Wednesday, 8 November, 2017 - 14:31

How to use books to learn a foreign language

by BethBlogger2017

Have you ever started to read a book in English, then stopped because it was too hard? Don’t worry! You’re on the right track. Books are an amazing tool for learning languages but some are easier to use than others. Here are my top tips for using books to learn English.

1. Read dual-language books
Dual-language books (or ‘parallel texts’) are the same story written in two languages. They have your native language on one page and your target language on the other, so you can quickly check what a word means.

2. Read new children’s books
Learning a language is the perfect excuse to dive back into the magical land of fairy tales and unicorns or the exciting world of spies and secret agents. Children’s books use simpler language and are fun to read. Look for books with pictures, as they help you to follow the story.

3. Read your favourite childhood book in English
Do you have a beloved childhood book in your own language? Find a copy of it in English! You know lots about the fictional world, the characters and the story already, so it is much easier to understand what is happening.

4. Read comic books or manga
Sometimes when we are reading in a foreign language, longer stories can seem impossible to finish because it feels like there are too many new words. Comic books and manga have fewer words per page, and lots of pictures so that you don’t get lost.

5. Make notes!
If you are using a book to learn English, buy a cheap copy you can write in. Don’t be afraid to write translations and thoughts in the margins, as your notes can help you to remember.

Starting to read in a foreign language does not need to be scary. With the advice above, you will be reading in English in no time at all! Remember that you can use these tips for films and television too. Try watching children’s television shows in English or turning on English subtitles when watching a film online.


Do you use books to learn English? Which types do you find are the most useful?

Submitted by hermione123 on Fri, 06/18/2021 - 05:55

I've read several english books. Usually I read children's books for 11 years old - 14 years old. The words that are used and the plot are a bit easier to understand. And the most useful tips is the 5th one, i sometimes need to write down some words' meaning.

Submitted by NadiaP on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 00:39

I like to read books that are easy, and also books specific for English learners so I watch recommendations quite often. I hope you can also find something good to read like Dracula, The Invisible Man, Conan...

Submitted by ValentinaSuarez16 on Wed, 02/05/2020 - 18:54

this article gave lot of inspiration! I was very scared to read in English and even more since i do not understand all the words in English! it pushed me to getting into reading and red lot of differents stories
Profile picture for user Andrii

Submitted by Andrii on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 18:25

On summer holidays I've read a book in English, Tom Sawyer, and it was really exciting. There are special books for learning English, where you can choose your level. When you feel you understand all the words, you can choose an upper level. And about tips, I think that the third is the most useful because you'll be interested while reading your favourite book.
Profile picture for user MyStudyCoachJonas

Submitted by MyStudyCoachJonas on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 22:50

Yes I read books because they are good for understanding a new language or words from a new language too.
Profile picture for user Nina01_20

Submitted by Nina01_20 on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:52

Thank you! These advices gave me inspiration to read my dusty and almost lost English books again! By the way British Council for kids and teens is a great idea. The whole family can learn English and being interested in it in the same time. I truly like the topics and the way they're given. I do understand that I can meet such situations and participate in conversations on the topics in real life. Thanks to it's creators again!
English courses near you