CT MUSING: 'Books are the best pathway to fluency in language'


CT MUSING: Books are the best pathway to fluency in language

I have just one piece of advice for anyone wanting to improve their fluency in English: read books.

By Enid Parker

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Published: Fri 18 Dec 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 21 Aug 2016, 7:03 PM

MY LOVE FOR reading began with namesake Enid Blyton, creator of enchanting characters and series like Mr Meddle, Mr Pink-Whistle, Malory Towers, The Wishing Chair and many more. It's tough to choose a favourite from among her stories, and they are impossible to outgrow.
Back in the 80s, my parents would take me and my brother to a furniture store in Dubai's Karama market that also sold second hand books. It was here that I picked up one of my first Enid Blyton novels. I remember being fascinated by the fact that it was slightly worn and had had a previous owner, whose name was inscribed in black ink inside. My brother happily proceeded to doodle our names in as well, along with a five-digit phone number that we can safely assume belonged to no one, even back then.
Because of Blyton, I believe I am less cynical today than the average adult my age; because of the magic, goodness and simple pleasures of life that exist in her tales, the world seems to be a better place to live in, even when you're not a kid anymore. And who knows, someday that Enchanted Wood and its magic Faraway Tree may turn out to be not just a figment of her imagination after all.
I also credit Blyton with instilling in me a love for the English language, which is not my native tongue. A reading habit inculcated in childhood goes a long way in developing linguistic skills for a lifetime, something I always try and communicate to friends and family members who rely on textbooks, the internet or conventional teaching methods to train their children.
Human nature dictates that when something feels too much like work, a sense of tediousness inevitably creeps in, and you can never realise your full potential in that field, whatever it may be. On the other hand if you're doing something you love, you'll do it to the best of your ability. Reading, or learning a language, should never become a chore.
I have just one piece of advice for anyone wanting to improve their fluency in English: read books. You might fall in love with them, and with the language in the process. And then, over a period of time, words will fall into place effortlessly.

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