Read, read and read some more. This is my advice when anyone asks me how to improve their reading, writing and verbal skills, in whichever language they choose to become proficient.
The replies to this advice usually start a hefty argument and I fail to understand the logic of those who do not get it. When you are constantly reading, your vocabulary has to grow and with it your understanding of the topics you pursue in your reading. With the growth of your vocabulary and understanding, you equip yourself with the tools you need to enhance your language skills and this can only result in better writing and...pretty soon you will find that you are able to better express yourself.
Yes, it's a process and yes, it takes time. But, if you take the time and make the effort, the rewards are well worth it.
Being an English second language 'practitioner' (I speak, read and write it) the satisfaction and pride I feel, when those I am conversing with are surprised that English is not my home language, far exceeds the time and effort it has taken me to get here.
What stands out in my mind was my need to know and every time a grown-up told me "no more questions" or "time for you to learn to read" I wanted, no needed to do just that, so that I could find the answers for myself. And so my need to read increased, until it became almost an obsession.
I would hide comics, leaflets, picture books with words and oh, anything I felt would provide me the 'answers' to my questions. And these I would read, under the blankets or even the bed, by flashlight - almost giving my mom a heart attack when she investigated the origins of the strange sounds I made turning pages as I learnt to read.
Now, I started school at age five, and I firmly believe that had it not been for my 'obsession' with reading and my never ending quest for information, I would have been at a severe disadvantage. It is almost a half a century later and at times, I find my impatience at the disruption of having to still sleep, eat and go to the bathroom, both hilarious and quite depressing.
Disruption...? Yes, it detracts from my ability to focus while...reading of course!
And then there's blogging.
The ultimate in reading, I think...because you also get to comment on what you read, feel, think! It makes the process better, for me at least. Not sure how other bloggers feel about this. Busy. Reading. Writing. Oh yeah, then there's still interaction with other humans, socialising (does going to the shop for bread and milk qualify?) and of course daily chores. So many disruptions!
Ok, so it can get a bit out of hand, considering what all bloggers know - it does not pay (not good money, not till you're famous anyway) and it can really isolate and hermitise you...if you let it.
The answer is balance and of course, time management and oh yes, it helps...to be busy with work that takes you out of the house to places where using a phone or a laptop are not appropriate or practical...just till you can get back to reading, writing - the good stuff!
The Good Stuff