There are many ways to hone your Spanish language learning, and one technique you need to keep on top of is reading. While learning new vocabulary and practicing written comprehension may seem most useful to you, improving on your reading skills in Spanish will also help to improve your overall understanding of the language. Now, without further ado, let me introduce you to seven benefits of reading to improve your Spanish.
1. Make Them Interesting
There are countless books on the Internet that you can use to train your written comprehension. However - not all of these books will be suitable for you. It is essential that you look only for subjects that is to your liking or that you’re curious about. The more the topic interests you, the more learning potential that book will yield!
2. Re-read Your Books...But In Spanish
Repeating stories you’ve already read can still be enjoyable, because in your life you are not always looking at the story from the same perspective, and books always have the power to speak to us. The same happens with books you have already read in your native language and are striving to read in your target language. Since you already know the storyline, the subject will be familiar to you and it will be easier for you to learn new Spanish words with less stress of trying to figure out the plot. Think about some of your favourite books from your native language - and read them again in Spanish.
3. Share Your Opinions
If you are a person who gets hooked on a story and you want to know more about it from the perspective of other readers, invite friends to read the same book as you (whether in your target language or not) and spark a discussion about the book. By actively talking about a story you read, you can ensure that you’re understanding the Spanish you’ve taken in. If you want to debate the book in Spanish, you can even open a debate in the Notebook section on italki.
4. It’s Not Quantity, But Quality
Don’t approach reading in Spanish with a plan of reading several books per month. The goal of reading is to generate a thorough understanding of what you are reading. So don’t worry about how fast you go (or how many books you have read)! It is not about speed or quantity, but making sure you understand the content correctly. Read at your own pace, and do not compete with yourself or others to read as many Spanish books as possible.
5. Reading Step By Step
Just like when you learned to walk when you were little, focus on forming a habit of reading simple, light, and easy subjects with understandable content. Classics or internationally recognized books are not very approachable in the beginning. The sophistication of such books can make reading difficult, slow, frustrating, and ultimately discourage you from any further reading. Don’t worry about these just yet - the great literary works of Latin American writers can wait!
I recommend you start by reading children's stories. Strengthen your knowledge on vocabulary and sentence structure, then gradually increase the level of difficulty. Trust me, your brain will thank you, and your motivation to keep going will only grow.
6. Inferences And The Dictionary
It won’t be very useful for you (nor fun) if you need to look up every word when you start reading a book in Spanish. If you feel like you’re in this situation, I advise you try to understand the meaning of words as much as possible from the context. If at the end of the sentence or paragraph you find that the sentence still doesn’t make much sense, now is the time to search for the word in the dictionary. You can then build different sentences using the word yourself.
If you feel like you’re looking up every other word in the dictionary for your book, try reading something that isn’t as difficult, and come back to this story later.
7. Read And Listen
You have so many different resources to help you learn Spanish that it’s imperative to take advantage of them! Below are some additional reading materials. Not only is this list of books useful, but it can also give you insight about the Latin American culture.
- El caballero de la Armadura oxidada (Robert Fisher )
- Las 1000 y una noches
- La Cabaña (William Paul Young )
- Un grito desesperado (Carlos Cuauhtemoc Sanchez )
- Volar sobre el pantano (Carlos Cuauhtemoc Sanchez)
- ¿Quién se ha llevado mi queso? (Spencer Jonhson)
- Cuentos de los sabios de África (Amadou Hampaté BaEl)
- general en su laberinto ( Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
- Viva la diferencia ( Pilar Sordo)
There may be many more tips but the important thing is that you choose which methods fit your style and make them part of you and your language learning habits.
Don’t forget that reading opens the door to new worlds and in our case, new languages!
Hero image by p.parnxoxo on Unsplash