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How to pick your first book to read in a foreign language

11 Jan 2011
Read this text with BiblioBird!

Reading and listening to books in a foreign language is a great way to learn the language. I learned Polish largely through reading and listening to Harry Potter.

It helps your brain learn to think in the language. Reading and listening to hundreds of hours of correct sentences will give you a sense of what "sounds right". You will be able to form correct sentences of your own by feel, not just grammar mathematics.

So, you'd like to give it a try. But what book should you choose?

Read more for advice on how to pick what to read in a foreign language.

Harry Potter: The book that taught me Polish

14 Dec 2010
Pile of Harry Potter books in Polish
All my Harry Potter books

I've studied Polish mostly from reading and listening to books. The first book I ever read in Polish, was Harry Potter. When I first started to read Harry Potter, I had only been learning Polish for about a year at the University.

While I did enjoy that class (mostly because of the professor) it was basically all grammar, grammar and more grammar. At the end of that year, I couldn't really speak or understand Polish normally.

I started reading the first Harry Potter book in January of 2008. It took me four months to finish it. Honestly, it was extremely difficult and took a lot of commitment. But after finishing that book, I really felt like I spoke Polish. My brain was able to produce and understand Polish automatically!

While the first book took me four months, I managed to read all seven Harry Potter books before the end of that year! Each book was bigger and bigger, but I managed to read each one faster and faster. I read (or rather listened to) the last book in only a couple weeks. My learning accelerated exponentially.

Read more to learn about the method I used!