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Writing task 1 - How Reading can help your Writing score

HI... Today I am going to talk about something i encourage my students to do:


In fact, I have often given my students a homework assignment in which they have to find an article and analyze it for class.

One important thing about reading is that when students read, they should always have a goal in mind. Goals could include:

learning vocabulary

understanding a topic

analyzing the text

and even: learning vocabulary and grammar for writing task 1.

Therefore, I sometimes make make my students find and analyze an article which includes a graph. So...

Today I am going to talk about 2 ways in which reading can help you improve your knowledge about writing task 1:

1) finding examples of less formal, less "IELTSy" language

2) finding examples of writing which show that IELTS writing task 1 language really DOES exist in the real world and not only in your classroom and as an exam task.



When reading how native English people write about graphs, it is interesting to see that they often use less formal language than the language which appears in IELTS text books.

For example, look at this quote from a Vietnamese newspaper:

Beer production Vietnam reached more than a billion liters in January-April, up 5.8 percent over the same period last year.

you can see the original article here:



Notice how the writer uses the word UP. You will probably not see the word UP used this way in most IELTS course books on writing task 1. However, it is natural for natives to write this way.

Therefore, we can see that reading articles from the news may provide you with vocabulary and grammar that you may not find in IELTS coursebooks.

If you can learn these sentence structures and apply them on the exam, you will impress an examiner.

Try to imagine that YOU are an IELTS examiner and you have to read 20 writing task 1 reports over a period of a couple of hours. It can get pretty boring reading the same IELTSy style language over and over again. Therefore, if you can successfully throw in one or two less common words or grammar structures, you will impress the examiner and you may get a higher mark for grammar and/or vocabulary



Another reason for reading articles which contain graphs is to see that the language you are learning for the IELTS really DOES appear in the real world, not only in your IELTS class.

Here is a good example from an article about People's News sources:

This following is taken from the article:

In 2010, 65% of people younger than 30 cited the Internet as their go-to source for news, showing a dramatic increase of 31% from 34% in 2007. On the other hand, of the same age group, the percentage considering television as their main news source has dropped from 68% to 52% during that time.

The same trend also applies across all age groups. 41% of all the 1,500 adults surveyed cited the Internet as their main source for national and international news, which is up 17% from 2007. Meanwhile, the number who cited television as their main news source has decreased from 74% to 66% between 2007 and 2010.

From Graph 1, it can be seen that the percentage of people using the Internet to source for news is nearly double the figure in 2007. Today, even though television is still considered as the main news source for those who are 30 and above, this number is experiencing a modest decrease from year to year. It is believed that the Internet will soon take over television as the main source for national and international news in the near future.

These numbers fall in line with the rise of the personalized news stream online. Both Facebook’s News Feed and Twitter launched in summer 2006 and both have seen explosive growth since 2008. Tweet counts have increased from 5,000 daily in 2007 to 90 million daily in 2010, while Facebook went from 30 million users in 2007 to more than 500 million users today.

Notice the useful language in bold. Also note that there are some good examples of complex sentences in this article. Of course, this is not the only useful language here.

Learning from reading is not an easy task. You must have strong study skills to do it. But believe me, the most successful students are always those that "take the bull by the horns", or jump into the action and develop their own self study skills.

If you are still here with me, I hope you can understand the following from my blog today:

1) Reading is very important.

2) It is equally important to read with a GOAL in mind.

3) You can learn some great vocabulary and grammar from reading articles with graphs in them.

4) This can also be applied to articles about processes, maps or tables.

5) learning to develop your self study skills is a great advantage to doing well on the IELTS and in your academic career.

If you would like personal help from me on your writing,


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