Reading in Spanish – Leyendo en español

¡Hola! If you want to learn Spanish you’ve got to read, and read a lot. Reading lots will give you a huge amount of exposure to the language, and with that comes more vocabulary, more comprehension, more enjoyment, more confidence and, consequently, better Spanish.

But what if you pick up a book and the vocabulary in it seems overwhelming…?

Remember not to worry about trying to understand all of the details and the grammar rules that appear. Just try and get the gist or general idea of the text. As your Spanish improves, return to each passage and you will be surprised by just how much more you have learned.

Follow these 3 simple rules in order to improve your Spanish reading skills:

  1. Pick a book based on your interests.
  2. Choose a book that is not too long.
  3. Do not overestimate or underestimate your level.

Selecting books adequate for your language level is crucial. Choose books difficult enough to challenge you and easy enough to understand most of what’s being said. You can test that by having a look at a random page. Can you understand the gist of it without using a dictionary? Are there still words that you don’t know? If you answered yes to both questions, you are on the right track.

Probably the biggest mistake you can make is to try to look up the meaning of every single new word in a dictionary. This may prove so frustrating that it might discourage you from further reading. Finding the balance between learning new vocabulary and enjoying the story is key.

Reading is a vital aspect of language learning in every language. It is often the first step, along with writing, that you learn as a beginner. Confidence in reading will have a positive effect on your listening and speaking skills, so it’s a great option for learners who aren’t comfortable with speaking and listening just yet. Spanish is a particularly good language for reading, as the material available is so diverse.

Being able to read in Spanish widens your knowledge of current issues and cultural knowledge. Finally, reading is easily accessible through books, the internet and various news platforms, magazines and newspapers and lots more. No matter what your level of Spanish, there will be some reading material ideally suited to you.

In addition, keep in mind that reading in Spanish has a range of benefits such as:

  • Vocabulary building: Spanish books are brimming with words that you do not know yet, through no fault of your language learning efforts. You just have not yet been exposed to every word in the language. Reading can help to bridge that gap.
  • Self-paced learning: There is no rush when it comes to reading. You can take it at your own pace and proficiency level.
  • Grammar knowledge: The grammatical structure of Spanish sentences is difficult to master when you are starting out, especially when you just listen to the language.

Reading a novel by a Spanish writer is just one hack that can help you to improve your language skills and accelerate your Spanish learning. There are lots of other easy ways you can incorporate Spanish into your everyday life. For example, using Social Media. Follow your favorite Spanish speaking celebrities and Spanish news platforms and magazines on Twitter and Facebook.

Be patient with yourself and go have fun leyendo en español…