posts

Taking a break again!

When the Frost is on the Punkin BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

Song of the Witches: “Double, double toil and trouble” BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (from Macbeth)

An Irish Airman foresees his Death BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

Everybody's English

Networking: crucial for making a place for yourself in a new culture!

The Debt by Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 - 1906

The Soul selects her own Society (303) by Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886

[Emmy Dickinson] by J. P. Swiatkowski, on the occasion of the new MLA handbook