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How deep-dive reading can enrich your language skills

Diving into the depths of an article to understand it and learn from it is challenging but worthwhile.

I grew up hearing and speaking German at home.

Until I was 18, I’d never needed to read and write in my heritage language, apart from birthday and thank you cards to relatives.

Then I moved to Germany for a job back in the pre-online days of print only.

Working my way through the daily newspaper took ages. Headlines baffled me and I wasn’t familiar with words to do with politics or the economy.

And every week I had to read a chapter in a book related to my job and then discuss it at meetings with my supervisor. So more new words and long, complicated sentences.

I read, highlighted, re-read, underlined, looked up the dictionary, read again and copied out sentences and sections.

Diving deeper into the text to understand exactly what the author meant was hard work.

But I was discovering new words and expressions, new grammar such as using the Konjunktiv to report what someone had said, new signpost phrases to introduce, add, contrast and sum up information.

Then I had to talk with my supervisor about what I’d read, pushing me even further to improve the quality of my language.

Another bonus from deep-dive reading: I could do crosswords in German because the telegram style of the clues – which up to then had stumped me – suddenly made sense.

Reading for understanding+learning for half an hour in the morning 3 or 4 times a week combined with relaxed reading most evenings helped me enrich my language skills.

You can too!

Choose an article you’d like to understand and dive deeply into its words, expressions and structures to fully get the meaning.

Need a hand to set up and stick to your DIY language project? I can help.

© Christina Wielgolawski