Top tips for reading in another language

Top tips for reading in another language

Our top tips for practising reading in another language
Reading in another language will undoubtedly improve your language skills and teach you more vocabulary. Combining reading with the speaking practice you do with your exchange partner, will improve your overall skills and confidence at a faster rate. Reading different sources in a foreign language will expose you to how the language really works – as well as teach you more about the culture. The most important things to remember when you’re practising reading in a new language are:
• Take your time – you won’t understand everything you read straight away.
• Write down any new words and phrases you find interesting – taking notes will help to keep them fresh in your memory as well as improving your writing skills at the same time.
• Ask for help – your exchange partner is there to help you learn, so don’t hesitate to ask them for advice.
• Enjoy it!
Now, you might be thinking – how can I really enjoy reading a whole book in a foreign language? Well, we understand this is quite the challenge, which is why it’s important to remember you’re not limited to long novels or classic texts. The internet offers resources which can improve the skills of language learners at all levels.
We’ve listed our 8 top tips to help get you started:

1. Read aloud

Reading in your chosen language is an extension of the speaking and listening practice you’ll do with your exchange partner. If you’re struggling to pronounce a word, sometimes reading it aloud is the best way to get to grips with it. Speaking is also likely to make you remember what you read – meaning you’ll be more likely to use new words and phrases.

2. Start writing a diary

Writing a diary and talking about your day in your target language is a great way to improve your language skills. By reading over your own writing and reflecting on your experiences in a foreign language – you’ll become a more fluent writer as well as a more confident reader.

3. Ask your language exchange partner for written feedback

To ensure you’re making enough progress throughout your language exchange process, it’s important that your partner provides you with constructive feedback. If you’re hoping to improve your reading abilities, then you could ask for written feedback rather than verbal. Your partner can point out any errors in your vocabulary and speech, whilst giving you an insight into how this type of feedback would usually be written in their language.

4. Make use of subtitles

Subtitles are an excellent way of getting used to reading in a new language. Depending on how confident you are – you could either watch a foreign movie with foreign subtitle or you could use foreign subtitles with a movie in your native language. Subtitles are especially helpful because you can understand a lot from the context and the visuals in front of you.

5. Written communication with your partner

There are many advantages of a language exchange – one of these being that it is flexible and can be fitted into your daily routine. An exchange can take place over the phone, face-to-face or through a video messaging app. If you’re becoming more confident and want to try and focus your attention on improving your reading skills – you can ask your partner to also communicate with you through written letters, emails or messages. Ideally, after a few sessions your partner will start to feel like more of a friend – which should mean you’ll enjoy reading what they have to say. If you’re stuck, we’ve listed a few ideas of what you could write to each other about:
• Describe the funniest memory you have
• Explain your favourite movie scene and what you like about it
• Talk about why you decided to learn a new language
• Describe your favourite holiday
Alternatively, you can begin to write down things your partner is saying and reread them after your conversation. Taking notes from your exchange sessions and rereading them later on is another simple yet effective way to perfect your reading.

6. Find an interesting blogger

Blogs tend to be written in an informal and chatty writing style which is what you should be aiming to learn from your language exchange. You don’t have to limit yourself to language learning blogs. There are plenty of bloggers all around the world – so it is more than likely you’ll be able to find one in your target language that is writing about something of interest to you. This could be anything from cooking, to sport, fashion, music or lifestyle. If you don’t feel like you’re ready to read and understand blogs – there is nothing wrong with using a translator tool until you become more confident. Also, remember your exchange partner is there to help you – so don’t hold back from asking them any questions about what you’ve read, or even asking them to read it to you when you next speak to them.

7. Try out some foreign cooking recipes
Learning how to cook foreign food is a way of immersing yourself into the culture and trying out something new. Following a recipe in another language is a great way of improving your reading abilities. Make sure you do your research and find a reputable website – then you can simply enjoy learning to follow instructions in your target language, and hopefully prepare a delicious meal!

8. E-books or audio books

Another helpful resource the internet can offer is the ability to have a book read to you. You can ask your exchange partner if they have any online E-books to recommend to you. If you’re struggling with your reading, you might find that listening to a book at the same time (or before) you read it, will help you to pick it up more quickly. Audio books let you hear how a word is pronounced whilst you are reading it. Your exchange partner can always let you know if you’re pronouncing a word right, but an audio book is a great way to practice when they’re not around.

If reading a physical book isn't really your thing and you prefer a more "modern" approach, there are lots of ways that you can incorporate modern technology into your language exchange journey.

Learning Languages