Reading is a big part of a language and it can really help to build your vocabulary. For Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate students, the reading component contributes the most towards your final grade than any other section of the exams. To help you excel, we have compiled our very best tips on how to improve your reading skills below. Viel Spaß beim Lesen!
Expose yourself to varied texts
As we have affirmed many times before, the best way to learn a language is to expose yourself to it. In terms of vocabulary, you should aim to expand yours using phrases. This means that you are learning the meaning and application of words in a more practical way, which is useful for reading and comprehending texts. Try to read texts from different sources; from political to societal pieces, literature to news headlines. The internet is the best source for varied texts. Prominent German publications such as the FAZ, Der Spiegel and Tagesschau offer lots of accessible material with a diverse subject matter, and are great for learning about current affairs in Germany and around the globe. Be sure to practice past papers also, as certain vocabulary tends to repeat year on year.
Don’t stress about unknown words or phrases
When reading, look for the general gist of the text. You are a language learner and having a general understanding of what the piece is about is the most important thing. Certain words may not contribute to the overall understanding and you should prioritise new vocabulary that is most relevant and useful. A good tip for this is to read texts or about themes you are already familiar with. For example, Harry Potter fans could read the books in German and History students could read about historical events they are already familiar with in German.
Annotate and highlight
Make notes as you read and highlight new words or important parts. This will improve your concentration when reading and help you stay focused. You can also mark parts you don’t understand or questions you may have and get somebody to help you understand what is meant.
Read out loud
Reading texts out loud, especially when you are by yourself, is an excellent technique to improve your skills. As your eyes and ears are involved in the process, you will again be more focused. This will also help you practice your pronunciation and spelling.
When working independently, summarise what you read afterwards on a piece of paper. This will help you stay more focused when reading and help you assess what you have understood from the text. Depending on your language level, you may wish to do this in the target language or in your native tongue. Only include the most important details in your summary. Every single aspect of the piece does not need to be included.
We hope that you have picked up some useful tips in this blog post that will help you improve your German reading skills. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions please get in touch with us, and be sure to stay up to date with us on Instagram and Twitter for our latest content.
P.S. We launched some new products on our shop last week! Check out our vocabulary lists for past Leaving Cert Higher Level Reading Comprehensions, available currently for 2017-2020 papers and with more years to be added soon!