I read My First Book in Italian and understood all of it!!
I decided to see how much progress I am really making in Italian. My pronunciation is awful that I can admit, but my basic reading skills seem to be good and I wanted to test myself. So I googled some childrens books in Italian. I found one appropriately titled My First Book and I actually could read the whole thing. Yes this is a childs book that is meant for a 4 year old but none the less a book, and I could read it in Italian cover to cover. I AM MAKING PROGRESS. Thank you Duolingo!!!
I wouldn't call you a slow learner! That's fantastic progress! A tribute not only to yourself but also to duolingo. It took me at least a year to get to your level going to night school etc.
It would be nice if we could have a few books, or comics even, recommended to us for our various levels. Children's books are an obvious source but I found it really difficult beyond that. I seemed to just jump in too deep all the time and found it frustrating. Problem seems to be that even apparently simple texts like Alice in Wonderland is actually really hard to follow. At least for me!. Then you can be tempted to read something you find on Amazon, "Easy Italian Reader" (Sagesse. ISBN 0-07-143957-9) TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY - DON'T TRY IT!! Written by a native Italian in America who is clearly out of touch with reality!! (By the way, Easy Italian is one good example of an oxymoron :)
There are some dual texts written in both Italian and English that can be found using search engines and these can be pitched towards your level although the subject content can be a little boring. I read Anne Frank's diary in Italian alongside an English translation which took me through the language of a teenager and finally came to check out the Italian newspapers on-line. My favourite is La Stampa, which has loads of videos with audio, text etc. Set google translate to hover-over words you are unsure of as you go.
Lastly, a great intermediate book to read when you are ready is "Non ho paura" by Niccolò Ammaniti, took me about a year, but not too difficult and gives some great perspectives of recent Italian history, culture, through the eyes and dialogue of young people. (ISBN 978-88-06-18867-2)
Congratulations on your progress so far and I hope the above helps you further in your studies.
Great job! Based on my experience, the only problem with children's books (mainly classics such as Snow White etc) is that they are usually in the passato remoto tense and they use old fashioned words. So my suggestion is to be carful when you purchase one, because it can be a bit frustrating.
I used to love Diabolik and Zagor when I was a kid; Lupo Alberto, Dylan Dog, Martin Mystère, Corto Maltese, Nathan Never... There are a lot of great Italian comics, but indeed Italian comics are traditionally aimed at a public of adults: there are even erotic authors like Milo Manara. I can't think of running children comics other than those published by the Italian Disney's, and although online there are several Italian webcomics they all seem to use a very colloquial Italian so I won't dare to post links.