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The Magnificent 7 ... Tips for Choosing Books in English

What to read? Choosing which type of book to read is very important. Choose the wrong book and all the advantages mentioned in this blog post will disappear.

  1. Graded readers are novels in English that have been edited to your level. You can find them from Elementary to Advanced levels. Many of them also have the advantage of having comprehension questions with answers, a mini-dictionary of key words and a CD with story recorded on it as well. The one disadvantage is that graded readers have been simplified both in terms of the storyline and the vocabulary and grammar they use. This means you won’t always see so much new language and the story might be a little less interesting. Overall, though, these are an excellent choice, especially if you are still at a lower level.
  2. Bilingual books are also a popular option. When you open the book the left-hand page is your language while the right-hand page is in English. The obvious advantage of bilingual books is that they allow you to compare paragraphs or sentences that you don’t understand with how they are expressed in English. One or two problems exist with bilingual books. The first is that sometimes it takes more words to express an idea in English so the paragraphs on the two pages don’t match. A second problem is that it encourages you to translate and think in your own language when reading in English, which is something you should try to avoid.
  3. Books you have already read in your own language are also good idea. This way you already know the story and the characters. This allows you to focus on the English language element a bit more and also means that it’s not a huge problem if you don’t understand a section or sentence.
  4. Books for children or teenagers have the advantage of often being slightly easier to understand in terms of language and storyline. It is also quite common now for adults to read these types of books – think Harry Potter or the Twilight series!
  5. Slang and Jargon can be a problem. Be careful of fantasy books especially as they have invented words for new objects and actions, which can be confusing.
  6. Books that have films are also a useful option and there are so many of them! The big advantage is that you can watch the film and understand the story in two hours, which will help you when you read the book. Finding the differences between the film and the book can then become a fun activity.
  7. Nonfiction books are also an option. Biographies, popular science or history books are also good choices. Sometimes the language is actually easier to understand and the main ideas are easier to follow.

Now you have no excuse, go out and buy a book in English!

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Learn English

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