Best Reading Tips: How Reading Classical Novels Can Improve Your English
By Claudia Jeffrey
- Is English your second language?›
- Are you looking for ways you can improve your command over the English language?
- Are you into starting with the classics?
If you answered yes to the questions we have asked above, then worry no more because you have landed in the right place. We will be discussing how reading classical novels can be of great help to people looking to improve their English.
The classics are known as the classics for a reason. They are the works of those great minds whose creative genius is unmatched to this day. Whether it is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens or Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin, or you can go all the way back to the Shakespearean era for Romeo & Juliet. There are endless novels and books to help you out for not only improving your command over the English language but introducing you to the age-old genre of writing, which gave the English language the status of being the world’s language today.
According to the statistics published on Research Gate, some of these classics have more than a 100 million read count, which is a number significant enough for any reader to realize the worth of these novels in the English literature.
So whether you are freshly stepping in a new literary class or taking up English as your second language, reading classical novels is like an introduction into a completely new world. It is a specific type of literature that was inspired by particular thoughts and events as experienced by specific people, so it demands extra attention and an open mind to comprehend the text and its noble value fully.
Tips on Reading Literature Novels to Improve Your Command on the English Language
Therefore, here we have compiled eight top tips that will guide you through as to how classics can help you improve your English language.
1. Read for comprehension
First and foremost, understand that no matter what your end objective is, read for comprehension and make it your top priority. It should be your goal regardless of what genre of literature you’re reading. To put it simply, comprehension is the ability to read any type of text and be able to understand its meaning. A reader can grasp the theme, context, and influence of the storyline or text index that a book is following. Understandably, the mind wanders off, and it easy to get distracted. The best way to counter that is to keep a bookmark with you at all times and mark what you have read every time you pause.
2. Pay attention to figurative language
Read to mark the figurative speech factors like similes, personification, and metaphors (which we will discuss separately later). Many people undermine the importance of such grammar tools in the English language, which is not right. Marking these specific would help you better in differentiating them from one another and understanding their usage and meaning. Try to figure out the author’s perspective as to why they have not directly conveyed their message and have employed these developmental devices to help them. Most of the time, many of these classics are replete with figurative devices, so keep your eyes open to find as many as you can.
3. Make notes of repetition
If you are already into reading novels, then you would be familiar with the feeling of getting déjà vu in the middle of your story slot and wondering that you might have read this already. Well, we would suggest that you pay attention to each and every detail to make a note of recurring segments. No matter how real that sense of déjà vu is, it is, believes it or not, the author’s strategy. Repetition can take hundreds of forms in characteristic or thematic ways. The idea is to keep each in mind or to make a note to remember manually.
4. Keep ongoing themes in mind
The best way to understand classic English literature is to keep ongoing themes in mind. Most of these themes have become iconic thanks to movie recreations and other play adaptations bringing them to life. Almost 600 feature films have given Shakespeare writing credit. However, other than the infamous characters, these literary themes are also a great way to grasp how the English language works. Authors like Shakespeare, Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and many others are best known for their way of describing a theme, making it almost picturesque for fueling your imagination.
5. Learn new metaphors
Now coming back to learning new metaphors through classic novels is basically learning the classic way of integrating them. A metaphor is a comparison of two completely unrelated subject matters that, if not shaped correctly, would not make sense. As per the research conducted by Research Digest, students participating in a survey showed variability when subjected to metaphors. These results clearly suggest that metaphors are a great way of bringing more imagery, depth, and color in the storyline to impact the reader’s imagination and thought process. Besides, the character or scene being subjected to be described through a metaphor gets a chance to be forever remembered as a memorable excerpt from the story.
6. Read into the author’s inspiration and influence
It is a well-known fact amongst readers and writers alike that every author’s work is somehow inspiration from a real-life scenario. The craft of writing at its core is taking inspiration from real-life events and integrating them in storytelling through how the plot is taking place, even if the novel is a work of fiction or nonfiction. Hence, a reader who is reading the novel to improve their English should always try to read the background of these great classics.
7. Highlight the literary elements
According to Science Daily research, many native English speakers are not good with English grammar. So how can you counter this and get a better grip on it while understanding classic literature better? The answer is literary elements. Literary elements like plot, setting, characters, imagery, climax, foreshadowing, and how the turn of events occur in a context are all there for you to indulge, read, highlight, and understand. They are highly essential to create a basis for any novelists who want to further clarify their point in the story, or the narrative would be bland. They act as the building blocks for the ideas of storytelling to keep the readers hooked and to connect different aspects of the stories to one another.
8. Figure out what appeals to you and discuss with others
The best way to gain expertise in any subject matter, be it classics of English literature or necessary discussion for any other, is to discuss it with a like-minded group that understands and shares your opinions. Start by figuring out which particular style of writing or author appeals to you and then join in a community that feels the same. A healthy discussion that stems from educated opinions and mutual interest is a far better tool to gain command over any new language you are learning than to indulge in it alone.
All in all, English is a powerful language. Understanding it from where it stemmed and how some great minds of their time shaped it is the right way not only to pay tribute to their services for developing this language but also to enhance your own command too.
Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as an Editorial Manager at Crowd Writer, personal statement help UK providers. She is an avid reader, and a college major in literature has had her interested in classics for a long time. Claudia spends her free time writing book reviews on her blog forum.