How to Learn a Foreign Language with Speed Reading
read a foreign language

How to Learn a Foreign Language with Speed Reading

read a foreign language


Looking to learn a new language? Rather than spending time creating a bunch of flashcards, pick up a book! Reading is the best way to grab hold of vocabulary, grammar, context, and pronunciation. It worked well when you were learning how to speak your native tongue, and it is no different when learning someone else’s. The problem many people find with reading a foreign language is that they do so very slowly. It is common to read word-by-word to ensure that you know what it is that you are reading. The problem is that doing so in this way hurts comprehension and productivity.

Increase your comprehension skills and the speed at which you read a foreign language with these following strategies.

Read the same book in both languages

Reading your favorite book in a foreign language can increase the rate at which you read. You already know the story, which gives you an advantage. If you don’t quite understand a word or a whole sentence, but you know the scene, you can work through it. Underline the words you don’t know. After you’ve completed reading the page or chapter, review the words you didn’t know by looking them up in the dictionary. Online dictionaries, like WordReference, are readily available to help you learn new words. 

Read aloud to yourself

Don’t be shy and read aloud to yourself! Many times when you read silently, you practice subvocalization or the act of sounding out the words in your head. If you practice reading aloud, you can hear the words and get a sense of whether or not you’re pronouncing them correctly. In addition to reading aloud, pick up the audiobook so that you can hear how the narrator pronounces words.

Have a reading partner

Two heads are better than one, right? Reading aloud to yourself is helpful, but practicing with a friend is even better. Together, you can take turns reading a piece of text to one another. Pay attention to how each of you pronounces the words. Your comprehension of the text will get better over time as you get more familiar with how the words are supposed to sound.

Instead of skimming, speed read the text

Now it’s time to increase the rate at which you read. Skim reading may seem like a good way to start, but it actually hurts comprehension skills and can slow you down. Get past the idea of not knowing every word and dive into the text. By reading quicker, you will still have a good idea about what you’re reading, and the words will work themselves out eventually. Have fun and time yourself. Make it a goal to beat your best time. No sooner than you’ll know it, you’ll be reading and comprehending everything at a rate you’d never thought was possible!

Our speed reading courses can give you the foundations of what speed reading is and how to do it. Once you’ve nailed it down in your native tongue, you can apply the skills you’ve learned to a foreign language. Find out more about all of our courses today!


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  • Jan Smith

    You are so right! There should be MUCH more attention to just learning to just read, esp older people. We have often already been there, are too old/unwell to travel don’t intend conversation and don’t need to enhance our job prospects