In my experience, reading in Spanish is one of the best and easiest ways of improving your Spanish language learning, and my plan here is to offer you some hints and suggestions that I am sure you’ll find useful when you’re thinking about how to improve your Spanish reading skills.
When it boils down to it, there are four fundamentals to learning a new language: speaking, understanding, writing and reading, and although it’s the latter of these that we’re going to focus on here, you’ll see how reading in Spanish underpins everything else.
Start training your Spanish reading skills:
As a Spanish language student, you’ll rapidly discover that one of the best ways of strengthening your Spanish learning is through reading. You can go at your own pace, safe in the knowledge that you’re not in a race to finish first! Although you may feel a little intimidated to begin with, this will soon pass as you get into the rhythm of the book (newspaper, magazine, website or whatever has grabbed your attention). And the more you read, the easier it will become!
The Spanish language has an astonishingly diverse and rich history of world-class literature. That’s why I strongly recommend that you pick a book where the subject matter interests you. For example, if you’re a fan of magical realism, 100 Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, would be a great place to start!
Some tips to help you:
When you set out reading a text that’s not written in your native tongue, I recommend that you try not to look up every word that you’re not sure of. Only reach for the dictionary if you find yourself completely lost.
I also encourage you to read slowly, don’t rush, take your time and find yourself easing into the language in which the book was written. Remind yourself from time to time that no matter how good a translation may be, it’s not and can never be the same, as reading a book or text in its original form.
Last but not least: the golden rule! Improving your Spanish reading skills will come more naturally and far, far quicker if you avoid the dreaded temptation to constantly re-translate what you’re reading back into your own language. When you’re reading in Spanish, it’s essential that you think in Spanish too. In this sense, reading in Spanish is much the same as speaking or listening in Spanish. You’re wasting your time and energy if you’re constantly translating what you’re reading or hearing back and forth. This is a really important point to consider. When you think in Spanish, as you read in Spanish, you’re training your mind to function in a bilingual way.
And a further good tip, if you find your mind wandering, is better to read aloud rather than silently in your head. By doing so, you’ll find yourself in syncopation with the rhythm and beat of the language. Reading aloud will also help you greatly with your pronunciation and enable you to quicken the delivery of your speech in everyday situations.
Tu sum up…
Reading and writing go hand in hand. So as well as improving your Spanish reading skills, you’ll find that reading in Spanish will have the added bonus of greatly improving your written Spanish too. Another of the great benefits to is that you’ll find your vocabulary rapidly expanding and improving.
Let’s be clear about one thing. If you are studying Spanish, you can’t realistically hope or expect to learn it by exclusively reading Spanish texts and novels. However, as a supplement to your Spanish language studies, I guarantee that it will help you a lot!
Now tell me, are you reading in Spanish? Let me know!