On analog and digital reading practice
Thursday's Thousandth Thought (TTT #12)
Reading is the most efficient pressure-free method to improve quickly in any language.
Some may say it’s faster to talk to native speakers—something potentially true at first but definitely not once a certain conversational level has been reached. —but I don’t think anybody would challenge the difference in pressure felt between the two tasks.
Reading is slow and that’s exactly why it’s useful. The reader—us!—can choose to look up every unknown word (intensive reading) or only those that impede the general comprehension of the gist (extensive reading).
When speaking you can’t really ask your interlocutor to wait for you to look up words or grammar patterns. You have to keep going.
I bought a Kindle at the end of 2021 with the goal of reading more of my target languages in 2022. In the end, I didn’t read a single book in my target languages1 on it.
You see, digital reading has tons of advantages, the most obvious being how convenient it is, but it also has many drawbacks worth looking into. On the other side of the coin, reading letters printed on paper carries a heavy burden—its inconvenience and weight—but also offers one incredible advantage.
I don’t recommend relying only on one or the other. Instead, we should rely on both. Let me take my experience with both in 2022 as a clear example.