(from SoloIdiomas Language School)
Nowadays both language teachers and learners have an immense choice of learning resources and it is obvious that traditional methods usually applied during classes are being substituted by digital activities. This is an inevitable outcome considering we live in a digital era and our students are digital natives. Sometimes we teachers question ourselves about what language learners would choose : using a popular app to memorize new words or reading a well-known novel? Of course, many of them would find the former far more appealing than the latter.
We want to prove you that a book stays one of the most effective learning language tools. Our teachers from SoloIdiomas language school would like to share their tips on how to start reading in a foreign language and take the greatest advantage from it.
- First of all, it is important to take into account your language level when choosing a book. If you’re an intermediate level student, choose a modern novel which obviously would contain less archaisms and words which are no longer in use than a classic novel.
- Reading will enrich your vocabulary with many idioms and colloquial expressions used in day-to-day life and here is the most important piece of advice. Once you start reading, try to understand words and expressions, but guessing their meaning without looking them up in a dictionary. You really don’t need to translate and memorize all the unknown words you may come across. Only if you find an unknown word or phrase several times and still can't grasp the exact meaning, then it is better to find a translation and annotate it in your word list.
- A good piece of writing always leaves room for a meaningful discussion where the subject may touch human experiences mentioned in the book and plenty of philosophical questions. Never mind if you are attending language courses or talking to a native speaker, it is extremely useful to have a conversation about what you’ve read recently. Trying to tell about the plot or to describe a characters’ behaviour, analyzing how you relate to the book or pointing out why you liked or disliked it can all be great motivations to use real language. Furthermore, this kind of activity improves your analytical thinking and helps you state your opinions clearly.
- How many times you started a book in a foreign language and after having read only 20-30 pages - or even less - you put it aside and never completed it? This may depend on your bad organization, on your bad scheduling. Just a tip: Why don't you start setting yourself the goal of reading twenty minutes a day?
- Do not be afraid of misunderstanding the meaning of a word, at first, try to figure it out from what the passage is focused on. You may be sure that, after mastering some novels, you'll feel much more comfortable reading books in a foreign language.
Remember that reading books makes you a smarter person and there are plenty of novels suitable for every level. Never deny yourself the pleasure of reading a book in its original language.