HOW TO READ BOOKS IN ITALIAN
Do you know that 70 % of literate people’s vocabulary comes from reading in their first language? That’s why applying the same concept to your Italian study plan will undoubtedly speed up your 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 new does not mean being able to use it the day after. New information takes a while to sink. You will surely make an array of attempts and a few mistakes (think about your Italian subjunctives and prepositions) before you start externalizing the correct information properly.
Well, that’s where reading comprehension comes in handy. When reading in Italian, you visualize and consciously absorb correct sentences. Leafing through the pages of an Italian novel means being presented with endless beautiful correct sentences, including subjunctives, prepositions, and connectors.
HOW TO READ BOOKS IN ITALIAN
In this post, I share some actionable ideas to make the most out of your time spent reading Italian books. These tips result from my experience as an avid language learner and language coach that, over the years, has found immense joy in immersing herself in books in several languages.
Don’t look up every single unfamiliar word
Some students won’t ever manage to read a book in Italian – and not because they don’t know enough, but because they can’t avoid stopping on each unfamiliar word to look it up.
Despite acknowledging the thirst for learning of these students, I would discourage looking up the dictionary every 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 overwhelming new vocabulary that can result from reading in a foreign language.
Don’t read Dante
Choose a book that reflects your Italian language level. If you are a lower intermediate, swear by the Italian short stories. Or get advice from your Italian teacher 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 your right level is?
Read the extract of your chosen book. If the first pages make sense to you, you know you won’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 will feel like running a marathon without having exercised one single day.
Also, chose Italian readings that pick your interest; otherwise, you will lower your chances of hanging around to that book and leaving it unfinished.
✔️ 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)
Consider reading non-fiction in Italian
Language is never the destination but a tool. What will 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, this is having fun while learning a foreign language. Combine your interests in the history of cooking with Italian language learning. Fill your bookshelf with Italian cooking or history books.
Read an Italian magazine
An Italian magazine is a better choice than a book often, providing you have the appropriate level to understand it. As the content comes in the shape of articles, it will make your Italian 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 this app.
Great Italian magazines to learn Italian
- Millionaire (innovation and business)
- Internazionale (international affairs and world news)
- Linea Verde
Do it for 5-10 minutes a day
Many think that you need to sit down, find the right light, and the right focus to learn something. Very true for an Italian lesson with your teacher. Not so true, otherwise. Reading one or two pages of Italian content is possible at any level, anytime, as long as you are dealing with the kind of input (your level, your interests). If you are a beginner, use these short stories for A1 students and read one page a day. If you are an intermediate Italian learner, you could read two pages a day, etc.
Learning in small bites is the most productive way to learn.
- Top Italian short stories for beginners
- Top Italian short stories for advanced beginners and intermediate students