How to Acquire Language (Step 3)
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ReadOasis Step 3
How do humans acquire languages? The answer is remarkably 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 famous by the distinguished 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 acquired your first language. And it gives a clear model, guide, and pattern for acquiring any foreign language.
The best strategy for using the ALBUM Theory is called extensive graded reading. For simplicity, I call this “big, easy reading,” or “big reading” for short.
There are two vital points about 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 sufficient to know 70%–80% of the words in a story. But this is way too demanding. 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 progress a lot, you have to read a lot. This is not hard and dull 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 engaging. 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 superb way to easily and engagingly improve every area of your linguistic competence. 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 ReadOasis.com, the best site on the World Wide Web for big, easy reading.
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