English Reading Practice: The 5 Best Sites for Beginners
Who doesn’t love to get lost in a story?
With great books, you can explore magical worlds, travel backwards or forwards in time or see the world from another person’s perspective (point of view)—but only if you understand the words on the page.
If you want to start reading real English stories, you need to get some strong beginner English reading practice first.
For that, we have collected our five favorite English reading practice tools for beginner language learners. They will give you exercises, activities and lessons to improve your reading comprehension quickly.
We even have our own short story with questions and answers at the bottom of the article.
Start practicing now and you will thank yourself the next time you open an incredible English book!
- The Top 5 Interactive English Reading Practice Sites for Beginners
- How Does Reading Help Your English?
- How to Improve Your Comprehension While You Read
- Practice Your English Reading Now! Short Quiz on a Classic Story
The Top 5 Interactive English Reading Practice Sites for Beginners
Ereadingworksheets: Online Reading and Language Arts Activities
Ereadingworksheets is a website with a collection of texts for beginners to practice their English language learning.
This website is great because, aside from general reading comprehension practice, you can also target specific reading skills.
For example, if you struggle with (have a hard time with) how to differentiate characters in a story, you can read practice stories that focus on characterization or the way characters are described.
Other reading exercises focus on the author’s purpose (what the author wants to convey or say through the text) or improving your understanding of figurative language, among others.
British Council LearnEnglishTeens: A1 Reading
This popular English learning resource has quizzes with reading materials so you can test your understanding of the texts.
One of the best things about this site is its focus on practical reading. That means you will read texts that go beyond standard classroom lessons and into authentic materials native English speakers use in real life. For example, there are reading quizzes for things like posters and thank you emails.
The website also groups lessons according to the standards set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). As a beginner, you should start from the ones under the “A1” category, before progressing into “A2,” “B1,” “B2” and “C1” (in that order).
ETS TOEFL Junior: Reading Comprehension Sample Questions
Unlike some of the other pages, TOEFL Junior is not an interactive quiz site, meaning you cannot answer the quizzes on the website and receive your scores in minutes or seconds. Instead, it walks you through sample questions from the reading section of the TOEFL Junior English proficiency exam.
You can write down your answers somewhere else (like in a notebook or your computer) and then compare them to the answer key. The questions are ordered from easiest to hardest, so answer them according to what level you are at the moment.
Although some of the sample questions are a bit difficult, they include pictures to help you understand.
While anyone can benefit from these reading exercises, they work best if you want to take the TOEFL Junior or standard TOEFL exam.
rong-chang: ESL Easy Reading
On this site, you can read brief (short) stories on different topics. Afterwards, you can click on any of the options at the end of each story to check your vocabulary, sentence construction, etc.
You also have the option to hear the story read out loud and slowly by clicking the “Play” button on the audio file (sound-only file) on top of each story. This way, you can combine reading and listening skills to help you understand the story and practice your pronunciation.
Khan Academy: SAT Reading and Writing Practice
The Khan Academy has sample tests and readings from the SAT, a standardized test most high school students in the U.S. take before applying to college.
Instead of just reading stories, you will practice your academic reading on this site. Khan Academy has a list of videos that go through sample SAT reading questions with you.
The videos will show you how to understand as much of the reading as possible and how to think through each of your answers. There are videos for different kinds of reading questions that focus on different subjects, such as literature or science.
If you cannot follow the video all the way through, you can also click “Transcript” below each video and see the written version of the video narration.
How Does Reading Help Your English?
Reading is a fun way to learn English, because it does not have to feel like studying.
For example, you can enjoy a story while improving your English along the way. You learn to recognize proper grammar and how its rules are applied. If you read enough, you will notice when something is written incorrectly, because you are already familiar with the correct structure.
Reading will also improve your conversational English. Many stories have dialogues, which are usually good examples of natural English conversations.
Finally, reading in English is an incredibly useful skill for life in an English-speaking country. The better you can read in English, the more you will understand your surroundings. Practice reading in English regularly and you will have no trouble understanding notes, signs, emails, academic texts and the like from the English-speaking world.
How to Improve Your Comprehension While You Read
If you begin by trying to read a difficult book like “Moby Dick,” you will become frustrated and want to give up because you are not seeing any progress.
Instead, start by reading short stories or even just paragraphs of easy text. Once you are sure you understand the shorter stories, you can move on to harder texts.
Most English reading practice resources like the ones above have materials for different levels, so you can take your time moving through each level.
When you come across difficult words, always try to understand using context before pulling out the dictionary. This will force you to use your reading comprehension skills.
If you really cannot figure out the word and it seems important to the story, that is the time you look it up. Try not to look for every word in a dictionary, though, because if you are too focused on the individual words, you will lose track of what you are reading and not retain (keep) much information.
Practice Your English Reading Now! Short Quiz on a Classic Story
To start your English reading practice, read the story below and answer the questions. Try to cover the section after the questions while you are doing this exercise. When you are finished, uncover the section and check your answers at the bottom of the article.
Little Red Riding Hood lived with her mother at the edge of the forest. Her grandmother lived at the other edge of the forest, and every Sunday Little Red Riding Hood would pack a basket of food and go visit her. One Sunday, as Little Red Riding Hood was wandering down the lane, a wolf blocked her way.
The wolf asked Little Red Riding Hood all about where she was going. He then showed her a beautiful field of flowers and headed off. Once Little Red Riding Hood had picked a bountiful bouquet, she finished the walk and entered her grandmother’s house.
Instead of her grandmother, she found the wolf in bed wearing a nightgown and bonnet! Little Red Riding Hood screamed and was lucky to be heard by an old lumberjack who lived down the road. He burst into the house and killed the wolf, saving Little Red Riding Hood.
- Who are the characters in this story?
- What happened in the story?
- Where does this story take place?
Answers to the English Reading Practice Test
- Little Red Riding Hood, her grandmother, the wolf and the lumberjack
- A wolf tried to trick and eat Little Red Riding Hood, but she was saved by the lumberjack.
- In the forest and in the grandmother’s house
What a workout (exercise) for your reading skills! With these English reading practice tools for beginners, you are on track to complete comprehension.