One of my language learning strategies is to read the same book in every language I learn (in my case, the Book of Mormon). I know this book quite well, having read it several times in English and in other languages. I assume that because I know it well I'll be able to pick up on new vocabulary faster and not have to rely on outside resources as much. However, I may read more passively because I don't have to try as hard to understand what's going on. What other advantages and disadvantages to this strategy are there?
Concerning reading in general
Reading is an excellent way to not only increase your vocabulary, but also increase your familiarity with the language in general, and help you learn from context (being able to guess from context is a valuable tool if your vocab isn't quite up to par with natives).
However, reading alone isn't the "holy grail" to learning a language: it will not help your speaking ability. It can also be frustrating because of a perceived lack of progress, and time consuming, depending on the book.
Thus, make sure you're reading something at your level. You should already know the vast majority of the words on each page; enough that you can get through each one without needing a dictionary every other word, but few enough to still be growing your vocabulary.
Reading things you know
Be careful of only reading things you're familiar with; since you know the story, full comprehension of what's being communicated in the foreign text may not seem as important to you. Vocabulary and unknown colloquialisms or grammatical concepts will be easier to skip over, just for the sake of saving time, and since you know what happens anyways.
Alternatively, since you know the story, it can help you learn new vocabulary more quickly, and possibly without as frequent of a need of a dictionary. This can be a great advantage, because of the typical richness of language in books as opposed to everyday speech.
Depending on the freedom afforded the translator, reading the same text in a different tongue can help you see it in a different light.
Re-reading a familiar text can become rote; add some diversity; definitely seek out variety. Easy short stories may be a good place to start.
- You can learn and remember words from that book easily
- You can learn what synonym is actually used by the native people. For example, the translation of "Oh My God" is அடக் கடவுளே. But in real life we use words like அய்யோ, etc... This can be easily learned through the novel.
- You might actually skip some words and may not find it's meaning as you already know what word should come there.
Why not listen to an audiobook of the Book of Mormon in the language you wish to learn? That way you can also learn the correct pronunciation. I know from past experience that reading new words will result in one guessing the correct pronunciation. I would just listen passively to begin with. You'll probably notice that new words begin to jump out at you as they get repeated time and time again. I find that this is the easiest way to learn words as a meaning will stick better in your memory if you've heard the word a few times first. You could also have a copy of the book at hand to help with the spelling of words you wish to find in the dictionary. Another advantage of listening is that you can do it passively, while commuting to work for example. Remember, the vast majority of words we learn in our native language are learned by listening, not by reading.