Reading in a Foreign Language – The Problem, The Solution

Book opened, being read

Reading in a Foreign Language – The Problem, The Solution

Are you learning English and have given up trying to read books in English because it is just… too… difficult?

Teachers and language trainers along the way have probably told you how wonderful reading is to help improve your English. And it’s true, reading has been proven to develop comprehension skills, improve spelling and punctuation, and broaden your vocabulary.

The Problem of Reading in Another Language

So, you know you should read something in English to practise, but there is one big problem. When you try reading a book in English you usually end up reading the dictionary more to find out what all those new words mean. This sometimes happens to me when I try to read something in a language that I’m learning. It’s frustrating, isn’t it?

reading in a foreign language

It’s no surprise that most language learners stop trying to read in the language they are learning after only a few attempts.

But why is it such a difficult task to read in English, even if your spoken and written English is already quite good?

So Many New Words

Writers usually want to keep their readers engaged. To do this, they vary their language a lot even when writing about simple situations. This is what makes reading in a foreign language so challenging – you come across a larger range of vocabulary that perhaps you wouldn’t have come across when listening to people in that language. And, let’s be honest, who has the patience to look up every second word in a dictionary when reading a book?

The Solution to Making Reading in English Easier

Luckily, there are books that will help you make reading in English easier. You will still get all the benefits of reading without needing endless patience and willpower. These wonderful books are known as graded readers.


What exactly are graded readers?

Graded readers are books usually based on original texts that are simplified to make it easier for language learners to understand.

Graded readers come in various levels, so that a beginner in English can read one of Dickens’ classics, an intermediate learner can lose themselves in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, and a more advanced learner can get their teeth into Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. Each publisher has its own grading system. There will be a guide for this on the first page or on the back of each book.

Less Stress, More Success

Take the stress out of reading and invest in a graded reader that is appropriate for your level in English. Make sure you check the text before purchasing a graded reader. Do not choose anything too difficult – you will need the dictionary a lot. But you must also make sure you don’t get one that is too easy – you will not learn a lot. When you have chosen the right book you can sit back, relax and enjoy reading in English – you will be learning without even realising it!

Now all you have to do is visit your local library, go to a good bookshop, or browse online to find the perfect graded reader for you.

Happy reading!

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