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Are you a bookworm? Tips for reading in English and book list

Do you like to read?! Then you're definitely a bookworm or a person who enjoys reading. If you want to improve your English through reading here's a list of books with some rules to help you choose the best book for your English level.

It’s important not to start with a book that’s not a lot higher than your current English level. I made this mistake when I was living in Guadalajara, Mexico and learning Spanish for the first time. I bought books on topics that interested me, like history and politics. Unfortunately, they were at a much more advanced level of English and I was only a beginner. So, I ended up getting frustrated and never finishing the books. Once I started using the 90% rule reading in Spanish was so much more enjoyable for me and I was able to advance my level of Spanish slowly but surely.

1) What's the 90% rule?! Choose a book that is slightly higher than your level of English AND that you’re interested in. This means you should understand 90% of the words and 10% should be new.

2) Keep a list of any new words that you find while reading. First try to understand them based on context and then, once you’ve finished reading the complete page, go back and write down the words. Read the whole page or two before you look up the words.

3) Any new words that you looked up go back and reread the sentence again to see if it makes sense after reading the definition.

4) Create a habit of reading on a daily basis (that’s why this company is called Language Habit LLC 😊). Try to incorporate reading in English into a daily habit you already have so it’s not a lot of effort. For example, if you normally read the news, take the metro to work, or watch a series, start reading in English during these times instead.

A1: Beginner English (short stories)

A2: Elementary English

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This book tells the story of a boy with facial deformities who starts going to a new school after he’s been home schooled for years. It’s a very inspiring and sad book that is one of my all-time-favorite books.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

A coming-of-age novel that tells the story of a young girl, Esperanza, who faces challenges and hardships when she and her mother leave their wealthy life in Mexico to work in California during the Great Depression.

Climate Change (The Ladybird Expert Series) by HRH The Prince of Wales

In this informative book the author addresses climate change, one of the most important issues of our time, and the urgency for action. The author uses his extensive knowledge and experience as an environmental advocate to explore the causes and consequences of climate change.

B1: Intermediate English

Holes by Louis Sachar

After being falsely accused of theft, Stanly Yelnats is sent to a correctional boot camp in the Texas desert named Camp Green Lake. This book’s plot talks about the history of the area and how Stanley’s past has affected his present life.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

This novel is narrated by a teenager with autism who investigates the death of a neighborhood dog. It gives an exceptional perspective on human behavior and emotions.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

After a shipwreck a young Indian boy named Pi finds himself stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean. His only companion is a tiger named Richard Parker. This is a thought-provoking tale that touches on themes of resilience, spirituality and human-animal relationships.

B2: Upper-Intermediate English

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This book is about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy from Afghanistan, named Amir, and the son of his father’s domestic worker, Hassan. This book has a message of redemption in the middle of generational trauma.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This is an emotional and humorous story about a young girl growing up in a culturally diverse, working-class neighborhood in Chicago. She narrates her observations, dreams and challenges as she finds her way through questions of identity. She attempts to come to terms with her surroundings through her writing in order to find hope for a brighter future.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a novel about a dystopian future about Klara, an Artificial Friend, who is designed to be a companion for a young girl named Josie. Klara’s perspective gives the reader a unique insight into human emotions and relationships.

C1: Advanced English

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This book won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It reimagines the Underground Railroad as an actual railroad system which follows the journey of a young slave named Cora

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

A psychological thriller about a famous artist who stops talking about being accused of murdering her husband and the therapist who’s obsessed with finding out the truth.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is an acclaimed dystopian novel published in 1985 and is set in New England. The novel explores the themes of subjugated women in a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

What other topics do you want to learn about in English?! Write in the comments below or write me at / @monicayourprofe 😊

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