Extensive Reading for English learners

An excellent way to improve your English fluency is by reading extensively. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced student, extensive reading is one of the most effective ways to improve your fluency. Extensive reading is also known as free reading or reading for pleasure. It is widely believed that extensive reading facilitates the acquisition of new words through inferencing and improves comprehension either in your mother tongue or in a foreign language.

How to choose a good English book

1. Look for graded reader series.

A graded book series are books that increase in difficulty depending on the level. Books for beginners have short texts and use more common words while books for advanced learners have longer texts with less common vocabulary.

The most popular graded reader series are

Oxford’s Bookworm series

Pearson Graded Readers

Penguin Readers

Helbling Readers

Most of the grades reader series have been produced by British publishers and only one small series have been published in the United States.

Click HERE to find a list that I have created with the most popular books for Beginners, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate and Advanced English learners.

2. Follow the 5 finger rule

If you are not sure if you are going to understand a book or not, follow the five finger rule.

Five Finger rule for Extensive Reading

3. Read, relax and enjoy

Remember that one objective of extensive reading is reading for pleasure and fun. There won’t be any tests or quizzes about the reading. You can read at your own pace and re-read a the paragraphs as many times as you want.

The more you read extensively the more confidence and motivation you gain. That in turn will help you improve your fluency and become a more effective language user.

Read, Relax and Enjoy

A fellow teacher, Cris Nishimura from Brazil, recently asked me to talk to her students about the five finger rule for extensive reading. If you want to learn more about it, watch the videos below.

If you speak Spanish here you can watch the video in Spanish

Happy reading!

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