It’s the biggest conundrum of language learning:
How can you become an amazing Italian speaker when you’re short on time?
It’s easy: easy Italian short stories, that is.
Let’s face it: We all have limited free time.
Even if you spend most of your downtime studying the Italian language and its grammar, you may be left wanting more.
You just can’t commit to watching an entire classic Italian movie or you find yourself dozing off while listening to Italian radio.
So, how can you study Italian when you have only small shards of time available?
Look no further: If you’re short on time, easy Italian short stories will help you make the most of it.
I mean, “short” is in the name, isn’t it?
Better yet, the Italian short stories on this list come in convenient formats, from stories you can read online or on the go, to stories that come with an audio component so you can listen along.
Read on and learn!
The Benefits of Easy Italian Short Stories for Beginners
Since short stories are, by nature, short, you can use them to squeeze a lot of Italian learning into a relatively small span of time.
Reading short stories is a great way to get quick, informal doses of Italian language practice.
Easy short stories in Italian offer exposure to simple, natural sentence structure. This makes them great for beginners just getting accustomed to the language and even intermediate speakers who want to maintain their language competency.
Further, short stories often include repetition of the most common Italian words. “To say” in Italian? It’s probably in the short story you’re reading (dire). Basic conversation structure? That’s probably there too!
Best of all, short stories make great learning tools because they’re more entertaining than a textbook. Unless you’re a grammar nerd like me, reading verb tables and agreement rules is no way to spend your 20 minutes of free time. Simply open up a short story and learn away!
Thanks to technology, many short stories are available on the web, so they’re perfect for a blast of Italian just about anywhere: on your commute, in the waiting room, during lunch. Just download and read away!
How to Learn Italian with Easy Short Stories
Since these stories are often pretty straightforward, you’ll need a simple plan for learning effectively with them. To get the most out of your short story, I suggest this three-step approach:
- Read the story for the gist, not the details. Focus on trying to understand the main ideas of the story: the characters, the major plot developments and the setting.
- Read it again, but this time, do a careful read. Highlight or underline unknown words, phrases or grammatical constructions that are unfamiliar to you. Once you finish this read, translate all the unfamiliar words and phrases and write them down in a notebook or on flashcards to help you remember them later.
- Use the translations to read the story one final time. This allows you to understand the text fully and have quick access to the translations and explanations.
For extra practice, I suggest writing a summary of the story. This will give you a more complete understanding of it and make new vocabulary and grammar topics easier to recall later.
Want even more practice? Plug those newly translated words into a FluentU vocabulary list.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Then, use the program’s flashcards and adaptive exercises to make sure you’ve thoroughly internalized all the new vocabulary!
It’s an entertaining method to immerse yourself in Italian the way native speakers really use it, while actively building your vocabulary.
In addition, FluentU Italian also has a YouTube channel.
The channel has been created to teach you Italian from scratch in an immersive way. You’ll get clips from movies transformed into language lessons, grammar tips and vocabulary lists, among other interesting stuff.
One example is the following video, catered to complete beginners who are just starting their Italian language adventure:
Learning Italian with the help of engaging and effective videos is now possible with FluentU’s Italian YouTube channel. Subscribe today and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out on any new content!
6 Easy Italian Short Stories for Beginners: Online, Audio and Book Options
Easy Italian Short Stories You Can Read Online
Reading Italian short stories online is convenient: Just pull up your laptop or tablet (or favorite internet-connected device) and visit the following resource for plenty of reading practice options.
“Cose per crescere” (“Things for Growing”)
This resource is a website that’s written exclusively in Italian. That may seem a little intimidating for beginner Italian learners, but a little work during the first visit will allow you to reap the benefits of this great website.
Primarily, the site is a directory of children’s stories, with each story comprising of a short post with a title, photo and some text on the directory page. Simply click on a story that looks the most interesting to you and start reading.
Best of all, you can sign up on the website with an email and download the stories for access anywhere, anytime! Many of these stories are folktales and fables, at a level best suited for pre-intermediate learners.
Being a website all in Italian, I definitely suggest the three-step approach for these stories.
Easy Italian Short Stories with Audio
Wondering what a certain word sounds like? Wonder no more. The following resources feature easy Italian short stories that come with audio so you always know exactly how to pronounce every word in the story.
Read along to maximize learning potential.
“Learn Italian with Subtitles for Children and Adults” by BookBox
This YouTube playlist by BookBox is a fantastic resource for all Italian learners, and it includes 19 easy Italian short stories aimed at beginners and children. Despite this, I recommend this playlist even for intermediate learners.
Each story includes slow, clear audio accompanied by a video. Additionally, stories include written, on-screen subtitles in Italian that Bookbox has put in the video itself: no need for dodgy YouTube subtitles.
Each story is about five to seven minutes long: perfect when you have a bit of dead time in your day.
As an added bonus, each story has beautiful illustrations so it really feels like you’re reading an Italian fairy tale.
If you’re interested, Bookbox is also an app! Check out all the Italian stories on the app for iOS and Android.
One World Italiano
If you’ve been studying Italian for a while, you’re probably familiar with One World Italiano, an online Italian course that has a great YouTube channel and supplementary material. Since it’s on this list, you’ve probably already guessed that the website also has a selection of easy short stories and texts for learners to use to improve their Italian.
The best part about One World Italiano is how short the stories actually are: each tale is only a couple of paragraphs long, making these stories perfect for bite-sized Italian learning when you’re really in a tight squeeze.
Every story also includes a quiz to check your understanding and solidify concepts and vocabulary. Additionally, stories come with an audio reading and the option to follow along with the written story or hide the text and focus on the spoken words.
The stories include well-known tales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “The Emperor’s Nightingale,” which makes them good resources for learners who are already familiar with the stories to some extent. Beginners, try this one!
“A Beautiful Family” by Thamatho – Languages and Travels
This entry on our list is a recitation of an Italian short story about a family by Italian YouTuber Thamatho.
In fact, this video follows a logical reading plan to help you get the most out of the short story.
At first, there are two initial reads in slow, clear Italian. After you’ve heard the story twice, there’s a review of key vocabulary and then a short quiz. Lastly, there a third read-through along with a fill-in-the-blank transcript to check comprehension and review vocabulary.
This story is perfect for beginners because it helps you learn basic words about the family and the home.
Thamatho has a few other easy stories on YouTube that follow the same style so you can learn vocabulary and grammar structures with those, as well.
Easy Italian Short Story Books
Want to take your reading on the go? You can, with these books. Just load the e-book onto your e-reader or throw the physical book into your bag and you’ll be ready to learn with Italian short stories, no matter where you are.
“Italian Short Stories for Beginners” by Talk in Italian
For those who love their Kindle, this resource for easy Italian stories is for you! It’s an e-book that’s specifically made for English learners of Italian!
The book includes 10 short stories which cover everyday topics such as jobs, home and travel.
The best part is that the stories are broken into sections, and each section is followed by a word list of key translations. Again, this is perfect for those who want easy access to new vocabulary for smoother reading, and it helps readers focus their learning.
Better yet, each story has a subsequent summary and multiple-choice questions. These questions are great to test comprehension and reinforce your Italian learning.
Also included with the purchase of the e-book are 13 hours of audio recordings of the stories read aloud in Italian.
“Learn Italian III” by Polyglot Planet Publishing
Our next resource is actually a book created for Italian learners from Polyglot Planet Publishing. Who doesn’t prefer paper to screen, after all?
The book includes seven English-Italian short stories, presented in a parallel, dual-language format. For each line of Italian text, there’s a translated line of English text underneath.
The book also has the same seven stories but in an Italian-only format. This is a great way to review the content of the stories and the words you didn’t know during the first read-through.
The parallel text occurs line-by-line, which ensures that the translation is always close. This is perfect for beginners who often find themselves spending too much time flipping through the dictionary for every other word.
Further, the topics of these stories are varied and include art, relationships and food, making them excellent resources for learners looking to build their vocabulary.
Before, your biggest problem was finding the time to learn. Now, it turns out that your biggest conundrum is deciding which easy Italian short story to read first! Happy learning!