Reading is a fun way to open your mind to a new world, but it is also a great way to take your English language learning to the next level! Reading books to learn English allows you to grow your vocabulary and test your understanding outside of the classroom.
Why is reading so important for learning English?
There is a reason why reading is emphasized in English-speaking schools, and that’s because reading helps with your overall understanding of the language. Reading helps you easily identify memory words that are an important piece of English language; memory words include words like “are” and “like,” which are some of the building blocks of English sentences. Reading also helps you understand spelling and gives you the chance to use the phonetics (speech sounds) that you’re learning in class. Using books to learn English gives you the opportunity to continue your learning outside of the classroom.
What to read to improve your English skills?
There are so many options for you to choose from when picking what to read, such as magazines, online news articles, or even song lyrics, and all of them will help you improve your vocabulary and comprehension. However, books are my preferred text. That’s because books can take you away to faraway places and engage you in stories that are both exciting and nerve-racking at the same time!
Here is my list of recommended books to learn English, and why I recommend each!
1. The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
This book follows the life of Esperanza, a Hispanic girl living in Chicago and tells her stories of growing up, feeling embarrassed, and making friends.
This book is recommended because it is broken up into individual short stories. Readers can read one story at a time and make sure they comprehend what is going on before moving on to the next story.
2. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web is about a pig and a spider who become friends, and a young girl who saves the pig’s life.
This book is recommended because it uses simple sentences and vocabulary since it was written for children. However, this book has been used as part of the curriculum in many American schools, so it would be very easy to have a conversation about this book with anyone.
3. Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan is the story of a playful young boy who can fly and his adventures with Wendy Darling and her brothers on the island of Neverland! Sound familiar? That’s because there’s a Disney movie that was influenced by this story!
This book is recommended because familiarity with the story will help you understand the easy text better.
4. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
The Giver takes place in a futuristic society of “sameness” where everyone is the same. Jonas, the main character, is assigned the job “Receiver of Memories,” where he learns about the joys of memories and being different.
This book is recommended because all of the sentences are short, and the story is clear to follow, making this engaging and interesting story an easy read!
If you feel like you’re not ready to try reading on your own yet, try listening to an audiobook and following along in the book. This allows you to listen to the story and the pronunciation of the words while still looking at the spelling and grammar of the sentences. There are many ESL websites and apps that you can find audiobooks on!
Most of these books have movies that were made based on the stories. If you want to, you can watch the movie after you’ve read the book to make sure you understood things correctly.
Using books to learn English is a great way to supplement your English classes at Bridge, the more you try to immerse yourself in the English language, the more you will learn. Reading is everywhere, and the more practice you have with it, the easier it will be.
Do you have a favorite book that has helped you learn English? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to learn more about how you can keep improving your English outside of the classroom, check out this post on using Netflix to improve your English!