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Reading – How to choose

Reading children’s books is a great way to develop your Dutch language skills and learn new words. Here are five tips on how to find and select children’s books:

Tip 1: The public library – Openbare Bibliotheek in Dutch – has a large selection of children’s books. Simply buy a membership card and go to the children’s books section. The library also has e-books for children!

Tip 2: Several book stores have large sections with second hand children’s books, for example De Slegte and Scheltema. Most thrift shops – kringloopwinkel in Dutch – also have sections with children’s books. Alternatively you can order books online, for example from bol.com.

Tip 3: Children’s books have a code indicating the level of difficulty of the book. Use this AVI book code when choosing a book. Library books have an ABC code which is similar to the AVI code. If your Dutch level is

  • Beginner: choose AVI Start to AVI E5, or library code A
  • Intermediate : choose AVI M6 to AVI Plus, or library code B
  • Pre-advanced or advanced: choose AVI Plus, or library code C

Tip 4: Read translated children’s books. Here’s how

Tip 5: If you are a pre-advanced learner you can also start reading simple books for adult readers. Here are some examples.

Reading – Translated books

A great way to improve your Dutch and expand your vocabulary is by reading translated books. That way you can read the book in Dutch and in your native language. You can either look for children’s books or for adult books that are available in both languages.

Here’s how to get the most from reading the same book in Dutch and in your native language:

  1. Read each chapter first in Dutch and then read the same chapter in your native language.
  2. Look for important new words in the Dutch version and compare with the version in your native language.
  3. Write down new words and phrases, but not too many. Focus on words and phrases that are signifiant to the story or are repeated regularly.
  4. Add important new words to your personal vocabulary.

Translated children’s books

A great number of well-known English children’s books have been translated into Dutch, for example books by Eric Carle, Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, as well as the Harry Potter-books.

 

Reading – Pre-advanced learners (A1/A2)

If you are a more advanced learner of Dutch you might want to read relatively easy books for adult readers. The eight books listed below are written using short easy sentences.

Click the book title for more information and to download the first few pages. You can also go to the publisher’s website at www.eenvoudigcommuniceren.nl and search for these and other titles.

1. Anne Frank: her life

Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl who became a Dutch icon from the Second World War because of the diary she wrote while living in hiding. This is a special version for learners of Dutch.

 

2. De familyblues by Yvonne Kroonenberg

Stories about families based on interviews that focus on the family dynamics.

 

3. Kinderjaren by Jona Oberski

A very young child tells what happens to him and his family during the Second World War.

 

4. About a boy by Nick Hornby translated by Frans van Duijn

Funny and moving story about a young boy and his single mother.

 

5. Blauw water by Simone van der Vlugt

Story about a mother and her five year old daughter who are kept hostage in their own house by an escaped criminal.

 

6. Niemand ziet mij by Marion Döbert

Story about a boy who despite being unable to read or write becomes a great artist.

 

7. De verzamelde werken van A.J. Fikry, boekhandelaar by Gabrielle Zevin

The life of bookseller A.J. Fikry changes completely when someone abandons a child in his shop.

 

8. Vals by Mel Wallis de Vries

Four young women spend a holiday together in a remote cottage. Then one of them disappears …

 

 

Reading and listening

A lot of children’s books also have an audio version. You can either read the story first and then listen, or listen first and then read the book. Below you can find a list with examples of audio books.

Read – listen – read and listen

  1. Read the story and look up important words and phrases you don’t understand, but not too many.
  2. Listen to the story with the book closed.
  3. Read the story while listening.
    Optionally read the story again while listening and repeat the sentences out loud.

Listen – read – listen 

  1. Listen to the story with the book closed.
  2. Read the story and look up important words and phrases you don’t understand, but not too many.
  3. Listen a second time to the story with the book closed.

Examples of audio books

Below you find a list of audio books. Click the title to listen to the audio. For a paper copy, refer to the public library. With a public library membership you can borrow books, e-books and audio books. For more information go to www.openbarebibliotheek.nl.

Read more

Listening – How to

Want to improve your Dutch listening skills?

  1. Listen every day for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Choose short items about topics you’re interested in.
    Don’t know what to listen to? Read Where to go for tips!
  3. Listen several times:
    • The first time listen globally to get a general idea of the topic.
    • The second time listen for recognition of words you already know.
    • The third time focus on important new words – but not too many. Look up the meaning of these words and write them down in your personal dictionary.
    • Optionally listen once more to check if you now better understand the topic.

Finally you can tell a friend about the topic. This is also a great way to practice any new words you’ve learned.

Listening – Where to go

If you’re looking for listening stuff, keep on reading. Listed below are a few sites you can try out to discover which ones fit your language skills and interests. For tips on how to listen read Listening – How to.

Schooltv.nl

Short videos about a broad variety of topics for children of different ages. Use the filter options or search for videos about a specific topic.  With the ‘Thema’ option on the left you can filter by category.

Jeugdjournaal.nl

Dutch news for children. Use the Search button to look for an item or watch the latest news update.

Taalklas.nl

Watch short videos about topics from daily life and practice new words. Simply create a free account, choose your language level and get started.

Uitzendinggemist.net

Overview of online Dutch tv programs. Click ‘zoeken’ (search) and look for a program. Examples of popular programs:

  • Boer zoekt vrouw – series about farmers looking for a partner.
  • De rijdende rechter – series about a travelling judge who solves arguments between neighbors.
  • Masterchef – cooking competition series.

Universiteit van Nederland

Short lectures about a variety of topics for a broad audience by university lecturers; from dark matter to love in the animal world.