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Two reading methods to help you learn a language

Image by David Iskander through Unsplash

Let us introduce you to two different reading approaches, which will help speed up your progress when learning a new language. These reading styles are appropriate for all levels and easy to incorporate into your studying routine. 

Intensive reading

First off, there is intensive reading where you read above your current reading level and try to absorb as much of the meaning of the text as possible. 

You go through the text line by line and look up everything you don’t understand. Then, write down the meaning of the words, and reread the text until you know what is written without peeking at your notes.

This way, you’ll encounter many words of which you don’t know the meaning yet. In addition, this type of reading requires you to be more focused because you’ll need to concentrate a great deal on understanding what you are reading. 

The aim of intensive reading is to understand everything that is written. That’s why it is important to make lots of notes, read shorter passages, and avoid reading sessions longer than about 30 to 60 minutes. 

Extensive reading

Another reading style is to read as much text as possible below or at your current level. 

This is known as extensive reading and doesn’t require looking up words or taking notes as much as you would during intensive reading.  

Extensive reading is a more relaxing and enjoyable experience as it requires less mental effort. Texts are usually longer and more interesting and can be done in longer sessions since it will be easier to stay engaged.

While going through the text, you only look up something when you feel it’s necessary for understanding the story. But, as you’ll see, it is often enough to understand new words by putting them into context. 

The aim is to expose yourself to as much of the language as possible, allowing you to passively increase your vocabulary and understanding of grammar structures. 

In short, intensive reading is great for understanding grammar and building your vocabulary but should be done for brief amounts of time as it is rather energy-consuming. 

Extensive reading is effective for staying interested in reading as it’s more pleasurable but should be done for longer periods to reap enough language learning benefits. 

Which type of reading do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

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