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Total votes: 59

How to use books to learn a foreign language

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Have you ever started to read a book in English, then stopped because it was too hard? Don’t worry! You’re on the right track. Books are an amazing tool for learning languages but some are easier to use than others. Here are my top tips for using books to learn English.

1. Read dual-language books
Dual-language books (or ‘parallel texts’) are the same story written in two languages. They have your native language on one page and your target language on the other, so you can quickly check what a word means.

2. Read new children’s books
Learning a language is the perfect excuse to dive back into the magical land of fairy tales and unicorns or the exciting world of spies and secret agents. Children’s books use simpler language and are fun to read. Look for books with pictures, as they help you to follow the story.

3. Read your favourite childhood book in English
Do you have a beloved childhood book in your own language? Find a copy of it in English! You know lots about the fictional world, the characters and the story already, so it is much easier to understand what is happening.

4. Read comic books or manga
Sometimes when we are reading in a foreign language, longer stories can seem impossible to finish because it feels like there are too many new words. Comic books and manga have fewer words per page, and lots of pictures so that you don’t get lost.

5. Make notes!
If you are using a book to learn English, buy a cheap copy you can write in. Don’t be afraid to write translations and thoughts in the margins, as your notes can help you to remember.

Starting to read in a foreign language does not need to be scary. With the advice above, you will be reading in English in no time at all! Remember that you can use these tips for films and television too. Try watching children’s television shows in English or turning on English subtitles when watching a film online.


Do you use books to learn English? Which types do you find are the most useful?


MyStudyCoachJonas's picture
MyStudyCoachJonas 12 February, 2018 - 22:50

Yes I read books because they are good for understanding a new language or words from a new language too.

2 users have voted.
Nina01_20's picture
Nina01_20 16 January, 2018 - 11:52

Thank you! These advices gave me inspiration to read my dusty and almost lost English books again!
By the way British Council for kids and teens is a great idea. The whole family can learn English and being interested in it in the same time. I truly like the topics and the way they're given. I do understand that I can meet such situations and participate in conversations on the topics in real life. Thanks to it's creators again!

3 users have voted.
SLMT's picture
SLMT 22 November, 2017 - 02:51

I really love reading books in English.I usually go to British Council library and American Center library in Yangon.Whenever I go there,I’ really happy .I love the smell of books and reading a book at the corner.I read the books which I can understand at my level. We can easily search the level on the books.

18 users have voted.