Want to try to read a book in a foreign language? Great! Reading is a very powerful tool for learning languages. Since there are tons of words, phrases, grammar, and vocabulary… all in the same place. I’ll show you how to start flipping pages and leveling up your skills, beginning with the basics.
Last Updated: 06/15/21
How to Read a Book in a Foreign Language
Hi there! This is Cedric from MosaLingua. I hope you’re doing well! In today’s video and article, I will share my advice on how to start reading a book in a foreign language. If you aren’t totally convinced that reading is a good way to learn a foreign language, check out these 7 benefits of reading in your target language. Are you with me now? Awesome, let’s go!
Choose the right book!
First things first, you need to have the right resource in hand if you want to have any chance at learning a language through a book. Difficulty level will obviously influence the books you choose but there are other things to take into consideration as well. Here are our tips for making the right choice.
Choose what you like
Whether you like adventure stories or prefer personal development, go for whatever tickles your fancy.
If you’re a complete beginner, comics are an excellent way to get started.
Read things you’ve already read in your native language.
Knowing the basic plot ahead of time will make things easier for you. So revisit books you know and love, and discover them in another language! (If Harry Potter is your jam, you may want to bookmark this list of character names in different languages.)
Focus on nonfiction books
More often than not, reading a nonfiction book will be easier than reading a novel. So if you’re interested in a particular topic, you can kill two birds with one stone. (By the way, that’s a strange English expression. Don’t you think?) If you find it hard to assess the level of a book, you can always go for graded readers. There are books that have had their difficulty assessed or are specifically written for language learners.
Ask for recommendations from other learners
Another good idea is to ask for recommendations from other learners and language learning forums. For instance, here are some self-help books Luca loves, French children’s books the whole family will enjoy, and books about language recommended by our team.
Audiobooks are your friends
One last thing, try to find an audio version of the book if possible. This can help you a lot while reading, as you will learn the pronunciation of new expressions while working on your listening skills. Plus, you won’t stay stuck on the same paragraph for hours. You won’t have a choice but to keep going! This can be massively helpful for getting you used to not understanding 100% of what you hear. You’ll force your brain to fill in the blanks using context clues.
How to learn any language
Have you ever wondered why it seems like some people pick up languages much more easily than others?
News flash: those people aren’t any smarter than you are, and they don’t have any kind of special gift for language learning, either. It’s all because of the methods they use. Practicing with the latest and most effective techniques, along with a few expert tips, is a recipe for success.
It can work for you, too! MosaTraining combines all of these tips and techniques into one comprehensive, hands-on approach to language learning.
What if I don’t understand everything?
Relax, it’s normal! The idea is to learn as you read.
First, make sure you go slow enough. You can aim for a few pages or a short chapter per today at the beginning. Then, focus only on the words or expressions that seem the most important or recurrent. It’s important to develop a habit of guessing the general meaning first. You might get a bit exhausting at the beginning, so again, keep your reading sessions short. As you get better at it, you can challenge yourself a bit and try to read a page or a chapter without any help to see how much you can understand on your own. Then you can read it again to check all the new vocabulary.
Create your own flashcards
The best way to use our app is to create cards as you read. Again focus on important or recurrent keywords, and make a list of them that you can add to your app once you’re done with your reading sessions. Resist the temptation to stop after each word and add it right then. This will interrupt your flow and make reading, an activity that is supposed to be enjoyable, feel tedious. MosaLingua Premium (Web & Mobile) is very useful for this as it allows you to create flashcards in bulk.
Your review sessions will become almost automatic as you will be learning and reviewing words that you’ve already seen in context. Most important, you will enjoy yourself in the process and that my friend, is priceless!
Cédric’s Video Tips About Reading
Get all of Cédric’s best tips about how to read a book in a foreign language in this video, available on our YouTube channel or right here. There are subtitles in 6 languages if you need them.
If you liked Cédric’s tips, be sure to subscribe to our channel for lots more!
That’s it for today. You can also leave your question in the comment sections or simply give us a like if you enjoyed this video! See you later!