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A tutorial on language skills

There are four fundamental language skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

The skills go in pairs. When one reads and listens, he or she is consuming language hence these are referred to as receptive or passive skills. When one speaks or writes, he or she is producing language. This pair is thus referred to as productive or active skills.

Language skills are also intertwined in how they function: listening and speaking work simultaneously to help effective oral communication. Reading and writing are tools for achieving an effective written communication. It is the symbiotic relationship of reading and writing that has come to be known as literacy, a relationship that is foundational to EDUCATION. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write.

Reading is defined as the process of interpreting written language. Prof. A. C. Grayling says, “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” It is through reading that one is able to decipher the written word and get the denotations and connotations as one imagines and thinks out-of-the-box. Reading is also called soul and mind food.

Francis Bacon says that “Reading makes man perfecto”. Unlike watching television, reading makes the mind travel while creating picture. Whereas when watching the telly, one sees body language, and is able to tell the mood and or emotions, a reader denotes mood and emotions from the written word.

Children who are introduced to reading earlier, acquire language skills with ease, have a richer vocabulary, possess greater cognitive abilities and resultant confidence.


Textbooks, novels, short stories, letters, telegrams, articles, reports, legal documents, dictionaries, telephone directories, maps, statistical diagrams, newspapers, magazine, cartoons and comic strips, recipes books, puzzles and menus, travel catalogues, atlas etc. 


To laugh; to escape from real life; to enjoy the emotional life of others; to satisfy curiosity; to enjoy dramatic situation vicariously; to gain information about world; to enjoy people and places we have never seen before; to see how smart we are to outguess the author, solve a puzzle; to find values; for edification; for counsel.

Research has come up with many advantages of reading. Some of them are:

Reading Keeps Brain Healthy:

Just as going to the gym exercises and strengthens the body muscles, reading strengthens the brain and makes it function at its peak. It is also known to decrease mental decline for the elderly by 32% and is advantageous for those suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Avid readers experience memory improvement and gain stronger analytical skills.

Reading Reduces Stress

Our lives are stressful as day in day out we move in the jungle that is the world fighting not to be devoured by challenges. Daily, we have hurdles to clear and it leaves us finished! These challenges have in most cases resulted in a shortened life span. Reading can help reduce stress levels by 68% according to researchers.  HYPERLINK “” “_blank” Spiritual texts have been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, while  HYPERLINK “” “_blank” self-help books can assist those with mood disorders. Overall, reading is a calming mechanism and spreads a feeling of relaxation and tranquility throughout the reader. Most people

prefer to read at bedtime as it helps relax their minds and brings sleep faster. This has also been observed in children. Reading for children helps them sleep faster.

Reading Makes One Empathetic

Each book, especially novels, carries a story about characters who experience different life circumstances. A reader walks the same walk as the characters. The more you read, the more emotionally intelligent you become and can thus become a joy to converse with as avid readers aren’t uptight. Avid readers are also opinionated and always bring diverse thought to conversations.

Reading Makes One Smarter

Reading a vast scope of genres opens up one’s mind about different topics and fields, from politics to sports, economics, sciences, medicine spirituality etc. Readers gain knowledge. Non-fiction books  are great for learning about new things, but even  HYPERLINK “” “_blank” fictional books can provide you with new knowledge. For children, reading explains the world we live in by bringing up the ideas and beliefs that shape it.

Reading Expands Vocabulary

Avid readers have vocabulary banks. Every time you read; you store new words. It also helps one be able dissect word contextual meaning without always running to the dictionary. The more you read, the more words you store and understand. The receptive skill of reading is known to help sponge more words than listening.

Reading Improves Writing Skills

Applications for work and college or university nowadays should be accompanied by a rich write-up. And how you write determines whether you get taken. At work, writing is crucial as one has to write communiques and produce reports. When it comes to one’s professional life, résumés and cover letters are the foundation of getting a job. One’s writing skills can only improve if they have good command of language and that means vocabulary. Reading exposes one to different writing styles as well as language depth. One thus becomes more fluid in their writing as they develop their own writing style. Also, as one reads, their grammar, mechanics and writing organisational skills improve.

Reading Enhances Quality Time With One’s Children

For parents, reading is a perfect way to spend quality time with their children. Studies have shown that children’s motivation and achievement improve when their parents are involved in their education. Reading  HYPERLINK “” “_blank” children’s books as bedtime stories and encouraging children to learn and to read from a young age will ensure their success in the future. Also, children who read have high self-esteem and command respect amongst their peers.

Reading Offers Free Entertainment

Most importantly, reading is fun. Rather than gluing your eyes to the phone or to the telly screen, read the lines on the page of a new book. In a bus, while waiting in a queue, a good book will sure keep you company.

Helps Learners Perform Better at School

It is words that are stored in the mind that helps one understand words that are read and heard. A child that doesn’t not read will struggle to grasp information when they are taught. They will also struggle to unpack questions in tests and exams. It will even be worse when they try to construct answers. Hence, it goes without saying that every learner must read.

Educationally Speaking



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