4 Tips for Reading Your First 100+ Page Book in a Foreign Language

Girl lost in reading

I started reading my first book that was more than 100+ pages in a foreign language. In my case, the language I’m learning in Spanish. This certainly is a great feat for me and a logical and big step from when I first started learning Spanish, and I didn’t know much about how to use the language.

After learning 1000 of the most frequently used words in Spanish, and creating flashcards for those, as well as the main grammar points such as the past, present and future Spanish tenses, I’m now ready to read a book. It’s one of my challenges to read my first book.

Actually, I feel like I’ve been thrown in the deep end, because even though I’m in the process of reading a Spanish book, I still don’t know alot of the words that I’m reading!

Nevertheless, it is recommended that I start reading now by both Michel Thomas and Gabriel Wyner, who I both admire, and whose methods I have been using to learn Spanish on my own as a self-learner and autodidact.

Here’s some tips to help you get started with your own language learning journey as you read your first book!

1) Read something you like

I love reading books! In the English language, I read alot of books, and I’d say I read about 1 or 2 books per week. Sometimes I read the same book twice. When reading in my native language of English, I tend to read non-fiction books which are in the business, investing or personal development genres.

So, when I wanted to choose my first Spanish book to read, I thought I would read a book within those genres that I already liked. I think that it was a good idea, as I feel like when I read the book, I am learning 2 things at once! I get a 2 for 1 deal.

Firstly, I get to learn about or reinforce business/investing/personal development concepts. Secondly, I get to learn Spanish too, as I’m getting exposed to new vocabulary, grammar and phrases that I haven’t seen before.

In my case, the book I am reading is “El Cuadrante del flujo del dinero” by Robert Kiyosaki.

2) Do it & Keep going even if you don’t understand everything

When I looked at the first page of the Spanish book, I was overwhelmed. There was alot of vocabulary that I didn’t understand.

Don’t let this deter you though. Push through it.

If you find words that you see over and over again, then add those words in your anki deck or flashcard program if you want to. Some of the new vocabulary that I learned included:

  • “a menudo” which means often
  • “bienes raíces” which means real estate
  • “el flujo de dinero” which means cashflow

3) Read the book while Listening with audiobook

One very effective way to read your first 100+ page book (even if you don’t know all the vocab and grammar in the book), is to use an audiobook along with reading it. This helps you push through it. You simply let the audiobook keep playing and your job will be to follow the words on the page as the reader speaks and cites the words.

The audiobook in this case was more than 10 hours! I broke down those 10+ hours, by aiming to do abot 30 minutes of listening and reading per day.

3) Use free audiobooks and stories online

You can purchase audiobooks and books online from foreign language online book stores.

However, you can find a number of public domain classics in both audio MP3 and digital written PDF format online.

For PDF or TXT books in foreign languages, check out Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org

For MP3 audiobooks in foreign languages, check out Librivox at www.librivox.org

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