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How my mother relaxed into reading in English

It took a while, but reading in another language finally became fun.

During her early years in New Zealand, my German mother continued to read the German books she’d brought with her and also borrowed German books from friends.

An Austrian friend had shifted to reading in English and extolled the virtues of English books to her: their style was different plus the plots were riveting.

So my mother gave reading a book in English a go.

She didn’t enjoy it one bit – It’s just not relaxing – and went back to reading in German for the next few years.

Then came the day when my mother ran out of new German books to read. And she’d re-read her own books enough times.

What now?

I jumped in and gave her a book in English I’d read and was pretty sure she’d like too.

She found it hard going.

A slow slog.


Not relaxing at all.

But she enjoyed talking about the book with me.

Which helped her to keep going.

She finished that book. And read another. And another.

Soon my mother was reading more in English than in German.

This made buying her presents much easier.

And we could tease her by asking if the book she was reading was in German or English. She’d look up – surprised – then had to look back down to check the language of the book.

My mother had finally relaxed into reading in English.

Just like I did with French.

You too can relax into reading in your target language.

Not sure how? The 5 don’ts for relaxed reading in the next post will show you.

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

© Christina Wielgolawski