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How to Acquire Language (Step 2) How to Acquire Language (Step 2)
Start TimerReadOasis Step 2 How do humans acquire languages? The answer is surprisingly simple. All people everywhere acquire languages in the same way. “We... How to Acquire Language (Step 2)

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tonguesHow do humans acquire languages? The answer is surprisingly simple. All people everywhere acquire languages in the same way.

“We acquire languages by understanding messages.”

This is called the “comprehension hypothesis,” and it was made by the linguist Dr. Stephen Krashen. I give this idea an easy name. I call it the ALBUM Theory. A-L-B-U-M.


The ALBUM Theory fits with how you learned your first language. And it gives a clear guide for learning any foreign language.

The best way to use the ALBUM Theory is called extensive graded reading. For simplicity, I call this “big, easy reading,” or “big reading” for short.

There are two keys to big reading. First, it must be easy. Research shows that you need to know 95%–98% of the words in a story to benefit from big reading.

Many people think it’s enough to know 70%–80% of the words in a story. But this is way too hard. At 70%, in 4 pages you’ll meet 300 unknown words. That’s not just hard. It’s impossible! So remember the 95%–98% rule.

Second, to improve a lot, you have to read a lot. This is not hard and boring study time. It’s more like vacation! Which would you rather do? Study a bunch of grammar rules and word lists, or go on vacation and enjoy many stories?

Research shows that with big reading, in half the amount of time you can improve three times as much. So big reading is not just enjoyable. It is effective, giving you good results. And it is efficient, saving you valuable time.

Even so, some people don’t know if big reading is the thing for them. They say, “Hello? I want to improve speaking, not reading!” And I say, “Exactly!” Research shows that big reading helps improve your listening, grammar, vocabulary, writing, and speaking!

The ALBUM Theory is a good guide for acquiring any foreign language. Remember: “You acquire language by understanding messages.” And big reading is a proven technique. Remember: big, easy reading is a great way to easily and enjoyably improve all your language skills. It may even be the best way in the world.

If you want to improve your English through big reading, you can choose from many easy books. You can also use, the best site on the World Wide Web for big, easy reading.

Click here to read a Step 3 version of this story.


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