How to use books to learn a foreign language
Have you ever started to read a book in English, then stopped because it was too hard? Don’t worry! You’re on the right track. Books are an amazing tool for learning languages but some are easier to use than others. Here are my top tips for using books to learn English.
1. Read dual-language books
Dual-language books (or ‘parallel texts’) are the same story written in two languages. They have your native language on one page and your target language on the other, so you can quickly check what a word means.
2. Read new children’s books
Learning a language is the perfect excuse to dive back into the magical land of fairy tales and unicorns or the exciting world of spies and secret agents. Children’s books use simpler language and are fun to read. Look for books with pictures, as they help you to follow the story.
3. Read your favourite childhood book in English
Do you have a beloved childhood book in your own language? Find a copy of it in English! You know lots about the fictional world, the characters and the story already, so it is much easier to understand what is happening.
4. Read comic books or manga
Sometimes when we are reading in a foreign language, longer stories can seem impossible to finish because it feels like there are too many new words. Comic books and manga have fewer words per page, and lots of pictures so that you don’t get lost.
5. Make notes!
If you are using a book to learn English, buy a cheap copy you can write in. Don’t be afraid to write translations and thoughts in the margins, as your notes can help you to remember.
Starting to read in a foreign language does not need to be scary. With the advice above, you will be reading in English in no time at all! Remember that you can use these tips for films and television too. Try watching children’s television shows in English or turning on English subtitles when watching a film online.