Reading in another language is a great activity to acquire more vocabulary, to learn more expressions, to immerse yourself in the target language, plus, you increase your cultural knowledge. But how to boost this activity?
Reading with audio is one of the best ways I found to study a language. The only drawback is that you must be prepared to manage two media: your text and you audio file. But I assure you, nothing better than to hear a native reading while you follow the text.
The association word-pronunciation is strengthened and you begin to realize that you were pronouncing words incorrectly or that one word has more than one pronunciation. Reading and listening to a poem at the same time can be a great way to start applying this technique, since, for the most part, the poem is a short text and contains rhythm and rhymes, elements that facilitate and invite the reader to read aloud. Although a book is (almost) always longer than a poem, you can still follow the reading with a certain ease. Another benefit is that you can retrocede the audio when you want to solve a doubt about pronunciation.
I know it may sound crazy, it looks like you will not be able to concentrate on both at once, but if you try, you will see that is not like that. It’s a matter of habit; adaptation is faster than you think.
This method also works great for when you are unable to focus on a very boring book, required by the university, for example. I can’t tell how many books I’ve read in this way and for that reason: from Shakespeare to Proust, all the books that I considered boring or difficult were read exactly like that. There are some sites that you can use to undertake this task. I’ll show links in five languages: Continue reading
I’ve done a post about my favorite podcasts in Spanish, now I will speak about podcasts in French. Most of these podcasts aren’t to learn the language; these podcasts are for those who already have a good level of understanding in the language.
Johan is the creator of “Français Authentique”, he has a French course with 7 basic rules. The podcasts are free and constantly updated. Typically, podcasts are on French expressions, but, he also talks a little about his personal life and travels. Johan speaks slowly, he pronounces the words clearly and he repeats a lot the same expressions and words, a great podcast to improve your understanding of French.
In this podcast the psychologist Monica Bulnes de Lara answers and guides her listeners. The public sends her questions via Facebook or email. The most common issues are parenting and romantic relationships. Usually, she makes two half-hour episodes per week. In a single episode she discusses several listeners’ questions. Continue reading
Finally the second part of the post
Previously, I showed the most common ways to improve reading and listening at the same time. I’d rather hear natural dialogues than dialogues in language courses.
The way that is most effective for me is to extract the audio and dialogues from movies and TV shows.
Studying using resources that improve my reading and listening at the same time is my favorite way to learn. You get two skills at the same time and one helps to improve the other. Sometimes you heard a word, you know what it means, but you can’t write. And then, you look this word as you hear in context and this helps to memorize. The reverse is also common, you know a word you’re reading, you know the meaning, but never heard. When you hear it, you discover the correct pronunciation and memorize easier.
Therefore, using this method is ideal since the beginning of learning process, mainly to avoid bad pronunciation vices, which are later difficult to be corrected.
This is one of the main reasons why I like to use Assimil. However, the Assimil course don’t need to be your only resource, as well as reading you can use alternative methods.
In the first part of this post I will talk about two easy ways of finding material; in the second I will explain how I do my own material that helps me a lot. Continue reading