Newspaper is often regarded as one of the best practice tools for any language course, besides being the carrier of all sorts of news. As IELTS is a test of measuring the proficiency level of English language, students and candidates need some kind of an effective tool that can help them prepare for all four language skills, namely Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. This blog post shares an idea on how to use newspaper effectively for IELTS practice in a step-by-step process.
Candidates of the IELTS test and all other exams on English Language skills can use any English newspaper to do different kinds of practices for all language skills. All these practices are practically proved and, in my opinion, extremely fruitful to develop language skills as well as to build up confidence in English. Let’s have a look at the steps which will help us to use newspaper easily to practice IELTS.
Step 1: Choosing the right kind of English newspaper
It’s imperative that you choose the correct newspaper at first. It’s because without choosing the right newspaper you may run into oblivion and find no use of it.
If you are a native English speaker, nothing to suggest here from my side. You can just randomly pick up any English newspaper or tabloid. However, if you are not a native English user, I’d suggest you to choose an English newspaper from your native country. The reason behind saying so is that you need to feel comfortable in this sort of practice and a newspaper from your own country can give you this feeling. So, if you are a Chinese you can choose the People’s Daily, if you are an Indian, choose The Hindustan Times, for Spanish and Germans it can be The Local, For Sri-Lankans the Ceylon today. The list can go on and on but I think you’ve got the general idea.
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Step 2: Choosing the right kind of article
Now that you have chosen your newspaper to use for IELTS practice, you should choose some articles. Note that you need to give priority to your comfort zone again, i.e. you should articles which interest you most.
Let me give you an example. My favourite niche of news is sports and environment. Therefore, I’ll choose any report of article that relates to sports or environment. This will give me some sort of mental relaxation because I like those subjects. Have you understood? I think you’ve got it. So, choose an article that you are more curious about.
Step 3: Start practicing
And now you are ready to start practicing with the articles. Here, I’ve divided my practice-strategy in four sections:
- Writing and
Let’s have a careful look at each section.
Listening: This is how you should practice Listening from an English newspaper or magazine:
i) Look for an English language expert around you who can spare some his/her time for you.
ii) Request him/her to read out loud the article that you have chosen.
iii) Listen to him/her attentively while he/she reads the selected topic.
iv) Take notes on the way/method he/she reads a newspaper and carefully follow how he/she pronounces different types of words and sentences.
v) Then, in your spare time, you should practice just like them.
vi) If they can’t give you much time, you can request them to record their reading of an article; then you can listen to the recording and learn from it.
Reading: This is how you should practice Reading from an English newspaper or magazine:
i) Select the article. You can try to target IELTS-based articles also if those interest you, for example, environment pollution, energy resources, food safety, deforestation, child psychology, human brain function, whatever that you feel you can understand easily.
ii) Start reading slowly first. Don’t rush if you are not very fast in reading.
iii) Target the meaning but don’t target it too hard. Don’t stop if you don’t understand a word, try to read a whole paragraph and gather the overall meaning. Don’t be scared if you see the use of difficult grammar patterns.
iv) Give importance to correct pronunciation, intonation and spelling. They are very important for getting better score in IELTS.
v) Use a notebook to record any new word, its meaning, synonyms, antonyms, etc.
vi) Make a routine to read 500-1000 words everyday. Don’t feel panic; you and I waste a lot of time in our day-today life doing nothing, sitting idly. You can set a target and use some time from that lazy part of your life. Make it a ritual and you will see a major difference in your lifestyle too.
vii) Slowly increase your speed. Now you can use a timer to understand how fast you have become in reading. Say, in the beginning you could read 100 words in 6-10 minutes. After 15 days you may observe a rapid difference. It can be 200-300 words in 6-10 minutes.
viii) Though not a great idea, you can read out loud in front of an English expert sometimes. He/she can correct you when you’re making a mistake.
ix) Gradually improve yourself in timed-reading.
Writing: You should practice Writing from an English newspaper or magazine in this way:
You’ll get the best help in Writing Task 2 (essay writing) practicing from newspaper or magazine.
i) First, try to write a summary of a 500-word report or article. Steadily go forward and try to write summary of 1000-word, then 2000-word. Step forward and challenge yourself slowly.
ii) When practicing Task 2 answers, use your newly found ideas and knowledge on various subjects to write different points in an essay.
iii) Try to present examples and logics that you’ve got from newspaper articles or reports.
iv) You can also learn some new sentence structures and other grammars in your essay writing.
v) Show your writings to an English language expert who can correct your mistakes.
Speaking: You ought to do Speaking practice from an English newspaper or magazine in this way:
i) Make a group or team of English speakers of different learning levels including at least one speaker of proficient level. He/she is to work mainly as a moderator. He/she can be your friend, cousin, trainer, teacher anyone who would like to help you.
ii) Allow each of yourselves at least 1-2 minutes to deliver a short speech on the subject matter.
iii) Arrange a discussion session on a selected report or article which you can decide on together in a previous meeting.
iv) Ask among yourselves some easy questions and try to answer them based on the report or article.
v) Request the moderator to correct you when you make mistakes.
vi) You must take notes when others speak so that you can gather more ideas and pick up new words.
To sum up, these are the step-by-step ways which you can start practicing from some collected articles and reports. You can trust me when I say this; this will surely improve your skills in English and most importantly in IELTS. I personally followed this method and it helped me largely to achieve a good band score. I hope you will waste no more time and start practicing from different newspaper articles and reports. Remember to challenge yourself towards difficulty. Improvement depends on practice and hard work always pays off!
Good luck with IELTS!