Knowing words and how to use them is important. Your vocabulary says a lot about you. People learn new words at home, in school, at work and talking with others. Most of the time, new words are discovered through reading.
Reading books, magazines and newspapers is the best way. Publications are intended for different readers. The readers of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are, for example, usually college graduates. The content of those papers reflects their interests.
Those readers have an advantage. The quality of the information enables them to talk with other people from the same background. Education and vocabulary lead to better jobs, more income and help people deal more effectively with life. From health care, to child rearing to relationships, vocabulary and information give some people an edge.
Words do not cost money. But for readers to acquire vocabulary it helps to follow a path. First, the content of information must attract the reader. Second, the reader has to use words he knows to understand what he is reading. And third, the experience has to lead him (or her) to want to learn more.
The challenge to The Times in Plain English is to be a part of that experience. Here, we examine stories written for well-educated readers and make them readable to others. Many are educated, but new to the English language. Others do not read well because they never learned to or because they have what is called a reading disability (such as confusing the letters in a word or having poor vision).
Reading is the best way to get from where you are to where you want to go.