Learning English takes time and patience. You have to become familiar with many new words and new ideas. One of the greatest ways to increase your English vocabulary is by reading. Many students are unsure of just what they should be reading. There are many things one can read, including books, newspapers, magazines, online news sites, etc. However, one of the simplest ways to practice your reading skills is to read short stories.
I have found that one of the best sites on the internet for an English student to practice his reading is rong-chang.com. There are many stories located on this website.
For the Intermediate Level reader, I would recommend beginning right here. On this page, you will find nearly 300 short stories. Each story provides opportunities to practice vocabulary, answer yes/no questions, complete a "Cloze" activity related to the story, or complete a Crossword puzzle about the story.
So, take time to read. You may just learn a new word or two.
From time to time a student will ask me for some reading suggestions. As a result, I have decided to post some book ideas. I tried to provide a reading list for every ESL level. I also included some links to some short stories that can be read online. The reading lists can be printed (some of them are long). Or, if you wish, write down a few ideas of things to search for in your local library. Ask your local librarian to help.
Beginning Reading List
Short Stories for Beginners 1
Short Stories for Beginners 2
ESL Intermediate Reading List
Short Stories for Intermediate Learners
ESL Advanced Reading List
Short Stories for Advanced Learners
More Suggested Reading 1
More Suggested Reading 2
More Suggested Reading 3
There are many different reading programs online that can help you to improve your reading skills. One of those is the Marshall Adult Education site. This website is not designed for ESL students in particular; however, it offers some great stories that can help English language learners. To use this site, be sure to click on either Group 1 (Levels .7 to 4.5) or Group 2 (Levels 5.0 to 8.0) under the "Read the Stories Online" heading.
The Group 1 level is somewhat basic and would mostly be fitting for Beginning ESL students and maybe lower Intermediate levels. Group 2 is more appropriate for High Intermediate or Advanced ESL students.
Once you click on a group, then you choose any story you want at any level. You might try lower levels first and work your way up. When you click on a story, a box will pop up that will have a pre-reading question and some definitions. At the bottom it will tell you to "Click Here" to read the story. You will be given the chance to read the story a few times, and then answer some questions. You will need to answer the questions on your own paper and in complete sentences. If you have time, write a few sentences in response to Choice B.
To enter the website, click here: Marshall Adult Education.
This week (9/23-9/29) is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. What does this mean? Here's what the Illinois Community College Board says about this special week:
"This annual event underscores the continued demand for programs and services for adult students who need to improve basic skills in reading, writing, and math and obtain a high school equivalency certificate. More than 36 million adults nationwide, including 1.2 million in Illinois, lack basic literacy skills that limit their ability to advance in education and at work."
Here are some reasons why literacy and adult education are so important:
What's the last book you read? Was it in English? How important is it to spend time reading when trying to learn English? Well, according to research, there is a strong correlation between reading and academic success. In other words, the more you read, the better chance you have of doing well in school.
Here's what one expert has to say about the importance of reading:
"Good readers can understand the individual sentences and the organizational structure of a piece of writing. They can comprehend ideas, follow arguments, and detect implications. They know most of the words in the text already, but they can also determine the meaning of many of the unfamiliar words from the context - failing this, they can use their dictionary effectively to do so. In summary, good readers can extract from the writing what is important for the particular task they are employed in. And they can do it quickly!"
To read more from this article on the Importance of Reading, click here
The story that follows comes from the Reader's Digest website.
When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighborhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.
What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:
A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.
“A farmer,” said another, “because they grow the turkeys.”
“It looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.”
“I think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, “that it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”
Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.
Douglas mumbled, “It’s yours, Teacher.”
Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas …
Perhaps, she reflected, this was her Thanksgiving, and everybody’s Thanksgiving—not the material things given unto us, but the small ways that we give something to others.
To read more true stories like this, go to Reader's Digest.com
My name is Craig, and I've been teaching English for many years. I initially created this site for my students, but all English learners are welcome. I hope you find something helpful to you. Feel free to leave suggestions or ideas in the Comments section under any entry.