Why Literature is an Amazing Tool for Language Learning

Faraz Saberi
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As a language teacher, I believe that reading English literature is one of the most effective ways to improve one's language level. Literature offers a unique opportunity for language learners to improve their language skills in ways they might not have been aware of. 

One of the key benefits of reading literature is of course the improvement of vocabulary. Literature often uses more complex and sophisticated language than everyday conversation, which can help language learners to expand their lexical range and improve their understanding of grammar and syntax. 

I know. 

So far, so obvious.

What many people do not realize, however, is that reading English literature can also indirectly help improve listening and speaking skills through what is called pattern recognition. When language learners read literature, they are exposed to a wide range of language patterns and conventions that are repeated over and over, page after page. Being exposed to all these different patterns conditions the mind and primes the brains for easy recognition of those same patterns in the future, thereby promoting comprehension in any language environment. 

Furthermore, literature provides a glimpse into the culture, history, and values of societies, which can help language learners to develop a deeper understanding of the language they wish to learn and the people who speak it.

If vocabulary expansion, pattern recognition, and a deeper understanding of cultural background are not enough of a reason to start reading, then we also have the development of critical thought to look forward to. Literature presents an opportunity for the development of complex ideas and themes that can be recognized, understood, and used to foster greater understanding of reality as we know it. Each book spurs our minds into action, thus making books food for thought. And that thought ultimately leads to a mind that has not only mastered a language but can also put that language to a worthwhile purpose. 

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