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Start a Book Club and Learn a Language

Humans are social beings. We are gregarious and we learn from others. Even though reading a book is a relatively solitary action, people benefit from being able to discuss that solitary action with other people who have read the same book. When you are learning a language, a foreign language book club can be a great way to practice your language skills, read great books, and learn a thing or two.

Organize the Group

The first thing you will need to do is get a foreign language book club organized. This is the most challenging part. You will need to find a group of people who are interested in practicing their language skills through reading and talking about books. Try to find at least three people who you know are interested in expanding their language skills. Maybe your friends will want to give it a try, especially since many people had to study a foreign language in school. You might have to go outside of your group of friends and try asking colleagues at work. If you cannot find anyone in your community, online book clubs exist, too. You can always advertise on Facebook to find people to join.

Set the Ground Rules

Once you have established the club, you will want to establish some ground rules. You will want to decide how much foreign language and first language speaking you will allow. If you really want to practice your language skills, you might want to limit first language speaking. You will also need to establish rules on choosing books and where you will meet. It can be helpful to choose books that best fit with readers comfort levels. If you are lovers of books, but limited in your language skills, start simple. You might want to begin with books that you already read in English – like a Harry Potter book that has been translated into Spanish; you know the story, so you can work on understanding it in Spanish

Adaptation Happens Quickly

You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your mind will adapt to reading in a foreign language. You will also be pleasantly surprised at how much more comfortable you will be talking about books with other like-minded individuals who are working on learning a foreign language. It might be helpful to find someone who is more fluent in the new language to join your book club, because it can be very helpful to have someone to correct you or help your group through a difficulty passage in a book. However, it can also be fun to work through the passage and use your language skills on your own.

Use the Tools

Fortunately, there are several tools that you can use to help yourself and your group get through the book. You can use tools like Google Translate to check your work or help when no one has a clue what the word is. If you pick books that have been made into movies, you can always watch the movie with subtitles on.

While the idea of a foreign language book club might be daunting for many people, the fact that everyone will be struggling can make it more comfortable for group members who have not practiced their language skills in a while. Your foreign language book club might decide that everyone speaks in the foreign language, which is a great way to immerse yourself and learn. Like every skill, it will get easier to read and speak in the new language and your group will enjoy taking the journey together!


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