Do you read Brazilian websites regularly?
If you answered ‘no’, keep reading. In this post I’ll show you:
- The reasons why should read in Brazilian Portuguese regularly
- How you can use a simple (and free!) tool that will make reading Brazilian websites a more enjoyable experience
- Simple strategies to make the most of your reading practice
- A list of recommended Brazilian websites
If you are learning Brazilian Portuguese you probably focus a lot of time practicing your speaking and listening skills, so that you can have more meaningful conversations with Brazilians, or watch a Brazilian Film on Netflix without subtitles! While that’s great, there is actually another thing you can do to dramatically improve Portuguese, and that is by reading Brazilian websites regularly.
The Benefits of Reading in Brazilian Portuguese
The most important reason why you should practice reading is that it will considerably improve your language-learning skills as a whole. Reading Brazilian websites will allow you to:
- Learn new words and expressions that you can use in future conversations. Having a wider vocabulary will also make it easier to recognize more words when watching Brazilian films and videos without subtitles.
- Become more familiar with grammar and common sentence structures, which in turn will have a positive effect on your Brazilian Portuguese conversational skills.
Google Translate Extension is Your Friend
But before you rush to try and find a nice Brazilian website to read, let me talk to you about Google Translate. We’re all familiar with it and while it’s not perfect, it can certainly help with the odd translation. But what many people don’t know is that that Google Translate has a great Google Chrome Extension. This simple tool will make reading Brazilian Portuguese texts online much easier and fun.
With Google Translate Chrome Extension you can quickly look up words you don’t know, just by highlighting them. Here’s a GIF I made to show how the extension words, using a Super Interessante online magazine article.
While the extension will definitely help, it’s not always 100% accurate. Use your common sense and if the translation it gives you doesn’t make a lot of sense in the context of what you’re reading, double-check it by using another dictionary, such as Michaelis-UOL Dictionary.
The extension is also available for Google Chrome web browser for mobiles:
Strategies to Make the Most out of Your Reading
When practicing any language-skill it’s important to have a little think beforehand and have some strategies in place. Here’s my suggestion of how to approach a Brazilian website to practice your reading.
Don’t be too ambitious at the beginning. Choose small chunks of text that are easily digestible. Think BuzzFeed articles (there is actually a Brazilian BuzzFeed). Short blog posts are also good. By choosing small texts you will increase your chances of understanding the general meaning of it, without having to look up too many words. You can then slowly increase the length of the texts you read.
Pick a subject that you are passionate about
In order to keep motivated with your reading practice make sure you choose a subject that you are actually interested in. Use Google Advanced Search and type in the subject you want to read about (in Portuguese, of course) and narrow the results by selecting ‘Portuguese’ as the language and ‘Brazil’ as the region, like the example below:
Don’t Look Up Every Word
Challenge yourself and don’t be tempted to look up all the words in the article you’re reading. Doing that will just defeat the purpose of the practice. It’s more important that you get the general meaning of what you are reading and get into a nice flow. Before highlighting a word you don’t know, see if you can guess its meaning by looking at the sentence as a whole. You can also have a rule that you will only look up one word per sentence, or a couple of words per paragraph, for example.
Learn How the Words are Pronounced
As I mentioned above the Google Translate extension also lets you check how the words are pronounced. This is a great tool to learn and practice new words that you can use in future conversations. If the Google pronunciation sounds a bit dodgy and robotic, you can also use another website called Forvo, a self-proclaimed Pronunciation Dictionary.
Keep a Record of Interesting Words
It’s important that you keep a record of the words you think you might use in conversation. Have a vocabulary notebook (with real paper, not an electronic one) where you can write the words down this will help you remember them. I’m sure there is a research somewhere that confirms that you’re more likely to remember things that you write down by hand! Make up sentences with the new words and try to actively use them next time you’re talking to your Brazilian friends!
I recently asked people on my facebook and Instagram accounts which subjects they are interested in, so that I could so some research and recommend some good Brazilian websites on those subjects. Here’s what I found:
Heavy Metal: https://whiplash.net/
Culture/Arts: https://www.guiademidia.com.br/sites/artes-e-cultura.htm (list of websites)
Bossa Nova: http://musicabrasilis.org.br/temas/bossa-nova
Romance Short Stories: http://cabana-on.com/Ler/index.php/category/contos/contos-de-romance/
Cinema/Film Reviews: https://www.papodecinema.com.br/
Over to You
Do you read any good Brazilian websites regularly that you’d like to share? Do you follow any specific strategies when practicing reading texts in Brazilian Portuguese? Let me know in the comments!