What will benefit us more?
Reading increases our knowledge. I wish to learn what is more good for over all improvement? Should one go for fiction or non fictions? What is best for improving our language skill?
I think its reading good writers that matters if you are concerned about improving your language. And for other kinds of improvement or personality improvement, the books related to that will help.
Like if you like to improve your negotiation skills than read books related to negotiation.
You've said it yourself; 'reading increases our knowledge'. That's the crux of the matter. Read what you enjoy. The newspaper is a good source of general language and conversation (but beware of spelling/grammatical errors occasionally!) and non-fiction on a topic in which you're interested, so that you will know what sort of vocabulary to expect.
Reading well-established fiction writers' work will give you the best in grammar and writing structure. It depends on your level as to which you choose but I would suggest modern fiction rather than classic titles which may have language and vocabulary now out of date.
Both spoken and written language skills can be improved by reading, reading, reading! At the same time, your reading skill will improve too, in speed and in understanding.
Having said that, I would suggest you pick out some of the top writers here on hubpages and read their hubs; pick subjects that interest you and look at the style, the vocabulary and the way they structure each sentence, each paragraph. I suggest writers such as JKenny, billybuc, phtech, chef-de-jour, JudiBee.... that's just off the top of my head as there are so many. However, if you look at the top successes you will find plenty from which to choose. Good luck!
To increase knowledge, try college textbooks on topics that interest you. Honestly, I consider non fiction better in studying history. However, self help books are healthy for most people. It all depends on what you want to learn. For improving language, talking to friends are best but reading articles and newspapers are a good idea.
Sunnikunnoth, It actually depends on what language skill (written or spoken) that you're talking about and the age of the student. For little ones, of course, total immersion in the spoken target language is key.
For accent reduction in SPEECH of older learners, total immersion in listening to the target language is also important. In a language like English where one letter does not necessarily represent the same sound all the time, reading can actually make spoken language sound stilted. The word, "often," for example as you probably know, is actually pronounced "offen" in the US. "Did you eat yet?" actually sounds like djeet yet? We don't pronounce the "h" in question words like "When," "Where," and "Why". So reading of English doesn't always help with spoken English if you're wanting to sound like a native speaker. Of course spoken language is dynamic and constantly changing and you have young people and even celebrities uttering the HORRIBLE sentence, "Me and him went out last night." UGH! The speech of newscasters like Diane Sawyer and Brian Williams are more acceptable styles of standard spoken English.
Often my students will watch captioned TV, write down vocabulary,etc. that they don't understand and we discuss it.
To improve writing skills, I think it really doesn't matter. Both fiction and non-fiction will be equally good role models. However, dialog in fiction will provide more idiomatic, slang and colloquial speech and conversational styles.
Non-fiction writing, such as essays and edited articles written by professionals will provide proper written English as well as proper use of semi-colons, commas for introductory phrases, compound sentences, etc.
The most difficult part of written language for students I have tutored from other countries is subject-verb agreement and other syntactical features like comparative and superlative cases of adjectives. It's easy to tell from writing whether a student is emerging in written language in English or has mastered it. (I would imagine the same is true for other languages).
There are numerous ESL "salon" and websites with free online exercises in subject-verb agreement, adjectives, etc. etc. etc.. I have a few on my website, but there are hundreds of activities created with Half-Baked software (Hot Potatoes) that was developed out of the University of Victoria. If you google them, you can get to some of the grammar practices. Oh, and I've seen great ESL articles here on HP. Best Wishes
I'm a firm believer in reading widely, from the text on the cereal box to newspapers to fiction of various sorts to the occasional textbook or biography. What I have NOT found is that one type of reading material really shines over any other.
For example, the nonfiction Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, read when I was 19, taught me a lot--but so did Dan Brown's recent fiction release, Inferno.
You just never know (or at least I just never know) where the gems are going to be found.
I'm currently reading The Postman, by David Brin, upon which the Kevin Costner movie by that name was based. The book's been around a while, but it's a good one. It's teaching me some things, too--especially about the author.
Doesn't matter what you choose from fiction or non fiction.What matters are the words and phrases being used do they improve your language skills.
Hi. Read what ever you want to read. The more you read the more knowledge you will receive. Read about history, I love history and I found an old history book dating to the early 1800's that is more comprehensive than the ones that are out now. lol. Geography, Science, fiction and non-fiction. I prefer the non-fiction type books as you learn more from them. Read autobiographies or biographies of people. I like learning about different cultures and have read several different bibles to include the Quaran as I like to compare what they have to say. I'm with you learning gives you knowledge and I even wrote a hub about it. We should learn something new everyday, if we don't we are doing something wrong. Cheers.
Language skills are improved from daily conversations, and reading as much as you can, the simple books and daily communication with people, be in contact to improve these skills.
To me fiction can stimulate creativity so would have to say fiction.
I intend to describe here my opinion in respect of reading the books. I think, we should concentrate the soul of the narration what we read irrespective of the fact whether it is beneficial to particularly us but compulsorily be beneficial to the all living being. It may be related to other aspects of life, things and way of living etc. We should always effort to extract the unique findings in reading the books and it should be kept in our mind forever.
It all depends on what you want to use your language skills for. If you want to advance your career, it's best to read more non-fiction, so that you can write better reports, or talk more intelligently on related matters. And not just any non-fiction... it's preferable to read non-fiction in your line of work because every field has its own jargons. However, if you want to write creative works, then reading fiction is better, otherwise your short stories or novels will end up, sounding like a management report.
Yet, having said that, it is best to read widely, if only to give yourself better perspective. If I were to hazard a guess, it would be 60% on what you want to use your language skills for, 20% on unrelated fiction and 20% on unrelated non-fiction. But, of course, there are no hard and fast rule.
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