Study Russian with Adapted Literature
17 February, 2017
If you ask me, the process of learning a language is never easy. Foreign vocabulary and grammatical structures do not just fly into your brain during sleep. However, I am convinced that making use of the right approach to language learning can have a fundamental influence on the progress you are making. While there are people who say that the only way to learn a language is by speaking, I would argue that the only way to learn a language is by finding a balance between reading and speaking. My point is that in order to speak you need to know words and words are those things you usually find in books. Having said this, reading a book in a foreign language can turn out to be quite depressing and tiring, if your language skills do not match the text. But do not despair, because there is a solution:
What exactly is adapted literature? The idea behind adapted literature is that famous pieces of literature are facilitated according to the reader’s vocabulary and reading skills. In Russian there are two main providers of adapted literature: Zlathoust Library (Библиотека Златоуста) and Klassnoe Chtenie (Классное Чтение). In St.Petersburg you can find their books for about 7,50 € at Dom Knigi. In the section below you can read about my experience with a book from Zlathoust library.
I was reading Pushkin’s Po Stranitsam (По Страницам), which is a story about love, war and social class issues. My level in Russian can be described as an advanced beginner, which according to the publisher is reading level 3 out of 5.
Reading the book was a great way for me to challenge my language skills and keep learning new words. I recommend you to use a notebook for unknown words and always keep it at hand, so that you do not have to look up the same words over and over again. One advantage of studying a language by reading, was that I immediately learned the correct spelling, too. Furthermore, I noticed that seeing the words printed in front of me, helped me to memorize them better. Another pleasant experience while reading was that I learned how to guess the meaning of new words from context. Behind every chapter there was a training session with questions to the text. Therefore I had the possibility to practice new vocabulary and train my skills at summarizing texts. I think these excercises would have been even more fun if I had had someone to do them with. In terms of the structure, I noticed that every chapter was only about two pages long and usually the text was accompanied by pictures capturing the most important information. You might ask yourself, if that is not a touch too childish, but seeing the pictures can be really helpful in grasping the overall idea of the chapter. Also, at the end of the book there were images of important vocabulary words, which sometimes saved me some time, because I did not have to use a dictionary.
In the end I want to point out that reading books cannot compensate for speaking a language, but it can make speaking easier and more fun, because knowing more words also gives you the possibility to understand and discuss more topics.
Adapted reading is a great way to improve your reading skills and learn new vocabulary. I definitely recommend to use facilitated literature in order to learn a language.
This blog was brought to you by Ayla, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz.