English Fluency For Advanced English Speaker (2015)
Chapter 7: Secrets of a Fluent English Speaker
If you’ve been struggling with soaring to the next level of the spoken English language, then you may have already been asking yourself this one question, “What are those students who are excelling in this area doing that I’m not?”
And you’re right to ask that question. That’s the only way you can diagnose what you’re doing compared to what they’re doing. Here’s a surprise. Usually it comes down to one exercise. One simple ten-minute exercise to be exact. This habit helps to thoroughly immerse these individuals in the language.
This chapter explains how you can use this incredibly powerful tool to aid you in soaring to the next level of fluency in speaking English.
Read a Book (Yes, in English!) out loud
What if you knew that there were one simple exercise that could totally transform the way you spoke the English language? That if you participated in this routine every day for as little as ten minutes, you’d be building your English speaking ability, not unlike an athlete improves his skill through daily practice?
Imagine what it would be like to speak the English language like a native without even the need to venture into any conversation with another person? If this sounds too good to be true, think again. You’re about to be introduced to a simple ten-minute daily method that will do just that.
Not only that but this simple method can help you keep up in those conversations among native speakers who ordinarily speak so fast that most students get lost and even discouraged.
Simply reading a book written in English out loud. Yes, that’s all there is to it. But there are a few criteria that go along with this exercise. The first caveat is that you have to read the words as fast as you can while retaining proper pronunciation. At first this may seem like you’re reading at a snail’s pace, but as you continue to practice you’ll find yourself getting faster and comprehending the words more quickly.
Part of the key to this is the careful and deliberate pronunciation of words. Keep in mind that pronunciation depends on you to open and move your mouth properly. When you pay attention to the movement of your mouth, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the improvement in your pronunciation.
Many individuals try this suggestion but are, quite frankly, just a bit skeptical of it. They’re not quite sure how reading a book out loud – to no one in particular, in fact could increase their skill. So why does it work?
- This exercise is doing nothing less than creating an oral atmosphere around you.
If you’re anything like the average student learning English as a second language, English is probably seldom if ever spoken in your home. This exercise, then, is an awesome way to practice speaking the language when you aren’t in touch with others who speak it, even on a rudimentary level.
Try to invest at least ten minutes daily reading out loud five days a week. In fact, why not try it for a month. At the end of the month, see if you notice any changes in your fluency.
- Reading out loud increases your opportunity for retention.
Not only does it increases your chances to retain more of what you read, you increase this opportunity by approximately 100 percent when compared to reading silently. When you read silently you use two parts of your body – your brain and your eyes. While this is good, reading out loud actually doubles the number of body parts involved in the process. This activity forces you to not only use your brain and your eyes but your ears and voice as well.
Scientists have discovered that this really does double your retention of the material. You’re not only thinking about the language and seeing it, but you’re also hearing it and saying it.
There is possibly no better way to actually immerse yourself in the English language. While you’re reading you’re actually subconsciously soaking up the thinking and speech patterns of the language. But that’s not all, you’re also enhancing your ability to remember in English as well as communicate in the language.
- You’re exercising your facial muscles.
Yes, this isn’t the most exciting result of this habit, but it is more important than you think. The sounds involved in speaking the English language are formed through the passing of the air through a certain segment of our facial organs.
As you probably already know through your studies, the sounds are then formed through the use of your lips, nose, teeth, tongue and other facial features. When you’re learning a new language, there are many new sounds you need to learn in order to speak it properly. At first it may seem that you’re totally incapable of pronouncing certain sounds.
Many individuals whose first language is Spanish have a difficulty enunciating the letter “z” in English. Spanish doesn’t contain that sound. But just for your information, native English speakers sometimes have a hard time with the “rr” sound of Spanish. This is not a natural sound for them to use. In each case, the individual needs to develop the specific muscles for proper pronunciation.
- You’ll learn how to become responsible for correcting yourself.
You’ve been studying the English language that you’re already fairly proficient in the proper enunciation of it. Don’t be surprised that as you read out loud, you’ll slowly begin to “police yourself.”
Eventually you’ll hear yourself pronounce one or more of the words incorrectly. When you first start this habit, you may slide by this. After you’re established in this habit, though, you’ll discover yourself, stopping and pronouncing it again properly. That’s exactly one of the goals of this exercise.
- Reading out loud increases your oral fluency.
There’s no way around it, reading a book or newspaper out loud must improve your fluency in English. Ideally, you’ll want to take time out of your morning to read out loud. And yes, I do mention this for a reason. This short, simple exercise loosens your speech organs, getting them accustomed to making the sounds of English.
Not only that, doing it before class jogs your memory of the sounds necessary for the language. You’ll soon discover that your fluency will be greatly enhanced on those days you take the time to do this exercise.
One of the great things about this exercise, you can choose a book that actually interests you. Choose a novel you’ve always wanted to read or one of your favorite authors. If you’re a sports fan, for example, then you could read an autobiography of your favorite athlete or merely read the sports section of the newspaper daily.
Remember, though, that you’ll gain the most from this exercise when you read actively or observantly. What do I mean by that? Be totally involved in what you’re reading. Use your mind taking note of not only the material being presented, but the structure of the sentences as well the order of the words in sentences. Ideally, you’ll transfer these observations into your daily practices. And the next thing you know you’re speaking English like you were born into it.