Reading Stories helps Develop Your use of Language

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 5th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

With my wife we have been discussing the influences that we believe empowered us to understand the English language properly and perhaps the most important of these being what we read, particularly as a part of our youth, especially as the two of us have so very different backgrounds.

My African Rose

Afroz was born in Mombasa, a resort town on the east coast of Africa, her mother tongue was Kutchi given that her parents migrated to Kenya from India, but because of living in close proximity to black people she learned Swahili, the local language, also there were migrants of Indian descent living in the area she also learned Hindi and Gujarati before going to school. On her first day at school she knew no English, but this was the beginning of an adventure in the language aided by teachers who cared about the children they taught and primarily by great tales of fiction that she encountered along the way.

In her school days she was introduced to works written by a variety of writers including Enid Blyton, Lewis Carol, Charles Dickens and having become a fan of books and how they can fire the imagination, she also read a collection of other English novels and through reading was introduced to a brand new language, which she loved and devoured, from that moment on her entire future changed and the understanding of a huge world outside her part of Kenya, indeed that would become real in her future. In Mombasa access to books was limited and here were no free public libraries from which to borrow books, yet somehow she found books to read and devour them she did.

As a child when she discovered stories like one of the Secret Seven adventure books she would read it out loud to her mother, first in English then translate them into her mother tongue because her mother professed to knowing very little English, this reading out loud undoubtedly played a part in exploring the sounds of the language and when she later emigrated to England she had little trouble in being understood by anyone she encountered.

This English Boy

My story is one of being born in the centre of one of the world's great cities, London, just a poor boy from a poor family, but a family that knew the value of knowledge and knew that through knowledge was one of the great ways to improve your life; education and reading was everything growing up with the sure and certain understanding that knowledge is the foundation by which you can change things. Part of this is adopting an inquisitive approach and being keen to seek a greater understanding about everything, not to simply accept things at their face value, but to question and seek a deeper understanding about everything you see, experience, or encounter.

This writer was introduced to Enid Blyton, Lewis Carol, AA Milne, Charles Dickens and many more authors through my youth. My great love of life has been books, on-line connectivity and knowledge and there have been a great list of writers that have been read, including the following:

  • CS Lewis
  • John Wyndham
  • HG Wells
  • George Orwell
  • Jack London
  • Agatha Christie
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C. Clarke

This list of writers include some great tales that have been enjoyed by millions over the past decades.

Love of Books

Certainly it is true that when we met my wife and I shared a love of books, but we also share a love of language and she spoke English flawlessly with few people ever knowing that she had spent the majority of her life in a foreign land. Of course love of literature and language go hand in hand, but then my lovely wife tells me of a former colleague she once worked with in England, he was born in the country but from foreign parents and while he grew up his family spoke nothing but Punjabi, he attended a school in a location where all the children only spoke Punjabi with each other and their families even-though their education was all conducted in English; this means that this individual speaks the language of his birth country with a pronounced foreign accent, whereas Afroz who was born in a foreign land has a clear neutral English accent. Why? Well we believe it all comes down to books and a lifetime of reading, the more you read the more you understand the language and the more you understand the structures used.

Love of books and making time to read, especially when you are young, is of great importance and can be so influential to learning and loving the language rather than simply using it purely as something to get by with. If someone is just getting by in a language that they have spoken all their life then they are little better of than being an ape without the ability to forms words. The decision to improve must be a personal one but remember that not every person has it in them to be a brilliant communicator or a desire to read widely. This discussion is here focused on the English language, but would apply to any other language from French or German to Punjabi or Gujarati the best communicators are those who work at their chosen language and are usually great readers.

By reading books you see in a practical way how the components of language fits together both in respect of the narration of the story, the descriptions by the writer of the scenery and the events that happen to form the specific story, which demonstrate good words to use and how to put them together in a sentence and subsequently the building of paragraphs and chapters, it also demonstrates how people talk and of course in a book if a person talks with a particular impediment, or with a specific accent, then this is explained through he words, something you rarely get with film of TV adaptations of such works. Reading helps you speak better; of this there can be no doubt.

You Can Go Anywhere...

Truth is books can take you anywhere in the known universe and beyond, but they are also the foundation for the here and now, the practical, the necessary and they reflect how people act in normal everyday life. Imagine what you can do when you have full command of the language you choose to use so much can be opened up to you; reading is a part of gaining a full command of the language you use.

Also by Peter B. Giblett...

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Afroz, Develop, Development, English, First Day At School, Inquisitive Approach, Inquisitive Mind, Knew No English, Language, Language Skills, Mombasa, My African Rose, Peter B Giblett, Reading, Reading Books, Reading Helps, Speak Better

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
5th Mar 2013 (#)

Excellent Peter. Sometimes I help foreign women learn English , and we have great fun reading children's books.
Bless you for this very interesting post

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author avatar C.D. Moore
5th Mar 2013 (#)

I remember learning to read.The magic of it. Wonderful post Peter.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
5th Mar 2013 (#)

Lovely Peter:0)

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
5th Mar 2013 (#)

Excellent Peter.
I remember hiding in a corner of our college library and reading books every day until my English lecturer found me missing from the class. He caught me and advised me to attend classes regularly and take to literature after finding a suitable and comfortable living. He was very right in his approach as I was also from the lower middle class like you. When I found my vocation in life, there was no stopping reading. One learns so much from reading, and the learning curve is never ending.

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author avatar johnbee
5th Mar 2013 (#)

Very Good Info. By reading you gain valuable info that you can use over and over. When you read and share you also teach others to learn.

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author avatar Susan Jane
5th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. There were always books in our home and we were encouraged to read them. My love of reading is one of my earliest memories. The stories I read fueled my imagination. I liked to read books that were supposedly beyond my age grasp. Can you imagine a 10 year old reading "All Quiet on the Western Front"? This was a hugely scary war story for a young girl to absorb. My voracious reading led me to a career as a professional technical writer and I later branched out into fiction writing and publishing. I often wonder if our home didn't contain books to read, would I have gone down a different path in life.

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author avatar M G Singh
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Reading books is a great pastime. Nice post that highlights the good of reading books. After all Bacon said "reading maketh a man"

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author avatar Ptrikha
6th Mar 2013 (#)

So you have an Indian connect in some way, and yes books do help a lot. I learnt a lot from Sherlock Holmes series as well as from novels like "The Eleventh Commandment","The Sky is Falling" etc.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Mar 2013 (#)

I still seek refuge in reading and then only others like TV shows. I love to read slowly great articles to understand the style of the writers, the flow and the way they seamlessly weave the story into a fascinating piece. Thanks Peter for an inspiring share - siva

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author avatar Retired
6th Mar 2013 (#)

I've always preferred reading books to almost any other form of "entertainment." Reading does more to exercise the mind (especially the imagination) than practically anything else. Well written, thanks!

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author avatar Val Mills
6th Mar 2013 (#)

Wonderful reminder that all writers should read in order to enhance their own language. Thanks for the 'introduction' to your wife as well Peter.

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author avatar Carol
8th Mar 2013 (#)

Great post, it's so important to read, it develops other skills too

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author avatar Djbrat
25th Mar 2013 (#)

Very nice. I often tell my family if I go missing, just look in the local library or a book store, that's where I'll be, lol ♥

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author avatar Markthespark
3rd Apr 2013 (#)

I remember in South Africa as a child, reading Compton's Just Williams books and Gerald Durrell. I think I finished just about every one of them in short space of time. South Africa was of course very isolated as a pariah state due to its apartheid policies at the time, but there were books available to read at municipal libraries. I soon started reading our own Nadine Gordimer and Andre Brink as I got older. However in SA we have 11 official languages, and despite now being highly appreciative of my many reading sorties at my local library growing up, I would like to learn one of our other native languages.

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author avatar The Silver Phoenix
7th Jul 2013 (#)

Excellent post. I completely agree. Reading is the captial 'A' of developing as a full fredged writer and visiting libraries and bookstores are ideal places to visit.

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author avatar Etc.
7th Aug 2014 (#)

I was fascinated by your personal story. And, of yes, I love books. My early reading list includes The Hobbit, Watership Down, The Wizard of Oz (the HUGE series), and lots of comic books.

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