Reading outside the classroom

Do you remember reading your first ‘proper’ book as a child? Think about how difficult that was; how you did not understand all of the words and yet did understand the story.

Reading is for many people a real pleasure and so there is potentially a huge motivation in getting your reading level good enough to be able to read whatever novel / non-fiction title / newspaper / magazine you want to read in your target language. But how do you find things that will keep you interested, when your language level is not quite good enough to understand every single word?

Tasks to find reading materials that interest you during study abroad (lots of these ideas you can do outside your classroom at home through the internet...)
Bookshop or the libraryAsk if there are any novels that are set in your host university town. Ask if they could recommend a book of poetry for a language learner. If they do not know, find another shop! Think in advance about what sorts of literature you like – they will probably ask you.
LyricsFind the lyrics of songs that you like. Are they what you had thought you heard? Is there anything you do not understand? Ask a native speaker who shares similar musical tastes.
Arts cinemaYou might want a rest from listening to English. How about seeing an Italian/French film with English sub-titles?
Subtitles on TVSwitch on this function to check what is being said against what you read on screen – the two are often different. You might learn some synonyms! If you find a series that you like, you will get plenty of repetition of vocabulary and context, so you can concentrate on the other words that you do not know.
Out loudPractice reading out loud. You will surprise yourself with how much better you begin to sound.
NewspaperTry a few different papers and ask locals what the difference is between the papers: who buys each?