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Hi. I am a big fan of encouraging my students to read, and think it is a great way to acquire new language/lexis/vocabulary. As you say, readers (Penguin, Oxford, Cambridge etc) are perfect, due to the graded level and the fact that only a certain amount of headwords are used and recycled throughout the books. I try to practice what I preach by reading an learning lexis/vocabulary from what I read. I currently use children’s fairy-tales, but I would love something along the same lines of graded readers. Can you recommend any graded style readers in Thai?
Barry – There aren’t any decent Thai graded-readers that I know of. The best thing to do is to stick with a particular topic/genre for a while until you get pretty good at it. Hire someone to help you read. The Wimpy kid books are a decent place to start, but the most important thing is that you are already interested in the stuff you are reading about.
Oh look, here it is NINE years later, and there’s STILL no graded reader. I’ve enjoyed the readings above, and I’m making do with a combination of finding short pieces, and writing my own and getting them expertly translated and recorded. Then I do a Big Study,sentence by sentence using techniques of the wonderful Italian polyglot language coach, Luca Lampariello: a)listening while reading; b) listen and repeat; c)read first, then check pronunciation with the recording; d) listen to each sentence at 30% speed (use a slow-down app like “Transcribe”) to hear the connections between the words, and how the tones sound in a flow; e)make a note of individual new words and expressions in context, and put them in Anki; f) do “bilateral translation,” i.e. look at the English and translate back into Thai; g) speak extemporaneously about the subject, first to myself, and then to a couple of teachers to get feedback re: pronunciation, presentation, etc.; h) use the recording to take dictation so I can practice spelling, typing, etc. Despite the unreasonable lack of good materials for studying Thai, I am managing to get ahead.
The problem is there isn’t any market for advanced readers. I spent a fair bit of time and money creating and recording lots of texts and they get very little action. To be honest, if you are already writing your own texts, you don’t need a graded reader anymore. Graded readers are for beginners who are just starting to read. Just go read native texts about things you are interested in. If a book is too scary, then start with Wikipedia articles about a topic. Just read the first paragraph from a number of wikis on a particular topic that you have some level of interest in (movies, dinosaurs, countries, etc). This will help you build up a lot of vocab that you won’t likely ever hear anyone say, but you still need to be familiar with in order to read native texts comfortably.
I would advise against making an Anki card for every word that you encounter and don’t know. This is very inefficient as you have no way of knowing how valuable/frequent a particular word is. Wait until you see something a few times before you make a card for it. Also, delete troublesome cards with no mercy. If a card ever causes you even the slightest amount of stress, just delete it. If the word/phrase matters, you will encounter it again eventually.
Thank you, I drifted here in a search for Thai readers and the idea of going to wikipedia is a great one! Thanks!
That is very good advice
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