All The Reading Resources for Language Learning You’ll Ever Need


Being able to read in a different language has always been one of the most enjoyable things about learning a new language for me.

It’s something that can be easily added to your language learning routine in short bursts or longer sessions. But where do you begin if cold hard books are just too much at this stage?

Without mentioning the obvious (books!), here’s more reading resources for language learning than you’ll ever need.

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

To keep track of everything here, click the image below to download your own checklist of everything I share with you in this blog post. I’ve included some other pages for you to review and remember your favourites too!

Let’s talk paper

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

Parallel texts are something I’ve used for a long time to support my language learning. To this day, I still have a parallel text or two in my car from my on-the-road tutoring days.

If you’re new to parallel texts, here’s how they work.

On one side of the page, you have one language. On the other side of the page you’ve got a translation. It’s that simple.

Good Stuff

Translations in parallel texts tend to be very well done. This means that you don’t have to struggle to decipher to code of a bad translation.

The stories are often traditional stories from places that speak the language you’re learning. Perfect for adding a little cultural knowledge to your study routine.

Not so good stuff

Sometimes those translations can be too good. This means that if you’re using parallel texts to get new vocabulary, you might want to add an extra step to look up your new words rather than just assume that the translation is exactly what that word means.

Parallel texts aren’t available in every language under the sun. However, the variety of languages seems to be growing.

Where to start

My favourites have always been Penguin. But they aren’t available in a huge range of languages. Polyglot Planet seem to be adding to that growing range of languages on Amazon. However, if you’re learning online, check out LonWeb, which has parallel text stories in 55 languages, ParallelBooks or Paralleltext.io.

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

This name may ring a bell. I reviewed Interlinear books way back in the early days of blogging here at Lindsay Does Languages. I also got to meet Linas, the guy behind the books at the Language Show Live last year.

Interlinear Books work slightly differently to parallel texts. Instead of the ‘one-page-one-language’ format, the translation into English is shown underneath each word in a smaller and lighter coloured font.

Good stuff

If we’re talking about unique ideas, Interlinear Books are top of the pile.

You know what else is awesome about this option? The translations are literal. If you’re an experienced language learner and love learning how structure works in different languages in a more natural way, then this is for you.

Not so good stuff

Interlinear Books are a small company and translations are done with love by their small team. This means that the range of stories and languages is currently very small, but it’s always growing.

The prices vary between different languages, but this is a reflection on the size of the story translated.

Where to start

Head over to the main website and pick the language you’re after. Simple!

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

This may be easier for some languages than others but comics are a great early step into reading in a new language. Why? For one thing, there’s shorter texts to translate. Secondly, images!

Images alongside the text gives you context, which is a huge advantage over solo black ink on white paper.

Good stuff

Comics are normally fun! But they can also be serious. From poppy teen rom-coms to dark police drama tales, you’ve got a great range of potential comic reading material.

They are also a little more bitesize than your standard book, which is another benefit for the early stages.

Not so good stuff

Depending on which language you’re learning, that range might not be so great. If you’re learning French or Japanese, high five, you’re in luck. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing at all out there if you’re learning another language.

Where to start

Googling ‘French comics’ or ‘comics in Tagalog’ is the best way to not only find comics you might like to buy but also to get links to webcomics. Hooray!

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

It may seem like a pretty standard recommendation, but newspapers and magazines can be a great reading resource.

Let’s look at this in more detail.

Good stuff

‘Newspapers & magazines’ is quite a broad term. Look deeper and you’ll be able to use anything from free supermarket leaflets to full-on broadsheets depending on your level.

The other great thing is how disposable they are. It feels much less “wrong” to scribble and highlight all over a newspaper article or a shiny magazine page than it does a book.

Not so good stuff

It isn’t always easy (or cheap) to get your hands on newspapers and magazines in different languages if you’re not in the place that speaks the language. With that in mind, where do you start?

Where to start

Libraries can be a great place to start searching for newspapers and magazines in different languages.

My local library has regular newspapers available for public reading in Punjabi, Urdu, Chinese, Gujarati, Bengali, French, Polish, and Chinese.

If your library doesn’t have what you want on offer, try picking up free (or regular priced as opposed to imported priced) newspapers or magazines when you’re abroad, or ask friends and family to pick you up a newspaper if they’re going somewhere relevant to you.

If that’s not an option, there are plenty of online options to help you out here. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Let’s talk tech

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

Just like the general idea of reading paper newspapers and magazines, this is a very broad topic. Here I’m also using it to include not just websites, but also apps.

When it’s just not possible to get your hands on ‘real’ newspapers, tech will serve you well. You can download specific language news apps to your phone or tablet and there’s some great websites to help get you started if you have no idea what publications exist in your target language.

Good stuff

Once you’ve found a good resource that works for you, you can use it to read short articles for bitesize 5 minute reading bursts or longer texts for in-depth study sessions.

The other great thing about this, especially in comparison to ‘real’ newspapers, is how portable it is. It’s much easier to whip out your phone on the train that your scrappy over-sized newspaper.

Being connected to the internet makes it easier to translate words and phrases on the fly too.

Not so good stuff

It can take some time to find an app or a news site that works for you at your level. However, experimenting with new resources and finding that perfect thing is all part of the fun, right?

And of course, it’s a little tricky to scribble and highlight all over a digital news story unless you print it off. Not quite as simple as a paper newspaper.

Where to start

If you’re just getting started with finding a reliable newspaper in your target language, my favourite way to do so is Newspaper Map. This hugely useful resource helps you to filter global newspapers by language and provides you with a visual map of the results. Awesome.

Another option for a more traditional list view is Online Newspapers.

And finally, Simon over at Omniglot has compiled a pretty epic list of newspapers in different languages right here.

Related: Why Stories Are a Better Way To Learn a Language

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

Lingua.ly is a brilliant app for improving your reading in English, Spanish, French, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, Dutch, and Russian. The good news is more languages are coming soon.

The app uses real examples of texts in the language you’re learning and presents them to you. You then click on new words, which are added to your word bank to practise.

It’s pretty much a level up on using a standard digital news app or website.

Good stuff

The app is really intuitive and the collecting of the new vocab without much effort on your part is always going to be a draw to it.

There’s also an extension for Google Chrome so you can use it on your computer too. Hooray!

Not so good stuff

Although iTunes says the app is compatible with iPad, I can’t download it on mine.

Where to start

You can download Lingua.ly right here for Apple or Android.

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

Duolir is an interesting take on the modern ebook.

Upon downloading the app, you can select stories translated into different languages from the Duolir store.

All you need to do to get reading is tap each sentence or paragraph to see the translation.

Good stuff

Compared to parallel texts and Interlinear Books, Duolir avoids instant contact with your own language because all you see before tapping to view the translation is your target language.

The stories are also pretty unique as they’re written by keen multilingual writers. Nice.

Not so good stuff

There is a free selection of stories but most of the content is paid for.

Another thing to note is that if you’re used to seeing the text in both languages in a parallel text then you might find yourself quite impatiently tapping to flip for the translation, meaning that you’re probably not getting the most from the story.

Where to start

You can download Duolir on Apple devices right here.

All the reading resources for language learning you'll ever need + a free checklist and review sheets. Click through to read + download your bonuses!

I’m pretty new to Readlang but it’s quickly becoming one of my new favourite things.

It’s a Chrome and Safari extension that can even be used on mobile devices. Pretty darn cool.

What does it do? It lets you translate pretty much any word on any webpage. Mind blown.

It’s similar to LingQ and Learning With Texts, but having had a play with all of them, I prefer Readlang.

Good stuff

The interface of Readlang is simple, effective and easy to get your head around.

You can also upload texts to the library, review your words that you’ve clicked both in lists and flashcards.

Not so good stuff

There’s really nothing to quibble about at this stage. It’s so good.

Where to start

Visit Readlang right here and download the extension on your browser.

Your Personal Checklist + Reviews

If you missed it up top, click below to download your (free!) personal checklist and review pages to help you keep track of your favourite resources.

What do you think? What are your favourite resources for reading in a foreign language? Share in the comments below!

you're awesome.
Get access to our growing collection of free ebooks, worksheets, and other language goodness.

About Lindsay Williams

Why hello there! I'm Lindsay and I do Languages. I blog, vlog and teach all things language. I blog about languages right here at Lindsay Does Languages, and about travel over at Mundo Trundle. If you're looking for language learning inspiration then stay a while. You might find just what you're looking for. :)
  • Israel Lai

    I freaking love the concept of interlinear! Except…my incentive to buy it is really reduced by Readlang. The only big drawback is it’s much more reliant on my own imported content than LingQ. I’ve been recently reading Goethe for a course using Readlang – so helpful! (except when it comes to crazy word forms that not even Google can translate)

    • Ahh yes, I see! Readlang is one of my new favourite things!! Can’t believe I didn’t know about until I was compiling this post. πŸ˜€

    • dannyR

      Once you get into marginal/difficult languages, Google is hopeless.

  • I noticed with Readlang that the translations are not always correct. Or rather often not correct, with less popular languages. It looks like they’re taken from Google translations.
    For example, cΓ΄tes du mer nord was translated “ribs of the sea north”. I guess Google thought it was a restaurant. Or Dutch “hoed je voor de vijand”, meaning “be aware/guard yourself for the enemy” was translated as “hat yourself for the enemy” as Dutch “hoed” also means hat. But obviously not in this context.
    The advantage of interlinear books is that it has been done manually. Too bad everything has to be fast and cheap these days instead of paying a little more for manual work like the quality books on interlinear books πŸ™‚

    • You’re right, the translations from Readlang are from Google Translate I believe. And that’s exactly why Interlinear Books cost more! Quality translation takes time πŸ™‚

      • dannyR

        Interlinear Books is completely stuck on European languages, even Western European languages, and there are certainly very few of these on their site still.

        • I’ve met the guy behind Interlinear Books, Linas, and it’s an independent company so all translations are done in-house, which is why they have a small range of language currently. πŸ™‚

  • dannyR

    Learn with Oliver does a decent job, at what it does, but illustrates the engineering proverb: “To simplicate, add lightness.”
    Instead of just sticking actual interlinear word equivalents between lines, the closest you come is to hover over a word, and get a popup word or morpheme, plus a whole mess of options that would have been better stuck over on a sidebar.

    You go to the next word, get the next equivalent popup, while the gestalt of the previous pop-up info fades from memory. If one has a passing familiarity with the language, this is almost reasonable. With a difficult SVO/right-headed/agglutanitive language such as Korean, it’s just a mess. It’s a mess some people might learn to wade through, but then some people learn even to wade through university-style language course textbooks and auxiliary assets and actually manage to learn a language.

    There is reason for interlinear;Β  and: “If it ain’t busted, don’t fix it.”