One of the best ways to improve your English is through reading. Students, in general, do not read enough in English. I can sympathise with this; it is very difficult to really appreciate literature in another language, even if you have a very high level. What’s more, many people just don’t like reading….


I believe in being realistic. If you hate reading classics, don’t go and buy a complicated novel and force yourself to suffer, page by page, until you finish it. You will end up spending more time bent over a dictionary and wondering when you will ever have the level to enjoy literature in another language. The chances are that if you don’t appreciate, say, period dramas in your own language then you probably won’t enjoy them in another one either. So go for what you like: Crime series? Magazines? Comic books? It doesn’t matter. All reading is good reading. Or why not re-read something you know well in your own language? If you love Harry Potter in Spanish, read it again in English. That way you already know the story and won’t find it such a struggle. If you don’t really enjoy reading full stop, then check out the news pages on the BBC. It only takes a few minutes to read through the headlines and an article of interest every day. You can pick up useful vocabulary from specific topics and the writing is usually of a good quality.


However, if you do like books then there are endless sources of English language publications around Madrid. I thoroughly recommend the Feria de Libros which begins on May 30th. Have a browse around some of the stalls and you will find all kinds of language resources at every level. If you have a low level of English, don’t worry- I began learning basic sentence structures and useful vocabulary in Spanish from reading children’s books. And the colourful pictures help too! Check out the official web site for more information:


Finally, I think that repetition is the most important thing. If you have a book, read a chapter a day to avoid losing concentration and ganas. If it’s the news, just read a story you are particularly interested in and make notes on any vocabulary or expressions you like. It should be an enjoyable way to learn, not a chore. Happy reading!

The joy of reading
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