Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Got an email from Ho Hai regarding IELTS reading and recommended books.

Dear Teacher,

I'm a one subscribe your blog and really appreciate for your advices. I think they don't only benefit me in particularly but for most of English learners. Thank you so much, Teacher :)

And now may I ask you some questions, Teacher?

I'm aiming to sit on the IELTS test in August 2010 with the target band 7. I have already had the list of your 10 recommended books for IELTS. What order do you think is the best for studying those? And when is the appropriate time to do the practice tests?

I think one of my weaknesses is vocabulary. I have tried to stuff as many words as good to my head, but I don't think its an efficient way since I can't remember them for a long time, and I don't know how to use them when necessary (in speaking context or writing). Could you please suggest me a good way to study new words?

Another one is summary skill in reading section. I usually cannot point out the right main idea for a passage or a paragraph I've just read, especially in IELTS where we need to skim and summary fast. Is there any way else to improve it beside reading more and more everyday, Teacher?

That's all of my questions, thank you so much for your help and looking forward to your reply :) Btw, you could publish my questions on your blog if you think they could help other learners either.

Best regards,

Ho Hai Nguyen


Dear Ho Hai,

Thanks for subscribing to my blog. It’s good to know that you’re getting a lot of help from my blog.

On vocabulary, the best way to learn is to immerse yourself in authentic materials. Read English books, watch English movies and TV shows, listen to English music. You can easily retain vocabulary if you associate pictures with it. That is how little kids learn by watching English cartoons. Learning isolated words isn’t effective. That is why it is better to learn English through context or real-life situations.

About the reading section, you should be able to distinguish a topic sentence from the supporting details. Usually, the topic sentence is found in the first three lines. To confirm the topic sentence, read the last paragraph.

The important thing in IELTS is discipline. You should practice on a regular basis. Regarding the recommended books for IELTS, for strategies and tips, read 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS. For further practice, you can use the Cambridge Series.

I hope I was able to answer your questions. I wish you good luck on your IELTS exam!




For Further Reading,
IELTS, reading



Woman Behind A Teacher's Odyssey

My name is Miracel Juanta and I write ATeachersOdyssey to help students and teachers create better English. I have been in the teaching profession for more than 10 years. My field of expertise includes ESL,IELTS,TOEFL,Business English etc. If you have questions about English, feel free to email me at or add my twitter @msjuanta.