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Ag léamh i nGaeilge / Reading in Irish

irish literature tips for learning irish

Listen to the first few pages of An Billiúnaí Beag (Billionaire Boy) in the video above, and read on for some tips about how to develop a reading habit in Irish.


Why is it so difficult to develop a reading habit in Irish?

It takes time and persistence to become adept at reading in another language. Reading in another language can be tedious. You know that you could fly through the book if only it were in English, but instead progress is painfully slow!

Hang in there!

It is possible to reach a point where reading in Irish can be enjoyable, but there are a few tricks to get there quicker!


Make sure that the book isn't too difficult. Ideally you should be able to understand the gist of the story without having to look up every second word. You may want to look up words every now and again, but even if you don't you should be able to give a fairly good stab at what is going on. If you find you have to resort to the dictionary too much progress will be frustratingly slow, and it's more likely the book will be cast aside. Have a look at my previous blog which has reading recommendations for all levels.


Top tips for developing a reading habit in Irish

  1. The first tip is, as above, make sure that the book isn't too difficult for where you are right now.
  2. Leave the book you are reading lying around somewhere that you are likely to pick it up. Have it in the kitchen so that you might pick it up whenever you sit down for a cup of tea.
  3. Keep a pen to hand and write new words into the book as you come across them, to save you having to look them up again.
  4. Set a deadline to have the book finished by a certain date. Make sure your deadline is realistic - it might just be one paragraph or page a day, or maybe more, all depending how much time you can free up.
  5. Deliberately sit down to read. Have a cup of tea, or a piece of chocolate, and make it a pleasurable experience!
  6. Find someone else who is also learning Irish and read the same book together at the same time. 
  7. Recognise that it takes time to develop a reading habit in another language, and be patient. There will be days when it might feel like a slog, but it will get easier over time!
  8. Celebrate once you have finished the book by buying yourself another book in Irish ;-


Other ways to learn Irish

If you're interested in learning Irish you might like to check out my online courses. I offer a Beginner Irish course to those learning Irish for the first time; and Beyond Beginner courses for people with rusty Irish from school, or who have been learning on their own for some time. I also offer intermediate level Irish and more advanced literature and poetry courses. If you'd like to know more about any of my courses just contact me here. You might like to also sign up for my email list and receive regular tips for learning Irish.

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