Reading in a Foreign Language

Reading in a Foreign Language


If you're reading this magazine, then chances are you're a young learner of English as a Foreign Language, and are probably interested in reading too. So why not go one step further, and read novels in English? As a native English speaker who has learnt French, I have used this tactic to help improve my own language ability, and when done correctly, reading will not just help your comprehension, but your overall language use.

Why will reading in English help your writing and speaking, as well as your reading? It might sound very uncool, but one of my speaking techniques is to read aloud. By myself of course! But reading aloud means I can take as long as I like to get the correct pronunciation, intonation and meaning. I really believe it is one of the best tricks, and I will always be thankful to the friend who put me on to it. Where your writing is concerned, seeing the language in its written form is very helpful. The more you see something, the more you understand, especially as most humans are visual learners. So now, I want to help you choose your literature.

Everybody knows Harry Potter, right? So why not take a story that we all know and love, and read it in English? If you already understand the story, you'll be able to absorb the vocabulary with ease. The beauty of Harry Potter is that you can start with book 1, The Philosopher's Stone, which is short and simple, then you can progress all through the stories, up to book 7 with approximately 600 pages of complicated plot. Perhaps you're too cool for Harry Potter though.

For the girls, how about Twilight? And for the boys, what do you make of Lord of the Rings? Reading sequels provides you with ample material, and all three titles that I've suggested have been made into films. So after reading the book(s) you can watch the films in English too! In my quest for reading material in French, I stumbled across other such examples, like The Devil Wears Prada and The Kite Runner.

Using Amazon's recommended reads is also a great idea. If you run a few searches for books you already like (in English of course), Amazon will throw loads of new titles at you. This is a sneaky trick to get you to buy more from their website, but naturally, you're not obligated to. There's no law against running searches! If any of you have specific interests, feel free to comment on this blog post and I'll try to recommend books for different interests. I love to read, and would encourage young language learners to dive right into the world of foreign literature as soon as possible.

Total votes: 409

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Have you ever read any books in English? If reading a whole book is too much, check out the stories and articles in our Read at your level section. They are written at three different levels to make it easier for you to start reading.


annahedd's picture

Hi there !:)
I like reading a lot either in my native language or in the two foreign languages I quite know : English and French... I speak French much better than English I actually have read a lot of books in French and indeed it helped me a lot improving my speaking and writing skills but unfortunately I've never read an entire book in English I just read articles and texts and I really want to read a book one day and as you suggested those books I'll tray to read them I'll probably start by harry Potter because I've already watched the movie and I think that I'll find it really easy to understand .
Concerning reading out loud , I'd like to say that's really a useful way to learn the pronunciation and it helped me personally .
I'd like to thank you a lot for this article .

96 users have voted.
Ashfaq Munir's picture

hi everyone i have learnt alot to0 your ample comments.Firstly i would like to thanks everyone.My english is badly week but i have keen intrested in english language and i take a english classes as well.what will you advise me,how can i improve my english language,i have been practicing on bc site for a months....and i love reading but i can't understand properly sometimes!

104 users have voted.
Little Dragon's picture

I've read a book in English before, and its title is "General Giap : His Youth". It's published by a Vietnames publisher. That's the only English book I've read. I love reading books, but I just like to read the book I can understand whole of it. I prefer read a text in English or a book that gives me knowledges to read a novel.

114 users have voted.
Gabby's picture

I never read a whole book in english. I'm bought books with lessons of drawing, so I can improve my english and my ability of drawing in any time. I'm reading them, but they have many words that I don't know.
The articles of this sites are helping me a lot! Thank you very much!

114 users have voted.