HOW TO READ A BOOKS IN ITALIAN
Do you know that 70 % of the vocabulary of literate people comes from reading in her first language? Applying the same concept to your learning routine will undoubtedly speed up your Italian Language learning process. Reading in Italian is not only the best method to learn and retain new vocabulary, but it’s an incredibly powerful method when it comes to activating your passive Italian vocabulary and grammar.
Learning something does not mean that you are ready to use it the day after. When you internalize new information, it takes a little before you can externalize it correctly. Usually an array of attempts and a few mistakes (just think about your Italian subjunctives and prepositions).
Well, that’s where reading comprehension comes in handy. When reading in Italian you visualize correct sentences. Leafing through the pages of an Italian book means being presented with endless beautiful correct sentences including subjunctives, prepositions, and connectors.
HOW TO READ BOOKS IN ITALIAN
Some students can’t read a book in Italian – and not because they don’t know their language, but because they can’t avoid stopping on each unfamiliar word to look it up.
In this post I share some actionable ideas to make the most out of your time spent reading books in Italian. These tips result from my experience as an avid language student and language coach that over the years has found immense joy in immersing herself in books in several languages for pleasure and as a learning tool.
The key to pick up the right Italian book is choosing a source that is comprehensible and interesting.
Best practices for reading in Italian (or any other foreign language)
Don’t look up every single unfamiliar word
Despite acknowledging the thirst for learning of these students I would discourage looking up in the dictionary every single word. The reason is simple, you are taking away the pleasure from reading. If your mind is receiving too many inputs to learn – it won’t work well. In the end, you will feel confused and overwhelmed by the massive new vocabulary that can result from reading in a foreign language.
Don’t read Dante
choose a book that really reflects your Italian language level. If you are a lower intermediate, swear by the Italian short stories. Or get advice from your tutor on what material to use. Make sure you pick a comprehensible reading resource. That means that ideally you should understand 90-95 % of the book. Anything below won’t function as a learning tool
How do you know what is your right level?
Read the extract of your chosen Italian book and read its extract on Amazon. If the first pages make sense to you and you don’t feel confused about it – it is your level. Don’t ever try to read a difficult Italian book just for the glory of it. You feel like running a marathon without having exercises one single day.
Make your selection of Italian books that picks your interest, otherwise you will lower your chances to stick around to that book and leave it unfinished. Here are my recommendations:
Consider reading non-fiction in Italian
Language is never the destination, but a tool. What is going to make you happy is learning Italian for a purpose: traveling, working, studying or exploring your passions in a foreign language. If there is one and only one secret to unravel the success of language learning: it is having fun while learning a foreign language. Combine your interests for the history of cooking with Italian language learning. Fill your bookshelf with Italian cooking or history books!
Read a magazine
An Italian magazine is a better choice than a book oftentimes, providing you have the appropriate level to understand it. As the content comes in the shape of articles, it will make your reading routine easier,as you won’t need to commit to a whole book.
Finding the right Italian magazines hasn’t ever been easier as you can easily buy or get them through an App.
Great Italian magazines to learn Italian
- Millionaire (innovation and startups)
- Internazionale (international affairs and world news)
- Linea Verde
Do it 5-10 minutes a day
Many think that to learn something you need to sit down, find the right light, the right focus. This is partially true if you are taking a lesson with your Italian teacher. Our schedule doesn’t allow us to be tied to live meetings. Reading one or two pages of Italian content is possible at any level, as long as you are coping with the kind of input that is just right for your level. If you are a beginner, use these short stories for A1 students and read a page a day.
✔️ A very effective strategy to boost up your Italian through reading is by reading narrowly. If you want to extend your vocabulary in a specific field you should read voraciously about that topic (or using the same authors)
Don’t you know where to get the right Italian language resources for you? Schedule a language coaching session with me.