When you learn a language, listening, speaking and writing are important, but reading can also be very helpful. There are many advantages associated with reading, including:
Learning Vocabulary In Context
You will usually encounter new words when you read. If there are too many new words for you, then the level is too high and you should read something simpler. But if there are, say, a maximum of five new words per page, you will learn this vocabulary easily. You may not even need to use a dictionary because you can guess the meaning from the rest of the text (from the context). Not only do you learn new words, but you see them being used naturally.
A Model For Writing
When you read, it gives you a good example for writing. Texts that you read show you structures and expressions that you can use when you write.
Seeing "Correctly Structured" English (I cannot stress this part enough!)
When people write, they usually use "correct" English with a proper grammatical structure. This is not always true when people speak. So, by reading you see and learn grammatical English naturally. I might suggest trying out The Catcher in the Rye.
Working At Your Own Speed
You can read as fast or as slowly as you like. You can read ten pages in 30 minutes, or take one hour to explore just one page. It doesn't matter. The choice is yours. You cannot easily do this when speaking or listening. This is one of the big advantages of reading because different people work at different speeds.
If you choose something to read that you like, it can actually be interesting and enjoyable. For example, if you like to read about football in your own language, why not read about football in English? You will get information about football and improve your English at the same time.
Try to read at the right level. Read something that you can (more or less) understand. If you need to stop every three words to look in a dictionary, it is not interesting for you and you will soon be discouraged.
Make a note of new vocabulary. If there are four or five new words on a page, write them in your vocabulary book. But you don't have to write them while you read. Instead, try to guess their meaning as you read; mark them with a pen; then come back when you have finished reading to check in a dictionary and add them to your vocabulary book.
Try to read regularly. For example, read for a short time once a day. Fifteen minutes every day is better than two hours every Sunday. Fix a time to read and keep to it. For example, you could read for fifteen minutes when you go to bed, or when you get up, or at lunchtime.
Be organized. Have everything ready:
Read what interests YOU. Choose a magazine or book about a subject that you like.
Things to Read
You can find English-language newspapers in all large cities around the world. Newspapers are interesting because they are about real life and the news. BUT they are not easy to read. Try reading newspapers if your level is intermediate or above.
Some American newspapers:
Some magazines are published weekly, some monthly. You can find English-language magazines in many large cities around the world. If you cannot find the magazine you want in your town, you may be able to order it for delivery. Many magazines have pictures which can help your understanding. You will need an intermediate level for most magazines, but a pre-intermediate level may be ok for some magazines.
There are magazines on every subject:
Books are divided mainly into:
Non-fiction (history, biography, travel, cooking etc)
Fiction (stories and novels)
Some books are easier to read than others. It often depends on the author. Agatha Christie, for example, wrote in an easier style and with simpler vocabulary than Stephen King. You can buy books in specialized English-language bookshops in large cities around the world. You may also be able to find some English-language books in libraries.
Short stories can be a good choice when learning a language because they are...short. It's like reading a whole book in a few pages. You have all the excitement of a story in a book, but you only have to read 5,000 or 10,000 words. So you can quite quickly finish the story and feel that you have achieved something. Short stories are published in magazines, in books of short stories, and on the Internet.
By "Cornflakes Packets", I mean any product you can buy that has English writing on or with it. If you buy a box of chocolates, or a new camera, why not read the description or instructions in English? There are many such examples, and they all give you an opportunity to read real English:
So if you haven't started studying yet, I hope this provided you with some ideas of where you can begin without too much trouble. Good luck!!