Gotta be quick today as I have an online lesson with my Swedish teacher in precisely one hour and nineteen minutes, and I haven’t yet done my homework…
Les, a club member and regular ebook buyer, wrote to share his approach to using our ‘easy readers’.
Hi Daniel—just finished reading this [ Caravaggio nei vicoli di Roma ] and thought I’d drop a line to thank you (and Enrico). I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course it helps to love Caravaggio’s work.
By the way, I’ve found the following approach useful when reading these books. As I read I type the text in Italian into Google Translate, and then note new vocab as I come across it in a notebook (I go back over the chapter to do this). Although Google Translate is not perfect, at least it’s a very good start. I also use WordReference.com for additional help with alternative meanings.
Typing in is a little slow, but I find the physical process helps my memory. The next thing I am going to try is to write the text in Italian into a notebook and then try to translate into English—then translate back into Italian.
Many thanks again,
That rather got me thinking about how different people can use identical material in dissimilar ways…
Here’s my reply to Les (I always try to answer emails from club members):
What a good student you must be, Les!
Yes, I can see the logic with and value of your approach. But it’s very much focused on ‘learning’, that is to say, ‘studying’.
What I do myself, and usually recommend is the opposite. It’s a four-step process:
1. You read and listen, without using a dictionary or stopping. At least a chapter at a time, even the whole book (this should be fast to do!)
2. You read again, at your own pace, but again without a dictionary, focusing on getting more from the text that previously, but not worrying about the parts you can’t understand
3. You read and listen again, as the first time. You should notice that you are much more familiar with the text
4. Finally, you listen only, without the text. This can be repeated several times, perhaps the following day or a week or so later
As you can see, the focus is on reading/listening skills rather than unknown or not-well known elements of the text.
‘Training’ yourself on these core skills should enable you to ‘learn’ better in general, as you will be better able to process what you read/hear.
So those are two completely different ways of using ‘easy readers’, each with different goals and benefits.
I’m sure with a bit of ‘mixing and matching’ you could figure out other ways to use them, too.
In fact, I guess that’s the main point.
Just how you exploit a given piece of material is likely to depend on a variety of factors, including what your goals currently are (they’ll change over time), how much time you have, and how motivated you feel
For anyone out there who doesn’t yet do ANY extensive reading/listening (and yes, I’m talking to you Duolingo addicts), why not give it a try?
There’s a free beginner-level easy reader in our online shop.
Top left-hand corner of the page.
Be aware that that one’s only really suitable for beginners. Don’t write and tell me it’s “too easy”. It’s supposed to be.
If you’re further ahead, you should choose something more suitable. And that won’t be free, but will be worth it.
Virtually everything has a free sample chapter, so you can check out the difficulty of the texts at a given level and so find something that’s not too hard, nor too easy, but just right!
Find the sample chapters by clicking on the image of the ebook cover. There’s a link to download the freee sample in the descriptive text on the product page.
Or save a lot of time by using our Catalogue.
Scroll down until you get to the ‘Italian Easy Readers’ section, whiere you’ll see the whole lot IN LEVEL ORDER.
Each has an accompanying link to the free sample chapter, right there, so no messing around clicking on cover images (imagine how long that took me to do…)
That should make the job of choosing something suitable to ‘study’ (the ‘Les’ approach) or ‘read’ (Daniel-style) much easier!
I have a note to mention that next week we’ll be running a free trial online lesson promotion.
So if you’d like to try a free lesson, via Skype, with one of our team of teachers, watch this space for details.
57 minutes left, homework not started, and I still have to proof this for spelling errors!!!!