“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
Most people are familiar with this beautiful line from the celebrated Dr. Seuss, a children’s author beloved by English speakers. And he couldn’t have been more right!
The fact is that whether you’re a natural reading lover like myself or merely read when you have to, there’s no denying that it’s an invaluable skill.
If you want to travel, open your career opportunities, follow your favorite English-speaking celebrities on Twitter or understand the manual for that new American appliance you just bought, knowing how to read in English is a must.
Fortunately, learning to read in English doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. You just need the right tools at your disposal.
There are tons of great, affordable reading resources available to you, and I’ve selected seven top ones to get you started!
What Are the Benefits of English Reading Tools?
Whatever your reason for learning English, reading is an essential skill you’ll need to master. Imagine being able to read that English novel you’ve always wanted to or perfectly understand business emails from English-speaking clients.
The tools below are specifically designed to help English learners improve their reading skills. That means you don’t have to worry about getting lost in a text that’s too difficult. Plus, they come with interactive elements and other materials to make sure you learn, like exercises, vocabulary lists, audio or video clips and more.
As you read, you’ll discover an enormous variety of vocabulary that you wouldn’t learn elsewhere. You’ll also absorb the correct spellings of English words.
Reading is also a great way to get a feel for English grammatical structures that we sometimes skip over or ignore in our speech, but that are an important part of becoming fluent.
Learn English with 7 Great Reading Resources Tailor-made for Learners
Without further ado, here are seven fantastic reading resources to help you get from a beginner level to fluency in no time!
Cambridge English offers many great online activities for English learners, especially for reading practice.
Their reading material is quite diverse, covering all sorts of topics such as travel, science fiction, linguistics and shopping. The activities are categorized by difficulty level and topic.
Additionally, each resource is labeled with the amount of time needed to complete the reading and the activity that accompanies it.
The bonus material at the end of each reading can vary quite a bit. It includes things like quizzing yourself by answering questions, practicing reading for the main idea and activities to help you read for detail.
You’ll also see a nice variety of reading material from the real world. There are articles, emails and more.
USA Learns is a top-notch website that’s completely free to use. It’s full of resources for beginner and intermediate learners.
The reading topics are varied, covering everything from business to the latest news and social trends. Since USA Learns was originally designed for adult immigrants in the U.S., this site also covers subjects about American culture, which is interesting whether you intend to relocate to the States or not.
All the reading materials are accompanied by activities and additional resources such as grammar lessons and comprehension questions. You can also work on your listening skills, since many of the texts come with an audio recording.
USA Learns also has material for many other skills—speaking, listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.—and they even have a special course for those looking to become U.S. citizens.
To access the materials, simply put in your information and create a password on their registration page.
FluentU is the most unique resource on this list.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Each video comes with a full transcript and vocabulary list that you can explore before watching, to familiarize yourself with words you don’t know. Then, while you watch, you can click the subtitles to automatically pause the video and get a definition, pronunciation and picture for any word.
It’s an entertaining way to build your reading skills—while also absorbing the sounds of real English!
There are also flashcards and exercises for every video, so you won’t forget everything you learned when you’re done watching. FluentU will track your progress and even suggest new videos based on what you’ve already watched.
Since the videos are organized by genre and learning level, it’s easy to find ones that work for you. You can check out the full video library for free with a FluentU trial.
“Learn English with Short Stories” Series
This is a book series created specifically for English learners who enjoy reading short stories.
Each book has a different focus, such as murder mysteries, science fiction and fantasy, and the stories inside include vocabulary lists to study before reading.
Their methodology is to use repetition within the stories to teach English words and language concepts. That way, you learn to read English words naturally.
EnglishClub is a free website for both learners and teachers and has reading resources on many interesting topics.
Their reading skills section includes a reading test to check your current reading level and measure your improvement in the future.
One of the best things about EnglishClub is that you can read about your own interests and hobbies. There are texts covering music, movies, the environment, technology and more. They even have a reading section for kids and a page dedicated to short fiction.
Each text is accompanied by various additional resources such as audio or video, exercises, vocabulary lists, comprehension quizzes and discussion questions.
National Geographic Learning’s In Focus
You may already be familiar with the famous English-language magazine National Geographic. Their blog, In Focus, is a resource entirely dedicated to posts about English learning and teaching.
Learners can practice their reading with articles covering exciting topics like travel and culture, photography, motivation for learning and more. Each article is categorized by how many minutes it takes to read.
The articles often include reflection questions at the end, too. You’ll find that they’re largely written for a language teaching audience, but they’re not very complex and they should give you an interesting new perspective on the English learning process.
Additionally, there are sometimes contests for readers who respond to the blog posts with thoughtful comments and ideas.
Oxford Bookworms Library
Oxford Bookworms Library offers a series of diverse graded readers for those learning English as a foreign language. Graded readers are books that are written for specific English learning levels.
They have books for both children and adult learners, and their graded readers are divided into seven levels. The majority of their books are English classics that’ve been retold at various levels.
They have tons of great resources and activities to accompany their books, such as glossaries with new vocabulary, audio files to listen to while you’re reading and follow-up tests.
Before choosing a book, be sure to take one of these free level placement tests created specifically for Oxford’s grading system.
With so many wonderful resources at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to become a proficient English reader and open up a whole new world of possibilities!
Camille Turner is an experienced freelance writer and ESL teacher.
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.