Short vs. long stories or novels

What is a better approach - reading a lot of short articles or news stories or one long novel to learn the language?

Thank you in advance.

i think it just depends on what keeps your interest better. i find that novels are better for me but they can also drag on if im taking too long to read it. i usually have a mixture of short and long material to read and often go back and forth to keep things fresh.


I agree with aronald. The best approach is the one that keeps you engaged and coming back for more, which is the most important thing of all. You might also choose an approach based on your priorities.

Personally, I read a little bit every day from a novel for the pleasure of reading a good writer. I also import one or two news articles to glean some vocabulary from current affairs, then I also use Netflix subtitles to get used to everyday expressions. Different content has different uses, and mixing it up keeps me interested.


With a novel you can learn the vocabulary that is required by the story and preferred by the author very well. I wouldn’t say that that makes it “better”, but it is one advantage of a novel if you enjoy reading it and persevere with it. With LingQ’s help, I found myself able to start reading novels when I was much less advanced than I am now.

On the other hand, an advantage of shorter material is that you have the opportunity to be exposed to more vocabulary and ways of stating things. Of course, there is the danger of too much new vocabulary causing you to miss the repetition needed to learn new words and expressions well. That can be managed by your choice of material. I see much vocabulary repeated in news articles, for example.

I prefer a balance between the two, but it’s sometimes difficult for me to find a novel that keeps my interest. I’m about half way through one now, and I may not finish it. It’s more important to find something that I’ll read consistently than it is to intermittently slog through something in which I’ve lost interest.


Thank You. I am finding that i prefer short articles from the news. I also am going through Ted Talks which give a variety of information but there is a consistency in the vocabulary which is good.
I need to find the right novel to keep me interested but I think that as I am still at a intermediate level the novels I like to too advanced. I need to get into the story. Perhaps more reading will get me there.
Thank you for your feedback.

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Balance is important.

Depending on your energy and mood and need you can shift from one to the other constantly the same day.

Short articles, as @khardy said, expose you to new “yellow” words and you can easily shift to different arguments so to enrich your vocabulary.

Long articles requires more energy and more time but serves to the same purpose and can help engage your interest. Depending on the energy and language level you can choose short of long articles at any time.

Short novels and easy give you the opportunity to focus on the “white” words instead. You keep them easy with few blue and yellow words and you pay attention to the grammar that you want to better understand.

Long novels give you lots of repetitions of the same words and you can focus on the story that you might want to read and enjoy, and sometimes focus here and there but mostly just enjoy the story and keep your motivation up.

You can also add to the mix video transcripts and podcast transcripts to enrich your variety of material and use what you need for different purposes.

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I don´t seem to be saying anything here that hasn´t been said by others already, but it really just depends on what keeps your attention. I like to switch, depending on my mood, level of energy, the amount of time I have and how good I´ve become at the language. The better I have become and the more time and energy I have, the more I tend to read longer stories.

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I like to switch it up too. I have a couple of books I’m reading, but I also like to read news articles that peak my interest, short or long.

Short is nice because it doesn’t feel like it drags on. You probably hit some unique vocabulary, but if a similar topic you’ve been reading the past few days it will help reinforce the vocabulary.

A book is nice because it does introduce new vocabulary and the author will tend to use similar vocabulary throughout, so you get to see many of those words again and again which reinforces them. However, I definitely feel the need at times to jump out of the book and read something different from time to time to keep my interest. That’s when I turn to news articles or something else. (even another book)