SSi Forum

When to start reading?


I’m wondering if it’s too early to start trying to read books in Welsh. I’ve seen one called Ffenestri on Amazon.
I’m at the end of level one. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to read anything yet, I didn’t understand the books I’ve seen aimed at children. When would be the right time to think about reading Welsh?

I’ve always been a big reader and I’m a writer too. Also reading the Welsh word helps me to remember it. Often if I’ve been stuck I can look at the vocab list and it helps. I just don’t want to do too much too soon.


Your post reminded me I had seen something about reading before.
Found the link to the post (and the whole thread, if you’re interested). It refers to old courses, rather than levels so things may have changed a bit, but I guess most points are still valid:


Ffenestri is a great book to start the reading journey as it is written in the spoken form (as opposed to literary Welsh which can muddy the waters ) and starts with easier grammar at the beginning and cranks it up a bit as you go through!

I would just try it and see if it works/ feels right - you could always come back to it later - but I suspect you’ll be just fine :wink:

Rich :slight_smile:


Thanks for the help :blush: I’ll take a look and thanks for the info on ffenestri.
Update: that post made sense. I find it easier to read Welsh than to listen and maybe I should work on that first. Finish level one first at least. Small steps. Thanks for the help


Hi Jen,

I read Ffenestri long before I was at the end of level 1. It’s a great book as it is broken into three sections (Mynediad, Sylfaen and Canolradd) and has poems and short stories at each level. There’s also a glossary of new words at the bottom of each page. And the poems and stories are actually good in their own right, not just as learning material. Learners of any level should find something they can read without too much difficulty.

I would say just give it a go. If it’s too difficult now, come back to it later! But I’d be surprised if there’s nothing you can read.


I’m a big reader and did so from day one of SSIW really. I hardly knew what the words were but now after 9 months it’s coming through loud and clear. I’m a great believer in using a multifaceted approach.


I would give it a go. In fact, I did give it a go and I haven’t looked back. Ffenestri is a great book. I bought it in October 2017, having finished Level 1 in September.
Have you seen this thread? It has suggestions for books at all levels.



Thanks everyone :grinning: I love reading i might just give it a go


Update: my copy of Ffenstri arrived. I also bought a dictionary. I just read the first story, I didn’t understand everything but I caught the gist and the geirfa/vocab provided did help. I enjoyed the first story it was funny! Be great to read it again as I progress too. Definitely worth a trying, diolch!


Yes, that’s my method. If I like the book then I go back and read it with more understanding later. I’m glad that you are enjoying Ffenestri.


I had the same worries. In the end I just decided to go for it and not to get too hung up on the meaning of every word. If I was checking things all the time it ruined the flow and enjoyment. I also found I could get the general idea without checking. Then if a word I didn’t know came up repeatedly, I could eventually work it out from the context.

I found Bob Eynon books pretty good for learning. Also some of these were really good. Although the glossary made it very tempting to check all the time.

I wondering if having a Kindle would help in this regard. Apparently there is an instant translation option, just by touching a word on the screen. This wouldn’t be so disrupting and might allow me to read more interesting advanced books…?


There’s a lot in one of my local libraries but I couldn’t figure out the levels. I was in the children’s section but couldn’t pick and then downloaded a Magi Ann app which is a children’s reading app. It’s good to help you learn but with one sentence a page often repeated, quite simple stories for young children… Not very interesting. The older children’s books are too difficult for me :confused: I flicked through the ones in The Works.

so I’m glad to find that Ffenstri has stories I can understand. I’m definitely going to look for more at the levels I can follow. Might continue with Magi Ann since it’s free and useful but prefer stories for adult learners :grin:


Lois Arnold stories are really good to get going as a) they are written in the spoken style and b) generally start easier crank it up a bit as you go through :wink: and c) are genuinely interesting stories despite these constraints placed upon her ie you don’t notice any of these things - it just seems entertaining - and that is a real talent of hers I think - very impressive. :sunny:

E-ffrindiau is another which builds up with friends emailing each other …and Sgŵp as a slightly more traditional novel - all great, and huge confidence boosters for me.

Rich :slight_smile:


Thanks Rich. The books I’m reading Ffenstri is by Lois Arnold and I think I seen Sgŵp in the library. :slight_smile: no problem buying but handy if the library has them


:+1: yes I was following the Lois Arnold lead - a good choice - with a natural progression

Rich :slight_smile:


I would avoid children’s books. Books aimed at small children aren’t interesting, and those aimed at teenagers are often too difficult. The books aimed specifically at learners are great. As you’ve discovered, Ffenestri is great and Lois Arnold’s other books (Sgŵp! and E-Ffrindiau) are also great for the adult learner. E-Ffrindiau is a series of email conversations between two women on opposites sides of the globe and builds up the vocabulary gradually. Then there are Bethan Gwanas’s “Blodwen Jones” books and “Yn Ei Gwsg” (which is a little more challenging, I think) which are in a more Northern style but still accessible to those, like me, who have unashamedly positioned themselves as hwntws :wink:


Thanks :grin: definitely agree about children’s books.


There’s another book of short stories by Lois Arnold, “Cysgod Yn Y Coed”. These are also very good, but just a little more advanced than “Ffenestri”, I think.


Yes I enjoyed this too. I don’t think you can go wrong with Lois Arnold really - I think her stories are very impressive - she works with limited vocabulary for learners but the stories are great…not easy!

Rich :slight_smile:


Hi Jen. I don’t think it’s ever really too early. I started reading Welsh language books not long after starting SSiW. I probably started way above my level with ‘Amdani!’ by Bethan Gwanas! I was lucky in that I had two great personal sources (both Gog and Hwntw!) to go to / email with words I couldn’t find in dictionary or google translate. Now I love reading Welsh language books of all kinds. It really does open up a wonderful new world for you. S4C has done similar for me too in terms of film, drama and comedy. Mynd amadani! / Go for it!