"Active reading" of fiction books

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"Active reading" of fiction books

Postby CarlyD » Sat May 05, 2018 9:27 pm

I'm having an allergy-weekend, so I'm doing more thinking about things than actually doing things.

So I read the threads about whether you should re-read a book or move on to the next, but my question goes a bit deeper.

I was reading an article about "active reading"--in general--talking about highlighting important points, asking questions to learn the material. All very true, and perfect for history books or whatever. When he briefly mentioned language-learning, it was only to add "translating" to the list. Not really helpful.

But I'm trying to get the absolute most out of my limited number of fiction books. I'm already doing the following when I look at a new chapter:

* pick out any vocabulary words I don't know, either before or after the first read, to go to flashcards
* identify anything unusual--a verb conjugation I've never seen, etc.--to look up
* try to feel like I actually understood the chapter

But I feel like there's more that the book can give me and I'm just--"ok, I got through it, on to the next one"

Do other people do more? Or just move on?
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby Brun Ugle » Sun May 06, 2018 5:39 am

At that point, I usually buy more books. :lol:

You can also have a look for the book on Goodreads, book blogs, or booktube videos on YouTube to see what other people thought of it and compare that to what you got out of it. Did you find the same parts good or bad as they did? Do you feel the same way about the characters? After reading/watching a few, you could try writing your own book review in the target language. Don’t worry if you end up having to steal a few phrases that others have used. That’s just a step to learning to how to phrase those ideas yourself.

If the book you are reading is considered a classic, or is the kind typically found on reading lists for students, you might be able to find discussion questions online. Like this pdf Iguanamon found for Pride and Prejudice in Spanish.

You could also start a readalong on the forum and discuss the book with other members.
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby rdearman » Sun May 06, 2018 12:34 pm

You could review it and identify sentence structure.

https://www.thoughtco.com/identifying-s ... re-1692194
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby iguanamon » Sun May 06, 2018 1:54 pm

One of the ways I've been "active" with books before is answering comprehension questions and writing chapter reviews. If you are reading a popular novel, there's going to be plenty of reviews online, think about in terms of writing a book report. If you are working with a tutor, you can talk about the book from your notes which reinforces your language skills in a different way.

Right now, I'm reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" in two different languages and two different scripts- in Ladino from right to left in Hebrew Rashi script and in Catalan which is a language I'm not studying... yeah, Romance languages lend themselves to this kind of thing. So, with Catalan, I found a pdf with comprehension and essay questions to answer about the book and I find that doing this makes me pay more attention to what I am reading. Translated classics also have plenty of material available online to work with. I read Hamlet in Haitian Creole translation and answering these English questions in HC was very helpful. Taking notes in TL and talking about the book in TL with a native-speaker, either in conversation or online has been very useful to me when I was actively learning.

CarlyD wrote:...But I feel like there's more that the book can give me and I'm just--"ok, I got through it, on to the next one

While there is more that a learner can get out of a TL book... don't forget how important momentum is. You'll see those words and grammatical constructions again... but only if you move on to the next one. There's always a balance to be found between intensity and just "moving on". One of the traps I've seen beginners fall into is trying to suck every last drop from any given resource and not moving on. Momentum, in my experience, is very important in language learning and often overlooked, in my opinion. So, yes do some intensive work, but don't go overboard with it. In other words, find a balance.
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby tarvos » Sun May 06, 2018 5:35 pm

Personally how much I do really depends on my goals and level with the language. Most books I can just read for pleasure, even though I don't know a few words I can read the whole thing without too much of a hitch (this is the case in most of my better languages). In some cases, like in Greek, I will need to look up an additional word or two if I've forgotten them, or in Chinese, when I don't know a certain character. But in Chinese I am sticking to graded readers for now.
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby paz » Sun May 20, 2018 7:52 am

Have you ever heard of the difference between "aesthetic" and "efferent" reading?

Maybe your question goes beyond language learning... if so, check Louise Rosenblatt books, or the Reader Response Approach.
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby Sayonaroo » Sun May 20, 2018 2:17 pm

I recommend getting the kindle. The popup dictionary fantastic and if you want to generate anki cards of words you looked up you can.
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Re: "Active reading" of fiction books

Postby adamwakoski » Wed May 30, 2018 12:34 pm

Write a review of a book you have read and if possible, discuss it with someone. This way you will also remember its content better, which in turn will help you to move all new words to the long-term memory.
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