I read with interest a letter to the editor written by De Jing in the Sunday Star yesterday. He described how as a boy he was unable to understand English and was punished by the teacher to stand behind the class or outside the classroom. Then one day while he was standing outside the classroom as punishment, a girl handed him a book. He took it and started to read. I supposed the book had illustrations and texts and he got interested in the book and continued reading. He came across many words whose meaning he did not know of, but with the help of the illustrations, he could follow the story. Later, the same girl gave him other books. As he read on, more words registered in his mind. The best part was the sentence structures became so familiar with him that he could remember them and words made sense to him. His English began to improve.
The above live example shows that reading does help a student to improve in his English. I have always advocated reading as a way to master a language. My personal experience bears testimony to this fact. Besides Enid Blyton, I did read illustrated books such as School Boys series where a story was told in words and pictures. I do not know whether such types of reading materials are available for students who are weak in English.
Another aspect in mastering a language is the interest in the language. You must be interested in a particular language so that you don't feel bored studying it.
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