It’s a well-known secret that to do well on the IELTS reading test, you need to have a strong vocabulary and be comfortable reading academic-style articles.
One website I’ve found extremely useful with many of my students is the news website, Newsela. It has news articles taken from around the internet and re-written at different reading levels.
The website is free and you can access all articles if you sign-up.
The most useful feature is that every text has about five to six different reading levels (ranging from easy to the unaltered article).
We’ll look at more specifics in later articles, but for now here are five ways for good reading practice with Newsela:
- Intensive Reading: Read the text slowly and check any words you don’t know in the dictionary. Try to understand every sentence as well as the overall meaning of the passage.
- Extensive Reading: Read several articles at a slightly lower level on whatever topic you’d like. The key here is to do reading that is easy to understand for you. This can help increase your reading speed (and your vocabulary if the text is easy enough).
- Narrow Reading: Read several texts on the same topic (or texts at different levels on Newsela). Keeping to the same topic can help you develop familiarity with the vocabulary.
- Delayed Copying: Choose a couple of paragraphs and write them word-for-word onto a piece of paper. Try to remember as many words at one time as possible. You might start with four or five words at-a-time and eventually try to copy half or even whole sentences. This practice is great for your working memory, which is very short-term memory you use when remembering questions during the test. This is extremely important to develop when you need to search for search for answers and remember the test questions at the same time.
- Summarizing: After you read the text, write a short summary of what is was about. When you do this you’re not only using the vocabulary and grammatical structures from the article that you read, but in order to write a summary you will need to read the article in detail.
The road to a high IELTS reading score is a long one, but tools like Newsela make it easier to get the practice you need.