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Better Reading Italian: A Reader and Guide to Improving Your Understanding of Written Italian [Paperback]

Daniela Gobetti
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 25 2003 Better Reading Language

New reading series brings foreign language acquisition into the 21st century

While the world produces more and more reading material each year, from magazines to newspapers to websites, why are most language learners still relying on contrived texts and classic literature for language acquisition? Providing entertaining contemporary texts in the original language, the Better Reading Language series is for those who want to brush up on a foreign language.

With the authentic materials provided in this series, readers will be able to peruse a Latin Grammys write-up in Spanish, a feature on Alain Ducasse's favorite recipes in French, or a review of a Milan fashion show in Italian. Readings on everything from music and sports to cinema and contemporary family life are arranged in increasing difficulty within chapters. Along the way, learners will find instruction and exercises to help develop improved reading speed, comprehension, and vocabulary.


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

A unique method of learning and sharpening your Italian language skills

For the advanced beginner or intermediate-level learner, reading offers you the most convenient way to practice and sharpen your Italian and monitor your progress. Better Reading Italian brings you short passages that reflect real-life, contemporary issues and situations taken from magazines, the Internet, books, and newspapers.

Covering such topics as cuisine, fashion and design, travel, the family, education, today's lifestyle, and Italian perceptions of America, each chapter features reading selections that become more challenging as the sections progress. You will find an article about designer Bruno Munari, a profile on Italian wines, a furniture maker's website, and more than fifty other selections to help you improve your reading speed and understanding.

Following each article is a set of exercises that help your comprehension and develop invaluable reading skills including:

  • Skimming material for general meaning
  • Scanning for details
  • Using word formation, cognates, and context to determine meaning
  • Understanding idioms and artistic expressions

An appendix provides suggestions for further reading.

Better Reading Italian will not only help you improve or revive your language skills, it also will open up the enjoyable and exciting world of reading in Italian.

About the Author

Daniella Gobetti, Ph.D., is an author and manager of the Center for European Studies at the University of Michigan.


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Gianni Rodari (1920-1980) worked all his life on pedagogical and educational issues. Read the first page
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The introduction to this book states that "learning to read a foreign language means learning how to understand texts that are aimed at native speakers and therefore take for granted references, contexts, and levels of understanding that are mysterious to foreigners." In other words, this is not a book with selections written for students of Italian. I have been living in Italy & studying Italian for a year and have a decent command of the language. Even so, I have difficulty with the references in this book, especially in the many poetry selections. I think this book would be even more frustrating for someone who has not spent considerable time in-country. It is NOT written at a beginner level or aimed at casual students of the language. Furthermore, I found the selections rather boring reading. If I had it do over again, I would buy one of the short-story books.
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Format:Paperback
While there is still a set of comprehension questions at the end of each feature story, one of the things I like most about this book is that it helps you begin to bridge the gap from "textbook" books on Italian, and to start jumping into "regular" books in Italian. That, and the fact that the articles have a variety of subject matter, from sports to poetry to industry, etc.
This is not a book that I've been working through from start to finish, but one I pick up occasionally to supplement the other things I've been reading/working with, from "Italian Verb Drills" workbook by Nanni-Tate, to the copy of the Corriere Della Sera I brought home from my last trip.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
99 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent source for intermediate students Sept. 14 2005
By Keith A. Preble - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I disagree with the reviewer who said that this book was not helpful and who had been studying Italian for a year in Italy. Reading Italian and learning Italian in a class are two different things. If you're living in Italy, you're using the language more to communicate verbally and aurally. So unless you read the newspaper, in the early stages of language acquisition, your strengths are not in reading - they are in listening, communication, and reading only to the extent of the basics. This book takes you beyond the basics. This book is certainly not for beginners, and I also disagree that the selections are boring. Many of the selections are from world famous authors!! This book is helpful to people who have done or are doing an intermediate Italian course and are just moving into more intermediate studies. There is some helpful and useful vocabularly in the book.

The selections that were selected are hallmarks of Italian literature, and I found that after reading the selections that I wanted to know more about the books or articles that these selections were drawn.

So my point...

If you are a beginner, this book is *not* for you. The reading selections are probably going to be difficult. There are better items out there for a beginner.

If you have been studying Italian for at least 2 years, then this is a great place to start to learn some specialized vocabulary and familiarize yourself with Italian literature and other written sources.

Ignore the reviewer who says that this book is boring and evaluate the book for yourself if you feel you are at that level.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different approach, less textbook, more challenge Nov. 13 2003
By Jennifer Sanborn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While there is still a set of comprehension questions at the end of each feature story, one of the things I like most about this book is that it helps you begin to bridge the gap from "textbook" books on Italian, and to start jumping into "regular" books in Italian. That, and the fact that the articles have a variety of subject matter, from sports to poetry to industry, etc.
This is not a book that I've been working through from start to finish, but one I pick up occasionally to supplement the other things I've been reading/working with, from "Italian Verb Drills" workbook by Nanni-Tate, to the copy of the Corriere Della Sera I brought home from my last trip.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Reading Italian Aug. 23 2006
By Dominic C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good learning tool for the intermediate to advanced student, Not a dual language reader so you must be on the higher intermediate side. Very good.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for the Advanced! July 22 2013
By Pilar Martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the book even if the Italian is still to difficult for me. But I shall soon be there.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good idea poorly executed July 12 2009
By Amadeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The premise behind this book is solid - a reader designed to help students encounter "real" Italian through writing that was written for a native audience, a challenge all serious students of a language must face. Unfortunately, the author dropped the ball on the help aspect. If you already have a solid ability to read Italian and a through knowledge of Italian culture, then this book is for you, but if that is your situation you'd be better off reading novels and newspapers in Italian than reading this book.

What is sorely lacking here is any form of helping the student (this is for students after all) with the specialized grammar and often obscure (for English speakers) cultural references. If the author would have glossed some of the less common words and given cultural tips to aid in the comprehension of a passage, this book would have been great. As it is, you're better off with a dual language book such as "First Italian Reader" where you can have access to great literature and have a facing English translation to help you out if something throws you.

On a side note, the passages in this book are divided into six sections: the beauty of the country, Italian food, fashion, the family, general culture, and feminism. Ms. Gobetti please leave your politics out of this next time and continue to focus on general topics rather than feminism. Or, if this is supposed to be an introduction to Italian politics, please include other ideologies aside from what must be a private hobby horse.
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