Jak na jazyky

Reading for intermediate students

Are you learning Czech for a little while already and texts in the textbook are boring for you? Do you want to start to read in Czech and you don’t know where to start? Do you want to start with something more interesting? In this article, I give you tips on where to start.

Reading in a foreign language is a long process. But the more you know the Czech, the easier it is to read. And once you would start anyway. Why don’t you start today? If you don’t know where to star, follow the reading.

First, let’s start with the text that are intended to students of the language.

Adapted prose

The adapted prose is a kind of texts that are intended for students of a foreign language at a certain level. They can be books of classical literature, as well as a popular one. These books often contain exercises that relate to individual texts. When we speak about the Czech language, there are more and more new sources of the adapted texts. Here you can find some:

O Golemovi – Alois Jirásek (web Pavly Macháčkové)
Česká čítanka [A2] by Ilona Starý-Kořánová
Pražské legendy [B1] by Lída Holá
Staré pověsti české a moravské [B1] by Lída Holá
Alenka v říši divů by Lewis Carroll (adaptated by Petra Súvová)

Mirror books

“Zrcadlové knihy/mirror books” are very popular in the Czech Republic. They are “mirror” because the text of the book is actually twice on each double-page. Once in the target language, the second time in your native language (or another language you are fluent in). So if you do not understand the Czech text, you can look at the literal translation in the second language.

These books are adapted for different language levels. On your level, I would highly recommend the books, that wasn’t created for learning Czech as a foreign language. You can choose the Czech version, which was created for learning your mother tongue. As I mentioned, in the Czech Republic, these books are popular among students, so there is a large number of them.

Magazine AHOJ

A few years ago, a group of Czech teachers for foreigners decided to start publishing a magazine AHOJ for their students. The magazine is published 4 times a year. In the magazine, you find articles on current topics, lexical and grammar exercises. While reading the magazine, you will practice Czech and also learn something about life in the Czech Republic, Czech traditions, important Czech personalities and important dates in Czech history. The texts are divided according to language difficulty into three levels – easy, medium and difficult. So you can choose what suits you.

Books for children

Once you get acquainted the basics of the new language, there is a great opportunity to start reading authentic texts. Children’s books are a great resource. First, those that have the predominance of images over text. You can then gradually select the books where the text predominates. Children’s books are great in that the whole story is depicted in illustrations. So you can easily understand what’s going on, even if you don’t understand the text itself. The texts are also written in easy language, and authors use basic vocabulary.

Now that you have a few tips on where to look for suitable lyrics, there’s no time to make excuses. So shush shush. The Czechs would say: S chutí do toho a půl je hotovo. (With a taste for it and a half it is done.)