woman reading beside lake to build vocabulary

How to Build Vocabulary Through Reading

Books expose people to 50 percent more words than videos.

More than that, we’ve previously said that books keep your brain more engaged than videos.

With an average of 2.2 million books published worldwide each year, if you are not actively reading to improve your vocabulary, then you are wasting a huge amount of resources.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to get the best value from reading, vocabulary-wise.


Why Books Over Films?

girl improving vocabulary through netflix instead of reading
Image credit: Yousafbhutta from Pixabay


When you read, you use your brain in a very active way.

You have to:

  • Imagine the described scene in your head
  • Think clearly to understand the writer’s point
  • Agree or disagree with the writer
  • Closely observe the expressions the writer is using

All this allows you to be far more engaged than you would ever be if you were watching a film.


How to Improve Your English Vocabulary Through Reading

little kid reading
Image credit: ksenya kkurhcukova from Pixabay 


Read What You Love


We’ve all got our personal interests. What’s yours?

If you read about what you love, you’ll be spurred to read further and learn more.

Do you love fashion? There’s lots of exciting material on fashion. Pick one up and dive in.

Do you love football? Romance? Or global politics? There’s lots of stories, articles and books on these, both on the Internet and offline.

girl reading to improve vocabulary
Image credit: Jess Foami from Pixabay


Read at the Right Level


If the material is too difficult for you, you’ll probably get frustrated and give up. Taking it easy, on the other hand, can be rewarding in the long run.

So ensure that whenever you can, you read something that you’ll more or less understand.

As a rule, if there are more than ten new words on a page, it’s probably a no-no for you.


Read Regularly


A short time once a day, say fifteen minutes, is probably better than two hours every Saturday.

Consistency is key, it’s always said.

That’s what helps you improve in anything, and it’ll work the same way for your vocabulary. So, feel free to substitute length for regularity. It pays.


Things to Read to Improve Your Vocabulary




With the world practically relocating to the Internet, news sites have gained popularity. They are easy to access from your home, office or favourite pub. Just make sure that what you’re reading is at the right level for you as we mentioned earlier.

Here are some news sites you could read:

The Guardian

The Telegraph

The Times

The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal

The good thing about most of these news sites is that they also feature a lot of interesting articles other than mainstream news. Just check out this great post about Africa, homophobia and colonialism for instance.



Other than news sites, you can also try out magazines. There are mags on nearly every subject imaginable:

  • Sport
  • Music
  • Cars
  • Romance etc.

These days it is easy to order magazines from your phone and have them delivered to you if you can’t find any at, or can’t go to, a local store.




Of course.

Some books are so engaging that you could literally shed tears when you get to the last full stop. Thankfully, there’s Quora forums to keep us engaged on the topic when we’ve run out of material to read on our favourite book or franchise.

That said, you could read novels on any genre of your choosing:




Fantasy etc.

Also, reading funny short stories is a good way to read and improve your vocabulary while having a laugh.

Good luck with your reading.

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