How to discuss literacy in IELTS Writing and Speaking

Today is World Book Day which celebrates a very important activity: reading. Literacy and reading may be a topic worth exploring as you may be asked to talk about these in certain themes such as education, hobbies and leisure time, child education, and so on. Here is an article that has some useful expressions that you can learn from and practise for yourself when you interpret visual data in IELTS Writing Task 1:

Children’s reading shrinking due to apps, games and YouTube

  • According to a survey, …
  • the second most popular activity behind … and well ahead of …
  • On a weekly basis, … that percentage climbs …
  • a pattern beginning to emerge (ignore ‘disturbing’)
  • Only three activities increased in percentage …
  • That was down nearly eight percentage points.
  • industry figures showing an 8% year-on-year drop in …
  • … what we’re seeing is a really significant rise in the number of occasional … in the market.
  • … it’s just not (reading) that is suffering …
  • In 2013, those respective percentages were 33% and 28%.

You can see from the text that it is not just a churning out of numbers and data. There is a continuous reference to reading habits and children from different age groups, so it is always a good idea to do this and not just see graphs/charts as just numbers and patterns. Discuss how these relate to what they actually mean.

Holiday reading
Rob Allen via Compfight

There are also some expressions that you can apply to your own writing in IELTS Task 2. Here are some:

  • Boys are seen as a tougher group to reach for reading.
  • The challenge continues to be one of attention and maintaining attention
  • … parents bear some of the responsibility for ensuring children don’t abandon reading in favour of games and social media.
  • … some of the technologies and services seen as squeezing out reading could help bring children back to books, whether physical or digital. 

In IELTS Speaking, you can put forward your opinion this way:

Examiner: How could we encourage children to read more?

If you can find a way to harness video to get kids talking about books, reviewing books, starting book clubs with video as a part of that, now would be the time to do it.

One practical way to start collecting information to prepare for your test is to do some research on the internet this way and compile useful expressions in a note book, perhaps by topic. Go over them from time to time and apply some of what you have come across into your own IELTS Writing and Speaking practice.

And of course, one of the best ways, is to start reading in English; not just to widen your knowledge but improve your language skills as well. So, grab yourself an English book or magazine, and join everyone in celebrating World Book Day!

Until next time,
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