Learning to Read in a Foreign Language

Learning to Read in a Foreign Language

Learning to read in a foreign language is difficult. Like, really difficult. It requires a lot of patience and repetition to be successful. Luckily, there are a few tips we here at FactSumo can offer you so you can kickstart your journey to mastering reading in another language, without going insane in the process. Allons-y!

Start Small

We aren’t suggesting you pick up a novel and try to force your way through it. That’s just asking for a miserable time. Instead, do the sensible thing and start small. It could be a few phrases a day. A good place to find these kinds of phrases are on twitter. Next, you can graduate to simple children’s books and maybe some TV and music videos with subtitles. After a lot of practice, you can finally hit that daunting novel that’s been on your shelf for awhile. Just remember, baby steps!

Make It Fun

Remember those language classes in high school that most people hated? Yeah, don’t subject yourself to that kind of torture. Many classes like that failed to grab the attention of students because it simply wasn’t engaging and interesting. That’s why it’s vital to make your reading experience fun. Don’t read old textbooks. Find kids books, social media posts, and real-world examples to read. That way, you’re entertaining yourself while learning. Win-win.

Combine Styles

Reading is good, but what’s even better for your brain? Combining reading, speaking, and listening! If you can get your hands on the audio of a book (bonus points for a native speaker), you’ll have a better understanding of what those words are. It might even help you remember the definition of some words more easily, especially if the words aren’t using the Roman alphabet (Japanese, looking at you). Hearing the words is a great way to round out your reading experience. When you’ve finished listening to a passage, go back to the beginning and speak the words out loud. This exercise doesn’t necessarily replace a conversation partner, but it’ll help you get some vocal practice in!

Use a Dictionary

Let’s be honest: you won’t know every single word you encounter in a book when you get to that level of reading, even when you feel you’re pretty proficient in reading. There are just some words you will not have encountered, and that’s totally ok! Learning vocab is just another part of the reading process, so keep a dictionary close by so you can easily look up the words. It’s also a lot easier if that dictionary is electronic. That way, you won’t waste valuable time away from your book!


These quick tips are just the tip of the iceberg, so take them with a grain of salt. But we think they’re awesome enough to help you master learning to read in a foreign language. Want more amazing tricks to make language learning easier? Check out our blog!