Once Upon a Time: Learn Portuguese with Easy Portuguese Short Stories
Once upon a time, there was a language learner who wasn’t that keen on cliches—but they did love a good short story.
Sound like you?
Prepare to embark on a literary journey towards linguistic precision—one short story at a time.
- Short Story Books for Portuguese Learners
- Bilingual Tales for the Imaginative Portuguese Language Reader
- Must-Read Classic Children’s Short Stories from Brazil and Portugal
- Bonus Resources for Tapping into Easy Portuguese Short Stories
- Why Use Easy Short Stories to Learn Portuguese?
- Quick Tips for Using Short Stories to Learn Portuguese
Short Story Books for Portuguese Learners
These short stories have been specially curated to help students build up their vocabulary and improve their overall knowledge of the Portuguese language. Basically, they offer the ideal balance between academics and light reading.
“Portuguese Short Stories for Beginners: 10 Thrilling and Captivating Stories to Expand Your Vocabulary and Learn Portuguese While Having Fun”
Written by: The World Language Institute of Spain and Christian Stahl
Here we have a collection of humorous short stories with a varied mix of genres. Vocabulary phrase lists, English translations and reading comprehension exercises accompany each tale to ensure students are getting the full picture. This book is ideal for Brazilian and European Portuguese learners at a beginner level.
“Short Stories in Portuguese (Portuguese Edition)”
Written by: Irineu de Oliveira Jnr.
This book offers an immersive way to learn the Portuguese grammar, vocabulary and verbs. Each short story focuses on a different aspect of the daily routine, following a logical structure as it guides learners through all the standard language essentials they need to know. Ideal for beginner to intermediate Brazilian Portuguese learners.
Bilingual Tales for the Imaginative Portuguese Language Reader
Beginner and intermediate learners alike might feel more at ease with books that offer an English translation to refer back to. The great thing is, there are quite a few options like these around! Here are our top picks:
“Learn Portuguese Parallel Text: Easy Stories English-Portuguese”
Written by: Polyglot Planet Publishing
A collection of easy short stories devised to offer a vocab ‘refresher’ for beginner to intermediate European Portuguese learners. These tales focus on the European side of life, meaning you’ll get to tap into plenty of cultural knowledge about Portugal too—how’s that for a handy little bonus?
“Am I Small? Sou pequena?: Children’s Picture Book English-Brazilian Portuguese”
Written by: Phillip Winterberg (Author) and Nadja Wichmann (Illustrator)
A charming illustrated children’s tale that focuses on a little girl’s pursuit to find out whether she is as small as she thinks she is. As the young protagonist talks to the different animals she meets on her adventure, she discovers a surprising answer to her curious queries. The story is aimed at a younger audience, meaning the language is quite accessible for beginner Brazilian Portuguese learners.
“The Life of Cleopatra – Bilingual Book (Portuguese-English)”
Written by: Redback Books and Bilingual Planet
Written in an authentically modern tone, this bilingual text is well-suited for European Portuguese learners across all levels. These stories also add a bit of colloquial knowledge into the mix while conveying the legendary tale of Cleopatra: You’ll view this literary classic from a whole different perspective. The language used in these stories is more conversational and is presented in a manner that reflects how a present-day Portuguese person might tell the story themselves.
Must-Read Classic Children’s Short Stories from Brazil and Portugal
Allow us to give you a small taste of the classic tales that our Brazilian and Portuguese friends have grown up with:
“O menino azul”
Written by: Cecilia Meirelles
Cecilia Meirelles is one of Brazil’s most renowned poets and children’s authors. “O menino azul” (which basically translates as “The Blue Boy”) combines everything that she does best: Story-telling through a series of rhyming patterns that anyone with a basic knowledge of Brazilian Portuguese can easily follow. This beginner-friendly story, which is nicely accompanied by visuals, follows an imaginative little boy who wishes he had a cheerful little donkey as his friend.
“A menina do mar (quem lê sabe por quê)”
Written by: Sophia de Mello Breyner de Andresen
Both Brazilian and European Portuguese schoolchildren alike study this story in its original incarnation. The version we’re linking here is the Portuguese version, and includes a glossary of European Portuguese terms to help young minds make sense of the text they’re reading—a resource which could be just as useful for beginners studying the continental dialect themselves.
Bonus Resources for Tapping into Easy Portuguese Short Stories
It never hurts to have some supplementary material to add to your study library. For the avid bookworms among us, here are a few extra tidbits that provide access to those minuscule tales we all love.
The Swirly Studios app (available on Android and iOS) features a series of activities and exercises built around the classic short story “Iracema,” by Brazilian author José de Alencar. This app will help upper beginner to intermediate Brazilian Portuguese learners brush up on their vocab and grammatical constructions. The website itself doesn’t give you a glimpse of the tale, but you can actually find it free to download from Luso Livros—as a bonus, the original version is closely followed by a European Portuguese alternative.
Rosa Stevens’ “Let’s Learn Portuguese”
The late Lesley Stephens, who preferred to go by the Lusophone pen name Rosa Stevens, lived in Portugal since the 1970s and dedicated more than 25 years of her life to teaching children to read and write in Portuguese. After she was diagnosed with a terminal illness, she made her collection of easy short stories and reading materials freely available to download directly from her website. The stories are aimed at young children, but that makes them the optimal choice for early beginners wanting to build up their basic European Portuguese vocabulary.
Why Use Easy Short Stories to Learn Portuguese?
Reading short stories is a great way to hone your Portuguese language skills. Here’s why:
- They’re brief enough not to be intimidating.
- They can be enjoyed at one’s own leisurely pace.
- They make it easy to pick up where you left off, for those moments when you need to pause your reading and look up unknown Portuguese words in a dictionary.
- They offer an alternative method to test the knowledge you’ve been amassing through other resources: Use them to reinforce your favorite online courses or any other study material you’ve been tapping into.
- You can use them to supplement other language courses and programs. If you’re using a program like Rosetta Stone, these stories go well with its method of teaching through traditional lessons.
They also go well with the FluentU program, which provides customized lessons through authentic videos. You can watch a few animated short stories, clips from cartoons and other authentic Brazilian Portuguese content including movie trailers, news segments and music videos.
FluentU will help you train your reading through accurate Portuguese subtitles (with optional English subtitles under these). Speed up by reading along with the video, or use the arrow keys to either side of the video to replay any sentence as many times as you need.
You can also check what any word in the subtitle means by clicking on it. This will also give you the option to see other videos where the word appears or add it as a flashcard if you want to review it later through personalized quizzes. FluentU can be used in a browser or through the iOS or Android app for a more mobile experience.
Quick Tips for Using Short Stories to Learn Portuguese
Where do you start?
We recommend that you opt for something familiar to begin with. For instance, you could make a list of the stories and fairy tales you grew up reading and try to find their Portuguese alternatives. You can do this by going to the story’s Wikipedia page and changing the language to Portuguese in the bottom left of the sidebar—that should give you the title in both Brazilian and European dialects.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of familiar stories, focus your attention on local books. A search for Portuguese books on Amazon will give you plenty of leads. A simple Google search for famous Brazilian and Portuguese authors is also a good way to point you in the right direction.
In the end, your hard work will be greatly rewarded. As your comprehension becomes more advanced, you’ll be able to benefit from the vast array of literary content available in public domain libraries from Brazil and Portugal—all of which can be legally downloaded for free. You can get actually an idea of how these work by venturing into more recommendations for easy-to-read books.
Now that we’ve foreshadowed what you can expect, let’s close in on the key plot elements of our post.
While our chapter is coming to a close, your literary saga is just beginning! We hope this list has inspired you to delve into some great tales and revel in their linguistic benefits as you continue navigating the wonderful path towards Portuguese proficiency.