My reading strategy to increase my Italian vocabulary

Reading strategies for better vocabulary

 I was curious to see what Italians thought about a Trump win, so I decided to practice my reading skills to find out.

For me, reading is such an effective way to increase my vocabulary. I am such a visual learner, so I tend to remember things that I see written down. Additionally, it’s so important to develop the skill of guessing meaning from context, which helps us remember words better and understand how to use them. 

Here is my step-by-step process to increase my Italian vocabulary through reading:

  1. Choose an interesting topic, and use to find an article.
  2. Depending on your Italian level, decide if you want to focus just on a paragraph, or the entire article. Since I am still a beginner, most articles are still too difficult for me, so I only focus on a paragraph in detail.
  3. Read the paragraph/article once without looking up words. What is the main idea?
  4. Read the paragraph again, and this time use three different colored highlighters to underline new words according to the following categories:


Article source

a) cognates (words I can guess with certainty because they are similar enough to English)   (blue)

b) words that I think I can understand from the context, but need to check in the dictionary to be sure (pink)

c) words I can’t guess from context, and need to look up in the dictionary (yellow)

My favorite online dictionary is Reverso Context because it gives translations of the word in context. It is important to know the meaning as well as the use of a word. 

At this point, I find that I can understand Italian much better than I can produce it. For example, I can understand some words that I have never seen before that are cognates or from the context, but these aren’t words I could pull out of thin air.

I look forward to revisiting this post in the future to read this paragraph again to see how much my Italian has improved!

Have you ever tried this reading strategy? What other vocabulary strategies are helpful to you? 

Hi, I'm Kelly!

I invite you to join me as I document becoming a dual U.S.-Italian citizen, my travels in Italy to discover the best of regional food & wine, and my progress learning Italian, mostly through cooking & wine tasting!

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