In this course you will read literature written by Germans
for German speakers. If you try to look up absolutely every word
you don't immediately understand, you may concentrate so much on
individual words that you do not grasp the general meaning of the
text. Besides, you would make the readings harder than they need
to be, you would spend too much time on them--and you would get
Think about the techniques you use--often unconsciously--
when you read in English, things you may forget when reading in a
You draw on your knowledge of the world and on the
expectations you have when you start to read a book,
newspaper, or magazine article, short story, and so on.
You probably skim some parts of the reading material,
making educated guesses about their content.
You may scan paragraphs for relevant information,
searching for clues to the meaning of a given paragraph
or series of paragraphs.
You use all of the above information to help you
understand individual words and sentences in the context
in which they appear.
On the next page is a five-step approach for reading in
German integrating these techniques. Homework and class discussion
will be based on this approach using Übungsblätter for the works of literature we will read in this course. When you read a text, you will fill in these
sheets when assigned, following the steps listed below. Even when a worksheet is not assigned, try to follow these steps. You will have a much better experience and learn more if you do!