There are many channels through which you can boost your language skills. Many choose to take classes with qualified teachers, especially with native-speaker teachers. Others use textbooks, podcasts, language apps and much more from the varied toolbox of education we now have in the 21st century. The channel we’d like to big-up today, however, is one of the more unsung heroes of the language learning world --- reading the news!
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News media has changed its form at lightning pace in the last two decades. For language learners, however, that has just made it all the easier for them to access quality news material to use for practice. In our view, the news is a great source material to use when studying a foreign language, and in this blog piece, we are going to explain why.
📰 “Read the News” – what does that include?
Not that long ago, this would have meant making a daily trip to a newsstand or receiving a daily delivery of a foreign-language newspaper or magazine and then setting aside a good chunk of time to read through it and absorb its information, meaning, and new vocabulary.
Nowadays, though, it’s a case of a few smartphone apps and you can get all the news content you want right there in your pocket!
📈 Is it really so valuable for language learning?
It seems parochial to say reading the news is so valuable. It’s one quite narrow channel of source material. Does it really offer so much? The answer is yes:
Oodles of vocabulary
News material, in its eclectic form and wide-ranging subject matter, will offer you a treasure trove of new vocabulary. If you develop effective habits like keeping notes and adding around 5-6 new words from each article you read to your vocabulary collection, then over time with daily reading you start to expand your knowledge quite rapidly.
A good way to retain words
Regular reading will allow you to see previously learned words used over and over across different articles. Seeing words and reading them often will help you to retain them in your mind. It’s the next best thing after saying them yourself in natural conversation.
Local knowledge and culture
Printed and online media is a window into the home culture and goings-on of the country whose language you are currently mastering. It can help you put some of your other knowledge of the country into better context, and can give you a deeper insight into life there.
Perfect for exploring informal vs. formal differences
Because news media ranges from conversational blogs and pop culture publication, to serious and hard-hitting journalism, it’s a great way to explore the spectrum of formality that exists in your target language. It’s especially useful for learning more formal terminology and expression, which is something even your native speaker teacher might not cover in their speaking class.
The sheer variety
As we touched upon in point 4, the content of news media is massive and eclectic. You can read about news that you are interested in, or content that relates to other material you are studying. This in particular is valuable, because making those cross-connections between learning material is one of the best ways to retain knowledge and information.
Boost your critical reading ability
Finally, reading the news is the perfect way to give yourself a boost in comprehension and being able to think critically in a new language. A news article will contain claims, evidence, supporting points, explanations, reasons, inferences and more. It’s a marvelous way to exercise your critical thinking abilities as you decipher the implications of various words and phrases, and establish the connections between each paragraph.
⛰️ Never overlook the value of the news
In the end, just as regular reading of the news in your native tongue is able to strengthen your intellect, so too can doing that in another language. If anything, it has even more effect because of the added twist of a new language and culture forming the backdrop. If you need help finding innovative and exciting ways to learn a new language, talk to us!
🎉 Get started!
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