For those of us who like reading, it can be discouraging to learn a new language and not be able to read anything we want.
Luckily, there’s actually a wealth of great things to read in English even for beginners. Whether you want English reading practice or just something fun and easy to read, we’ve got you covered.
The following reading materials will surely help you learn to read in English.
There are a few news sources for English learners. The articles cover interesting topics in simple language, which makes them perfect for beginners. Here are a few:
There are also online news sites made for kids, which beginners will also learn a lot from. While the articles are written for kids, the topics they cover are interesting for people of all ages.
Graded readers are books written for learners at different levels. To get a taste of graded readers, check out these free ones:
And if you’re willing to buy books, check out the following:
It might be strange to recommend children’s books to adults. However, keep in mind that a lot of the best children’s content is also enjoyable for adults. Here are some examples:
Plus, books written for kids are often higher quality than books for language learners. So don’t avoid something just because it’s written for children!
Our top recommendation in this category is Great Illustrated Classics — a series of 66 classic books adapted for young readers. It includes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Gulliver’s Travels, Heidi, and more! The font is very large and there is a picture on every other page.
However, you can also find free children’s books at the following sources:
Poems are great for beginners, because they’re usually short and sweet. Here are some famous ones to get you started:
You might also want to explore the forms of short poetry like the limerick and the haiku.
You can also find books of just these types of poems. For haikus, you can see Andrew Clement’s Dogku (the story of a dog told through haiku poems), Jack Prelutzky’s If Not For the Cat, and Nikki Grime’s A Pocketful of Poems.
Finally, don’t forget about famous children’s poetry books like those by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. They’ve written poems that probably most kids in English-speaking countries have read and that even adults mention in conversation.
However, keep in mind that poems often aren’t grammatically correct and often use some words that aren’t commonly used these days. So don’t try to understand them 100%.
Just enjoy the sound and rhythm and have fun reading them out loud! (Hint: they help with pronunciation.) If you need help understanding them, you can also find explanations and summaries of these poems online.
Or take lessons with online tutors, who can help you understand them!
English has lots of jokes and riddles. A classic type of joke in English is the knock-knock joke. Knock-knock jokes work like this:
If you like jokes, you might like riddles too! Riddles require you to guess an answer to a question. For example, “What goes up but never comes down?” (your age). Check out riddles here.
Jokes and riddles often play with words, so they might be a little difficult to understand. For some easier ones recommended by English teachers around the world, check out this website.
Stories are also a good way to start reading. You can try reading some “short stories.” Here are some websites with short stories for beginners:
And if you’re OK with kids’ content, check out these resources:
Did you know that Wikipedia has a version in simple English? All the articles are written using simple vocabulary and grammar.
Use the “Show any page” function on the side to see a random page and read about something new!
Finally, here are a few websites that provide free reading exercises online:
These websites provide short passages along with questions and exercises to test your comprehension.
There are also great interactive websites for improving your reading comprehension skills. These may not be designed for ESL learners, but they have plenty of beginner content. Here are some we recommend:
We hope this has given you an idea of all the things you can read as a beginner. Which resources do you find interesting? Which resources do you think you’ll use?
Whatever you choose, remember that the only way to get better at reading is to read a lot, so get your reading journey started as soon as possible!
But what if you see a sentence, paragraph, or joke you can’t figure out the meaning of? Or maybe you feel like you’re reading a lot, but unsure if you’re pronouncing the words correctly?
Well, get help from an online tutor at Engoo! Many of our students read passages aloud with tutors and ask them questions about parts they don’t understand. Plus, the first lesson is on us, so you have nothing to lose!