Take a journey by reading a book

door Regina Coeli

When you were in school, you probably frequently heard that reading books was good for your language development. No matter how much education has changed, schools still really promote reading, so an idea that has survived all these years must have some merit to it, you might say. In fact, reading books helps you develop your language skills even when you learn a foreign language as an adult.

By reading a book in a foreign language, you not only develop your vocabulary but also get a feel for sentence structure, the rhythm of the language and how grammar is used. Reading dialogues helps you get familiar with different speaking styles. And because you see the words in front of you, you’re also better able to remember them.

So, pick up a book again. Prove to yourself that—despite all the distractions that lurk—you can muster up enough concentration to read a whole book. And in another language, no less!

What kind of book is for you?

The first question you should ask yourself is what kind of book would be most suitable for you. It depends on your skill level and your interests. It might be a bit over the top to immediately read La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri in Italian or À la recherche du temps perdu by Proust in French, but how about one of these?

Children’s books
Read the imaginative Geronimo Stilton stories in the original language, Italian, for example. Harry Potter books are also easy to follow in other languages if you have a bit of knowledge of the language.

Tin Tin and Asterix & Obelix are well-known French comics. The pictures will help you to understand the text. Moreover, the Dutch version of Donald Duck uses a surprisingly wide vocabulary.

Young adult books
The Twilight series has been translated into many languages, but other popular books are also available in translated versions. The advantage is that the books are often written in everyday language.

Easy reading books
Popular books rewritten in a simple style. See for example easyreaders.eu.

Adult literature (advanced)
A huge range of books is available. Choose one from a genre that appeals to you, and, in the beginning, choose books that you’ve already read in your own language so that you’re already familiar with the story.

How do you read a book in another language?

Once you start a book, you naturally want to finish it. Here are three tips to make it easier to power through a book without giving up before you’ve finished.

Reading tip 1:
Don’t go looking up every word you don’t know. Try to guess the meaning of a word from the context. If you still can’t figure it out, underline the word and read on. Look it up later. That way, you can keep reading and get into the story.

Reading tip 2:
Take notes on new words, clever sentence structures and beautiful passages. Steal a moment now and then to grab your notebook and reread your notes.

Reading tip 3:
Read your book while listening to the audiobook.

We wish you lots of reading pleasure!

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