I recently finished my first book in Korean, and I’m now over halfway through my second one. I’ve really come to enjoy my Korean reading time, and I love the satisfaction that comes from seeing a newly learned word in a new context and immediately understanding it. In fact reading in your target language when being a language learner is probably one of the best and most efficient ways you can spend your study time. When you’re reading you’re exposing yourself to many more words per minute than you would doing any other activity. It automatically makes you think in correctly constructed sentences and you gradually increase your reading speed. I like to think that watching a Korean drama with Korean captions is just as effective, but I’m afraid I must admit that with all the scenes where nothing is being said, because the main couple is kissing to romantic background music, does not further my vocabulary or reading speed. Still, it’s much better than just watching with English subtitles.
Obviously it’s important to find a book that fits your level since choosing a too advanced book will have you quit before you’ve finished the first page. For absolute beginners even reading a children’s book may prove helpful and also help boost your confidence. When you find a suitable book then make a habit of reading a few pages or even a whole chapter every day. You’ll soon discover that your reading speed increases and your vocabulary expands. By all means do look up essential unknown words, but avoid killing the fun by looking up every word you don’t know. If you do so, you most likely won’t remember any of the words let alone the content of what you’ve been reading.
Not looking up everything by far seems to be the hardest part but I must admit that reading feels a lot more fun, and even to some degree relaxing, when I’m not constantly reaching for my phone to consult my Naver dictionary.
As a final remark of motivation, always remember that in order to become a better writer you must first become a better reader.