In previous posts I made the point that movies can be useful tools for language learning and in particular I described how reciting movies can be used to improve speaking skills in the target language. In this post I want to describe another way to use movies to improve another aspect of learning a language: the ability to read.
DVD technology allows having the possibility to see the same DVD in many different languages and with subtitles as well in many different languages.
When we want to learn reading in our target language we want to be exposed to understandable text in our target language and read incrementally more difficult texts. A way to get this type of exposure are parallel texts, in other words bilingual books where one can quickly check the meaning of words and sentences that he doesn’t understand.
Another way is to watch a movie in your native language with the subtitles in your target language. By doing this you will be exposed to text in your target language while this is translated in real time by the audio in the movie. This simple trick will provide you good exposure to text without needing to stop all the time to check words in a dictionary and it will provide a less frustrating way to start developing reading skills in your target language.
The main limitation with this method is that the dialogues of most movies are very simple when compared with literature. Therefore, when you have already developed medium reading skills you may want to reed books and newspaper rather than using this method.