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Conversational German – Does Reading Still Have a Place There?

German BooksThe doors to the annual German Book Fair in Leipzig just opened. It’s the 2nd largest German book fair after the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is the largest and most important one worldwide. In fact, Germany has a long history in the book industry.

Not only that Gutenberg invented the printing in 1440 but also the first book fair in Germany took place around the 15th century. The Leipzig book fair dates back to 1632, when for the first time it had more visitors than the Frankfurt book fair ever before. In 2008 Leipzig had its record year with 129,000 visitors and 2,345 international publishers from 39 countries.

But on the other hand, according to a German study in 2008 by the” Stiftung Lesen” every 4th German NEVER reads a book. https://www.stiftunglesen.de  45% of the 14 to 19 year olds confessed that they never received a book as a gift during their childhood. The study also concludes that there are the hardcore readers but the group of occasional readers has declined by 6% again.

So, for learners of the German language – Does reading still have a place?

A lot of language learning course, schools and programs market the slogan “Learn Conversational German”. That means: SPEAKING really is considered the “non plus ultra” and reading and writing has moved to the background. Internet and technology have taken over most of our lives – we watch news online, the most we are writing are emails and SMS. Most of us don’t even get a newspaper anymore. Is reading still important to learning and developing the German language?

Which benefit can reading German books give you? What is your favorite German topic/author/genre to read about? I invite you to comment and help me to answer these questions. Please add your experiences and feedback below.

Vielen Dank, Annett

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  • Anne March 30, 2010, 11:47 AM

    I’m about to go off to the Goethe Institute for 2 weeks – not a waste of money I hope!?

    • German Coach March 30, 2010, 2:11 PM

      The Goethe Institute is regarded as one of the best places to learn German. But in the end of the day everyone has a different learning style and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for somebody else. Please let me know how you how you think about it after the first few lessons. Good luck!