How to Learn a Language Through Literature

Kees Van den End

Learning a new language can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Instead of memorizing the grammar and vocabulary from boring textbooks, why not try something more fun? One way to learn a language is through literature. By reading books in the language you’re trying to learn, you can pick up on the nuances and subtleties of a language that may be difficult to learn any other way. Let’s take a look at some tips for learning a language with literature!


Start with Something You Know

The best way to start learning with literature is by choosing books that you already know. If you’re familiar with the plot and characters, it will make it easier for you to focus on the language instead of getting lost in the story. For example, if you’re an English speaker learning Spanish, try reading Don Quixote or The Little Prince (El Principito) in Spanish first before tackling more advanced works like Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad). This will give you some practice understanding basic sentences and phrases without being overwhelmed by what might seem like incomprehensible words.


Listen & Read Along

Once you have chosen your book, try listening and reading along at the same time. This will help you get used to hearing the language as well as reading it. Listening exercises are especially important when learning languages because they help train your ear for pronunciation and intonation—both of which are essential for speaking fluently in any language. Try finding audio recordings of your book online or buy an audiobook so that you can listen while following along with the text.


Don't Be Afraid To Look Things Up

Learning a new language can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to look up words or phrases that you don’t understand right away—it’s part of the process! Keep a dictionary or translation app handy while reading so that if something trips you up, you can quickly look it up without having to stop altogether. There are even some apps available specifically designed for translating literature—give one of those a try if possible!



Learning a new language doesn't have to be boring or overwhelming. With these tips, we hope that using literature is an enjoyable way for students everywhere to expand their knowledge and gain fluency in new languages faster than ever before! Whether it's Don Quixote or Harry Potter (Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal), there's sure to be plenty of books out there that fit your interests. So grab your favorite foreign novel and get started on your journey into multilingualism today!