Many students come to ASP because they want to strengthen their writing skills. They often report feeling a lack of confidence when it comes to writing and worry about their grammar. Some have received feedback from tutors and from previously marked work telling them they have a problem with grammar. Others are international students having to write in a second language. While the tutors at ASP can certainly help identify grammatical errors, and can teach students how to identify and fix them, often what is needed is regular practice. There are hundreds of websites and workbooks students can trudge through to learn about grammar, however one, often overlooked, method of improving grammar is simply to read for pleasure. What? Read for pleasure to become a better writer? Yes! In fact the National Literacy Trust found that reading for pleasure includes many academic benefits. Their report explains:
When children read for pleasure, when they get “hooked on books”, they
acquire, involuntarily and without conscious effort, nearly all of the so-called
“language skills” many people are so concerned about: they will become
adequate readers, acquire a large vocabulary, develop the ability to
understand and use complex grammatical constructions, develop a good
writing style, and become good (but not necessarily perfect) spellers.
Although free voluntary reading alone will not ensure attainment of the
highest levels of literacy, it will at least ensure an acceptable level.
You can read the whole report here: http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0000/0562/Reading_pleasure_2006.pdf
You might be thinking “but I’m not a child…it is too late for me”. Not so! By regularly interacting with the English language in written form you will get a natural feel for the flow of the language. In fact, the National Literacy Trust report argues that it is never too late to benefit from reading for pleasure.
So, get to the library and pick up a book you want to read. Not sure what to choose? Goodreads has compiled lists of readers’ favourite books organized by genre over the last six years. If that is too much to sort through, you can also google “best mystery novels 2014” for example and you’ll find many websites have complied lists of their favourites.
As you continue working towards being the best student you can be, continue brining your papers and queries to us at ASP, but also make sure to read for pleasure. It’s fun and beneficial!