Reading & Writing for ESL Students
Reading and writing are critical for students of English as a foreign language. But don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what Rong Chong, a Chinese immigrant to the United States, has to say:
Finally, I am going to talk about reading and writing. They are undoubtedly the key element to learn English comfortably and effectively. In the past, I put majority of time on doing grammar exercises, but improvement is near invisible. Once I put my heart into reading and writing, I can feel my English is leaping over many steps. On the other side of the coin, let’s talk about soccer. If I just tell you how to control and shot the ball, but don’t give you any chance to practice. Do you think you can still play it well? Improving English from only doing grammar exercises is usually inferior to reading and writing practice. Only practices can help us to react to the reality. Therefore reading and writing are crucial to our English.
There’s a couple of crucial points here. First, he’s learning English naturally, organically. He understands that a language isn’t just a collection of pieces put together with a bunch of rules (grammar).
Second, as he states elsewhere, he’s challenging himself with reading materials that seem to be above his level. By challenging himself, he’s forcing himself to learning, and he’s seeing great, positive results in a variety of other contexts as well.
Another thing that Rong has done is starting to think in English. As he says, when he first came to America, he still mentally translated passages while reading and writing:
Also, when I either wrote or read, I had to use Chinese to think about the passage.
Then he started to work hard to think in English, and the results are visible on his blog: very good writing for a still-learning student of English as a second language.
All these things are integral parts of The Linguist system and method of learning. As mentioned here, speaking, writing, and reading, and systematic improvement of all of these facets of language learning, are built into The Linguist system.