As we all know very well by now, reading is a massively beneficial activity. How each of us benefits from it depends on how we approach it, what we choose to read, and what our ultimate goals are. But regardless of all that, one thing is certain: being a reader comes with a huge variety of advantages, ranging from simply being a relaxing activity to massive improvements in general knowledge and emotional intelligence development. But does reading improve vocabulary? Can we increase the number of words we understand and use in day-to-day conversations?
Here at Basmo, we are dedicated to helping you achieve the absolute best in terms of reading performance and results. We are constantly looking for and discovering new ways for your reading performance, experience, and achievements to be enriched, so we decided to explore the way reading on a regular basis can impact your vocabulary.
Here’s what we found.
Does reading improve vocabulary?
Without a doubt, reading has a beneficial effect on vocabulary. Studies have shown, time and time again, that reading books to improve vocabulary generally has a positive outcome.
While the most obvious level of improvement was generally noticed in children and teenagers who are still in school, things are not that different for adults. As a general rule, the more we read, the richer our vocabulary is going to be. Perhaps even more notably, the effects of an enriched vocabulary in adults go hand-in-hand with better conversational skills.
A good vocabulary can be a lot more important than you might think and its relevance should not be underestimated. From being able to comprehend more while reading, to taking advantage of the Matthew effect and having better conversational skills, our vocabulary can impact our lives on many levels.
A low-level vocabulary can have a negative impact on our careers, can hinder our day-to-day experiences, and can keep us from achieving success, regardless of what success actually means to us. Learning how to improve vocabulary by reading books can give us a much-needed advantage in the competitive lives we live.
How does reading improve your vocabulary?
Well, even though the process of improving your vocabulary through reading may seem somewhat self-explanatory, there is a little more to it than you might think.
Let’s start with the obvious: reading exposes us to words. The more we read, the more words we actually encounter and the chances of us learning new words increase even if we don’t actually make an active effort to learn them. The meaning of many unknown words can be deduced from context while understanding others will require us to look up their meaning in a dictionary.
On top of this, reading has a cumulative effect on vocabulary. To clarify, reading is an intense mental exercise that helps the brain in several ways. Some of them are actually keeping it in shape, helping us develop better analytical skills, better logic, and improving comprehension and memory. Since the brain goes through the equivalent of cardio training every time we open a book and start reading, it’s easy to understand how reading more gives us more intellectual power to learn. With a better-working brain and with enhanced memorization abilities, our vocabulary can more easily become enriched and improved.
How can I improve my vocabulary by reading books?
Even though enriching our vocabularies through reading usually goes smoothly enough not to require any special effort from our side, there are things we can do to speed up the process or increase its performance. Here are some of the best tips and tricks you can use to boost your vocabulary through reading with less effort and more efficiency.
1. Read more
Obviously, the best thing you can do in order to take advantage of the ways reading can improve your vocabulary is to simply read more. As I said, the more you read, the more your vocabulary will develop. Unfortunately, given how hectic and busy our lives tend to be these days, reading more is sometimes a lot easier said than done.
To actually manage to get more reading done, you will need all the help you can get. Luckily for you, help is available and actually a lot more accessible than you might think. The best way to get more reading done is to use a reading tracking app like Basmo. With Basmo, you can set clear goals for your reading and you actually get to make your own choice in terms of the type of goal you are looking to set.
2. Read actively
To put it in simple terms, reading actively is the process of reading with an actual purpose, and not just as a form of entertainment. Through active reading, you purposefully engage with the text, analyze it, make an effort to comprehend it in its entirety, and you leave no stone unturned when it comes to grasping the true meaning of the content you are reading.
This process involves paying closer attention to words and how they are used in order to tell the story or to describe the non-fiction concepts you are reading about. That will lead you towards trying to understand each word individually and when that is not possible strictly from context, you will need to look unfamiliar words up in the dictionary.
3. Read with a purpose
While reading as a form of entertainment still provides you with a bunch of benefits that also include vocabulary enhancement, adding a clear purpose to your reading sessions will definitely give you a considerable boost.
If you’re looking to improve your vocabulary, adjust your reading for this purpose. Look up unfamiliar words, make notes of the words you learn, and try using them in conversation to make them a part of your “repertoire”. As you read, actively look for words that you don’t know the meaning of.
4. Use Basmo
As simple as it may sound, enriching your vocabulary is a process that will require some dedication and quite some time. To speed up the process and get the best results, you will probably find a reading tracking app like Basmo quite useful. On top of the things I already mentioned above, namely the ways in which Basmo can help you read more, there are some other things you can benefit from if you start using it to improve your vocabulary.
You can choose to set a daily goal for the number of minutes you spend reading every day or a yearly goal for the total number of books you read within a year.
Additionally, Basmo encourages you to manage your reading the same way you do with pretty much everything else that is important in your life: through scheduling. Our app will allow you to select the exact days of the week you want your reading sessions to take place and even different times of day for each. That way you will easily be able to work around your daily routine in order to squeeze as much reading as possible into your busy schedule.
Basmo makes taking notes easier. As you can imagine, learning new words doesn’t mean much if you don’t actually remember them. To increase your chances of actually remembering the new words you’re learning and using them in the future, taking notes is a must.
With Basmo, writing down an unfamiliar word and its meaning to better remember it is easy and quick. Every time a reading session is ongoing, the note-taking feature becomes instantly available and all you have to do is simply start typing. The notes remain saved within the book you are reading and are easily customizable, which makes using them in the future very facile.
You can keep a reading journal with Basmo. If making notes while reading isn’t enough for your efforts to improve your vocabulary, you can easily start using the journaling feature. This allows you to keep track of your newly-learned words in a more complex fashion. The format enables you to write more text and keep the words you just added to your vocabulary in one place.
Use the text scanner for better performance. Basmo comes with an innovative feature that allows you to use your phone’s camera to scan the pages of the book you are reading and even extract the text. This can be a very facile way to save unfamiliar words while reading. Simply scan the page, extract the word or words you don’t know, and save them either as images you can later review and edit or as a note.
Does reading aloud improve vocabulary?
While any type of reading has a positive effect on your vocabulary, reading aloud definitely adds another layer in terms of boosting the process. There are several advantages reading out loud has for improving your vocabulary.
When you read out loud, you slow down
Your reading speed will influence to a certain extent how much you will be able to actually pay attention to individual words while reading. Reading out loud forces you to slow down, which can have a positive effect on the rate at which you discover, understand, and remember new and unfamiliar words.
Reading aloud improves memory
Hearing yourself speak has been found to have a positive effect on your memory. One study showed that people are more likely to retain more information while reading out loud compared to retention levels during silent reading. What this means for your vocabulary development process is that hearing yourself saying unfamiliar words will increase your chances of also remembering those words and their meaning.
Your attention span will improve
One thing we know for sure is that doing anything that doesn’t excite us is quite difficult. We are a lot more likely to keep doing things we find interesting than things we find boring, regardless of what is at stake. That being said, reading out loud is a much more complex process than reading silently, and we are very likely to find it easier to focus for extended periods of time. That means you will be reading for longer and you will be able to stay more focused even during extended reading sessions. It’s easy to see how this is a huge advantage if you are looking to improve your vocabulary through reading.
So, does reading improve vocabulary? It definitely does. There are numerous benefits to having healthy reading habits, and an enriched vocabulary is one of the most notable ones. Use Basmo to improve your reading experience and your habits and take full advantage of the features that will help you learn and remember more words than ever.
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