Reading comprehension and Foreign Language learning go hand-in-hand. However, in many modern students, the ability to read in a foreign language is too often trumped by the desire to get busy into the speaking aspect. In reality, reading is a crucial component of your language learning. Here are just a few benefits of learning to read well in a foreign language:
- Reading goes beyond mere translation and forces you to think about the intricacies of a language.
- It is crucial when visiting a country to navigate through public transportation, markets, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.
- Reading teaches you to focus on context rather than trying to catch every single word.
- Reading expands your vocabulary.
A recent article in LA Times highlighted the popularity of Spanish-language ebooks, which have become a great resource for foreign language learners. The US has more than 38 million Spanish speakers and in the last 2 years the number of Spanish language books has tripled for many online booksellers! If you are a student of Spanish this means that there are some great FREE online resources to practice your Spanish reading comprehension.
Even though digital books in the Spanish language still only account for 5% of all ebooks, there are still some great choices:
This site is a great resource when trying to find modern and classic literature that has been translated in Spanish. Some of the more popular titles include:
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
For our readers who are not Spanish language learners, there is also a wonderful site to find FREE eBooks in French:
Atramenta offers thousands of free works in the French language. They offer a variety of genres from literature, poetry, romance, and even Manga, all in the French language and free of charge. Some of my favorites include:
- The Iliad by Homer
- The Short Life by Anne Christiani
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
If you are a student of the Russian language, then here is a great site that offers FREE audio books of some classic Russian works read in the Russian language:
I am a huge fan of Russian literature so I’ve listed a few of my favorites that are a must read (or listen to!) if you are trying to master Russian:
- Childhood by Leo Tolstoy
- White Nights by Dostoyevsky
We do not want to leave our German students behind so it’s worth mentioning that BooksShouldBeFree.com also has a great German language section. Here you can find over 700 FREE German eBooks as well as over 250 German audio books. Here are a few that stuck out to me:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare
If you are looking for FREE reading material in your target language a simple Internet search should pull up hundreds if not thousands of materials for you to choose from. So, pick up your electronic device, download a great book, and keep up those important reading comprehension skills!