If you want to learn English, reading in English is one of the best ways to develop your language skills, just make sure the book’s English is right for your level of proficiency! If you’re reading this article, you are already immersing yourself in the English language. Congrats!

By using books as a language learning method, you will expose yourself to new words, experience the way English is structured, improve your reading skills, and learn English in a fun way.

Before we dive into the best books, here are some of our top tips to get you started.

Top Reading Tips

Make sure your book’s English level is the right one for you

If your book’s English exceeds your language skills, it can leave you feeling discouraged and ready to give up.

It should be fun and easy to understand. It’s about finding the balance, on one hand, you don’t want it to be too easy to understand, on the other you don’t want to have to reach for your dictionary every 3 seconds just to make it through the story.

There are books for everyone – it’s just about finding the right one for your reading level.

Reading books regularly

Learning a new language is not something you can do half-heartedly, it’s a commitment. Find something you can do consistently and do it every day, whether that’s one page or a chapter! Remember, this is about going at your own pace. A great way to read consistently is to find a book that you enjoy and look forward to, whether that is a non-fiction book or a novel.

Don’t reach for the translation book right away

Even if the book’s English level matches your level of experience, you’re still going to read a lot of new words in your books. When you do, instead of reaching straight for the translation book, underline that word and write it down on a piece of paper. At the end of the page, you will have a list of words that you can learn. Start reading the page again, and see if you can determine the meaning of the word concerning the context of the sentence. Write down your best guess.

Once you have done this, grab your translation book and write down the correct meaning. Compare it to your best guess, were you correct? This is a great skill to develop, as you’re not always going to know every word of English! But being able to understand the context of your books and create meaning using your current knowledge of English is a great way to gain new vocabulary moving forward.

9 great novels to help improve your English

This list contains a variety of books for different reading levels, from a new learner to the more advanced!


Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl

The books english is simple and is a childs story very popular in england

This book is one of the best novels to read for new or young readers. In Fantastic Mr Fox, the main character is a clever fox who proves to be a nuisance to 3 farmers whose food Mr Fox keeps stealing. It’s about his adventures and run-ins with the farmers who hatch a plan to stop Mr Fox once and for all. The story is full of descriptive language, exciting wordplay, and a lot of different grammar structures.

While the books English may seem complex for new learners, they are used often within the English language and the context of the words and writing style is simple to follow. Fantastic Mr Fox is one of many stories from the UK author Roald Dahl, so if you like this book why not try some of his others?

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

the books english is aimed at children as this is a popular book for children in england


This book by Kenneth Grahame follows the story of four friends, Toad, Rat, Mole, and Badger, who live in the English countryside. It’s one of the most famous English novels and is a well-loved classic. This is a great novel for beginners to learn the English language and is commonly studied by British students from the age of 8. Since the book’s English level was written with a child’s reading ability in mind, the language is very simple and the story and context can follow without much difficulty.

As a side note, there is also a Wind in the Willows TV show that could support your learning!

The Giver – Lois Lowry

the books english is relatively simple and is a gripping and engaging story for older readers

This book is the story of the main character Jonas and his community, and how they live in peace due to having no memories of the past. That is until Jonas turns 12, and on the annual Ceremony of Twelve, he is given the job to remember and he learns that his world is not all it seems to be.

Lowry uses simple language throughout the book and the new language you pick up will not be difficult to learn. If you want to improve your English, this is a great one to read as the book’s English is simple and much of the vocabulary used you will find in everyday conversations.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

the books english can be complex or tricky because of the context of the story

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an action and adventure story and is the first of seven novels by the Scottish author J.K. Rowling.

The Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon and is a compelling and engaging story about ‘the boy who lived’ – it follows the stories of Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they enter into a world of magic, friendship, good vs. evil, and adventure. This books English level is perfect for learners with a higher level of English than a beginner, but if you are a beginner you may find J.K. Rowling’s writing style complex.

While the grammar and most of the vocabulary is simple; as the novels progress the language and themes increase in difficulty. Also, as the Philosopher’s Stone is a fantasy book, it contains uncommon language and context, and sentences can have an odd structure that can be difficult for a beginner.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding


Lord of the Flies is by English author William Golding, and is a dystopian sci-fi novel.

It is the story of a group of boys who find themselves stranded on an island. Early on in the story, they maintain a functioning society similar to the one they came from. However, as the book progresses things become out of control and take a violent turn. This book is a classic piece of English Literature and is a very popular novel that is studied in high school by American and British students. The books English isn’t too difficult to understand as Golding uses mostly simple vocabulary.

However, many uses of English slang won’t be found in a dictionary, and understanding the meaning of words through the context of the novel can be hard to follow for new learners.

P.S. Keep in mind that given the gruesome nature of the story, it’s probably not a good option for young readers!

The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway


This book is another example of classic English literature and is the last book published by Ernest Hemingway. It tells the story of an old fisherman and a young boy on a quest to catch a giant fish. Reading will teach you the value of determination and perseverance, despite the struggles faced (a valuable lesson to learn when starting your English journey!).

While the book is short and shouldn’t take too long to finish, the books English level can be more difficult due to the use of more complex vocabulary. However, it is easy to follow so it’s a great way to improve your English as a beginner if you feel ready for a challenge.


The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro


This book written by Kazuo Ishiguro tells the story from the point of view of Stevens, a stereotypical English butler who dedicates his life to his employer, Lord Darlington.

Stevens is a traditional Englishman and is very old-fashioned and formal in his choice of language and behaviour. It is as much a love story as it is one of duty and regret. Reading through the point of view of Stevens, the books English level can be difficult to understand due to the old language that is very rarely used today.

The book can also be hard to follow, the writing style can be very lyrical and readers will find that often what is written, is not actually what is meant. This can make understanding the meaning of words through context more difficult. This book, however, is one of the best books to read if you are more advanced in your English and you are ready to learn more complex sentences and language structures.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald


The Great Gatsby can be argued to be one of the greatest novels of all time.

F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s writing style is lyrical and poetic, making the books English hard for even some native English speakers to read. It is set in the 1920s during the prohibition era, about love and the American dream.

This book is a page-turner, with some exciting themes and imagery it is certainly one of those books you will never forget.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The author of The Great Gatsby, again F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the love story of Benjamin Button who, as the years pass, grows younger instead of older. As with his other books, the themes can be hard to follow, and the books English can have a complex structure.

However, the brilliant use of imagery, descriptive language, and interesting vocabulary are what make his books so famous.

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