What’s better than reading an amazing book?
How about reading it a second time and enjoying it even more?
Some books are amazing even when you read them ten times.
Books like this are great for improving your English. You probably understand a little more each time you read them.
But it’s not always easy to find stories you want to read over and over again.
That’s why you should know about one kind of story that’s meant to be read again and again.
It’s called an interactive story.
What’s an Interactive Story?
In an interactive story, the reader can decide where the story goes next. You read and make decisions along the way. Where the story goes depends on these decisions. It’s a really fun way to play with stories. It also means that one story can have many different stories in it.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to three main kinds of interactive stories:
- “Choose Your Own Adventure” (CYOA) stories: “Choose Your Own Adventure” is a famous series of interactive books. This name is also used to talk about similar kinds of stories. These are the most basic interactive stories. As you read, you are asked to make some choices at certain parts. Do you want to attack the dragon, or try to talk to him? Do you tell your friend about your secret, or lie to him? It’s your choice.
- Gamebooks: Gamebooks combine books and games. They’re like CYOA stories and sometimes considered the same thing. You still make choices like where to go and what to do. But you might also get to have weapons and armor, and fight monsters.
- Text adventures: Text adventures are computer games that use text to show the action. They also work like “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. But instead of choosing from a list of choices, you type in your choice. For example, if you’re in a room with a lamp, you can type “Pick up lamp.”
Why Learn with Interactive Stories?
You might already learn English by reading books and stories. But what makes these interactive stories so great at teaching English?
- Many of the interactive stories are written in a descriptive but simple language. “Choose Your Own Adventure” and gamebooks are mostly written for younger readers. This means there’s a lot of action in a short amount of time.
- Since text adventures make you type in your choices, they can help you practice basic English grammar.
- You can read interactive stories a few times with different endings. This means you can learn through repetition, but keep it from getting boring.
- Interactive stories are really fun and interesting, since you choose where the story goes next!
If you enjoy learning English with interactive tools, you should definitely check out FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Are you interested yet? Let’s look at these stories in more detail, and see how you can get started reading them!
Exciting Stories to Improve Your English: 3 Kinds of Interactive English Adventures
1. “Choose Your Own Adventure” and similar adventures
Read the series that started it all! “Choose Your Own Adventure” books are physical books. You can make choices just by turning to a certain page.
There are so many different topics in the CYOA series! Just look at these titles: “Prisoner of the Ant People,” “Secret of the Ninja,” “You Are a Shark.” Don’t those sound like fun?
All you need to enjoy these is a cozy (comfortable) place to sit, and one of the books. You can probably find some in your library or a used bookstore. You can also buy them from the CYOA website or on Amazon.
If you prefer your books digital, Choice of Games is a great place to find CYOA-like games for your computer. There are even more options here since Choice of Games has their own games and games written by other people. Go on an adventure!
Inkle is a game company that took some interactive books and made them more game-like. The result is digital games that look fantastic and have lots of writing for you to enjoy.
Some of Inkle’s games (like “80 Days” and “Frankenstein”) are based on classic stories. They let you take part in them instead of just reading them. They’re fantastic if you’ve read the original stories, and even if you haven’t. And since there is so much to see in the games, you can enjoy them even if you don’t love reading.
2. Gamebook adventures
Do you have some dice at home? Grab those dice and play through one of the first gamebook adventure games: “Fighting Fantasy.” “Fighting Fantasy” books have fun adventures. They usually throw you into the middle of a dangerous area or send you on a quest (to complete something that has to be done).
Along the way, you’ll find items and weapons. You’ll also fight monsters and talk to others. Choose where your hero should go next!
To play “Fighting Fantasy,” you’ll need a pencil and paper. You’ll also need to know how and when to use the dice. But each book comes with a very clear explanation in the beginning about how to do that. So you won’t be lost.
These sites offer apps that let you play and enjoy gamebooks like “Fighting Fantasy,” even if you’ve never played them before. There’s no learning required!
3. Text adventures
Ready for even more interactive fiction? Try the many adventures found on textadventures.co.uk. You can play one of the very first text adventures ever made, “Zork.” Or you can try something much newer (and shorter), like “9:05.”
If you’re not sure where to start, just imagine that you’re telling the main character what to do. You can type “Take keys” to pick up some keys. You can then type “Use keys on door,” or “Unlock door with keys.” Spelling and grammar count here, so be careful! You can get some great practice with reading, spelling and making sentences.
This page has examples of some common commands (verbs!) you can use. The best advice here is to try lots of things and see what happens!
If you try the text adventures and love them, you might be interested in challenging yourself with a MUD. A MUD is a “Multiple User Dungeon.” It’s an adventure game where you can meet and interact with other players.
MUDs are not always easy to get into, which is why they’re “advanced.” They’re really best for people who love adventure games. There are some games that are just about chatting with others who share your interests. But most MUDs are role playing games (games where you can fight monsters and go on exciting adventures created by other people).
You can find a huge list of MUDs to try on The Mud Connector. You can play most of the games without needing to download anything. Some of these games have been online since 1995! You didn’t even know there were computer games that long ago, did you?
Not sure where to start? Check out this guide to your first MUD adventure.
Who says books have to be the same each time you read them?
Pick up any of these interactive stories and get going on a quest.
You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll almost forget that you’re learning!
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