Magazine topic: 
Books

Reading in a Foreign Language

by : 
Rachel Lewis

If you're reading this magazine, then chances are you're a young learner of English as a Foreign Language, and are probably interested in reading too. So why not go one step further, and read novels in English? As a native English speaker who has learnt French, I have used this tactic to help improve my own language ability, and when done correctly, reading will not just help your comprehension, but your overall language use.

Why will reading in English help your writing and speaking, as well as your reading? It might sound very uncool, but one of my speaking techniques is to read aloud. By myself of course! But reading aloud means I can take as long as I like to get the correct pronunciation, intonation and meaning. I really believe it is one of the best tricks, and I will always be thankful to the friend who put me on to it. Where your writing is concerned, seeing the language in its written form is very helpful. The more you see something, the more you understand, especially as most humans are visual learners. So now, I want to help you choose your literature.

Everybody knows Harry Potter, right? So why not take a story that we all know and love, and read it in English? If you already understand the story, you'll be able to absorb the vocabulary with ease. The beauty of Harry Potter is that you can start with book 1, The Philosopher's Stone, which is short and simple, then you can progress all through the stories, up to book 7 with approximately 600 pages of complicated plot. Perhaps you're too cool for Harry Potter though.

For the girls, how about Twilight? And for the boys, what do you make of Lord of the Rings? Reading sequels provides you with ample material, and all three titles that I've suggested have been made into films. So after reading the book(s) you can watch the films in English too! In my quest for reading material in French, I stumbled across other such examples, like The Devil Wears Prada and The Kite Runner.

Using Amazon's recommended reads is also a great idea. If you run a few searches for books you already like (in English of course), Amazon will throw loads of new titles at you. This is a sneaky trick to get you to buy more from their website, but naturally, you're not obligated to. There's no law against running searches! If any of you have specific interests, feel free to comment on this blog post and I'll try to recommend books for different interests. I love to read, and would encourage young language learners to dive right into the world of foreign literature as soon as possible.

Discussion

Have you ever read any books in English?