Extensive reading outside of lingQ

How do you tackle your readings outside of lingQ?
There are only a few languages, where I can actually find paperbacks or magazines which are not online. However, there are also books and magazines that do not have any online appearance, so I am forced to read them without lingQ. Some of those are pretty tricky and advanced…

I would be interested in how you go about reading outside of lingQ? Do you use a dictionary, do you just read ahead not caring about understanding or do you look up all the words in a dictionary?


I’m glad you asked this as I’m wondering exactly the same thing. I just started reading my first book (aimed at children aged 12 years and above) and there are quite a few words per page that are unknown to me. I’ve been looking up every word (mostly using google translate and various reference sites) and it’s taking a while. I have to say though, I’ve been going back and reading say the last 5 pages or so and once I’ve looked everything up, it is quite easy to read it on the second pass. I can usually remember what the words mean in the context, but I doubt I’d recognise a lot of them in other contexts. A few of them seem to have stuck and I can recall them now but tbh it’s about 1/10 if I’m lucky. I guess that’s how learning happens though.

I’m not sure if I’m wasting too much time looking everything up but I know it will bug me if I don’t. I know the story from my native language so I guess I could skip over a lot of stuff and not lose the thread, but It’s difficult to see what I’m supposed to be doing if I’m not learning (or at least checking the meaning of) unknown words. I’m sure you’re talking about the same thing.

I guess we’d benefit from getting used to reading the new language so long as we don’t get lost in the story, so for that reason, not looking up every unknown word would be beneficial. I’m still at a stage where I lack a number of fairly common usage words though, so looking them up is probably quite beneficial to me. If it happens to be an obscure word I don’t worry about it too much. If it’s a fairly common word that I think will come up quite a bit in everyday language I’ll take a bit of time to familiarise myself with it. Which basically means I’ll stare at it for a short while, try to take it in, perhaps re-read the sentence a few times and think of it in other contexts. I don’t do that for very long, just a few extra seconds in a vein attempt to ingest it a little more. This does add a fair bit of time to my reading but so long as I’m not getting tired/bored I think it’s ok.

I’m sure a lot of experienced language learners would tell me to move on because I’ll encounter it throughout my reading if it’s common, but I don’t have the experience and thus the necessary confidence to do this yet.

Hopefully there will be some good advice regarding this question…


To me this is kind of a funny post. I, to some degree, hate reading books, although I had to for French and Spanish to pass exams. I prefer articles, excerpts, news, etc…short things.

However, as time goes on I am starting to try and read more books, and slowly starting to enjoy them.

What I do outside of LingQ is if it’s a web article, I can use wordreference.com or another dictionary to look up words, but I usually don’t need to in the languages I read outside of LingQ. If I have to look up more than a few words per page in something, then it’s probably too advanced for me, or too specific about a certain topic (very rare for me to find these, but it happens every now and then).

In a physical book, I will read through it, and each time I see a word/grammar structure I don’t know, I will underline/highlight it. After my reading session is done, I will go online and find the translations/explanations and write them in the margin of the book.

But if I am feeling lazy, I will just read and not care about looking up all the words.

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Depends on how many words you are looking up whether you can just “move on”. If you have to look up too many, the passage may not be the most “efficient” use of your time.

I remember reading some kid’s stories in Spanish a few years back, such as “Cuentos de la selva”, and because the author used certain words that were regional based (such as names for insects/animals), I found it very hard to understand, and it wouldn’t have been worth my time to even use (but I had to for university).

Usually with books, I end up trying to read them early on, failing, and then coming back to them a year later to reread and at that point I understand a lot more, so I am able to continue on a little farther.

But if you enjoy reading it, looking up the words, then I would suggest doing it.

There is also something that when you finish your first book in the language, it is a great feeling. I suggest trying to read at least one book earlier on, as it can give a lot of confidence and motivation.


I’m not that much into literature and prefer reading newspapers online. Unless the word I can’t understand forbids me from understanding the sentence chances are I won’t look the word up.

Outside of lingq but still online, I use other tools. There are many free sites and mouse over dictionaries that do essentially the same thing lingq does, except I haven’t found one that will cover all of my languages, remember my known words and highlight them appropriately like lingq does.

Offline I do very little reading in foreign languages. I used to use dictionaries, sometimes online, sometimes paper, to look up unknown words. I did this for the first chapter of my first French novel several years ago. It was really time consuming, so I stopped doing it after that and found out I knew enough to understand it pretty well. I’ve read other novels in French, Thai and Mandarin, but it’s a pretty frustrating experience compared to using lingq. Being a super reader isn’t very important to me; the basics are sufficient, so I never plan on reading more than signs, menus, subtitles, etc offline.

Do you have an ereader? I do a huge amount of reading away from LingQ using a kindle, which has a built in dictionary, so you can just click on a word for a quick translation.

I’m definitely reading something (tbh most things I read|) with more than ‘a few’ unknown words. I seem to be at point where I can understand beginner stuff too easily and it’s boring (although they’ll always be some words here and there I don’t understand), but now I’m having a little bit of trouble finding something between A2-B1 level that’s both comprehensible and doesn’t have too many unknown words. It seems to depend on the topic, some intermediate 1 stuff on here is easy, yet some beginner 2 stuff might be a bit tricky depending on the subject matter and therefore the kind of vocabulary it contains. Then some intermediate 1 stuff will be littered with unknown vocab.

I’m sure everyone has this problem eventually, I guess I needn’t worry about it and just move on if one lesson is too tough.

i can tell you don’t be fooled by anything that is marketed for children. for a beginner they are just as hard .i remember reading le petit prince (el principito) in the spanish version i had trouble with this so called childrens book vocabulaary i did not know

I always had the same problem finding texts with the level between A2 and B1.

I’ve heard about an idea which I have not tried yet. Take a pencil and look through the printed text to underline your unknown words. The author of this aproach told it takes not much time because you don’t read. After some training it would be easy to find only unknown words.
The next step is to find the translations for the undelined words. It means, to make a short glossary for the page you’re going to read. Preparing such list of translated words you are trying to learn them.
So, now you are ready to read the text using the list of your undelined words with translations.

I almost never read offline, that’s why I have never used ths method.

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All so called books for children I’ve tried were always much harder than other “normal” texts.

I’m going to try to read everything I can in LingQ, but I also read ebooks on my phone using Moon+ Reader Pro. It allows me to integrate my pop up dictionary “GoldenDict”, which instantly searches through twelve dictionaries I have added to it. I also read a lot of random stuff online and use the same pop-up dictionary when I really want to know a word I’m unfamiliar with.