Reading is important not only to expose yourself to new vocabulary, but to see word order and grammar in context—and because visualizing a word is often as important as hearing it spoken.
It's important to start reading early, so don't wait until you can understand a sentence before you start. Underline words you don't know and add them to your vocabulary list. Then study them, and read the same passage again the following week until its meaning starts to make sense. Take note of the interesting and sometimes backward word order in which Czech's speak. Speaker of Czech you too one day will be.
Don't get frustrated with the length of time it takes you to read a passage or an article. Instead, set yourself a time limit of 30 minutes per reading session. If you only made it though one paragraph, but you learned something new, then that's all that matters.
Look in the mirror
Zrcadlo knihy (mirrored books) are my favorite way to read Czech.
Rather than attempt a Czech book by itself, pausing at every line to look up a word, a mirrored book has the Czech translation right next to the original English of your favorite classic books. Here's a great selection.
Many Czech magazines intended for an international audience have mirrored text as well. You can read the bite-sized Czech/English translations of My Wings magazine from Czech Airlines. Read it online here, or pick up a copy on your next flight into/out of Prague.
Read what the locals read
Blesk is a bit of a Czech tabloid with short, easier to read pieces. Keep Google Translate up in your browser and add new words to your vocab study list you read (and get some insight on zany Czech celebrities).
Czech blogs are also a great way to read colloquial Czech, and when you're online, google translate is right at your fingertips.
- Pick up a mirrored text on a Czech flight or in a Czech book store. Set a goal to do XX 30-minute reading sessions per week.
- Do the same with blogs or newspapers. Don't get discouraged at your slow pace—make your goals time-based instead.
- As you read, add new words to your vocabulary list. Study those words, then read the piece again.
- Take note of how much easier your second and third reads were, and feel that sweet momentum!