Using simplified readers


Students not quite ready for Shakespeare?

What are they?

Graded readers are simplified novels or non-fiction books that come in a range of levels. They include classics, films, biographies, history, drama, romance, comedy and crime. They are specially designed for EFL/ESOL students who would find standard books too difficult. Level is determined by vocabulary and structure. Many have accompanying cassettes or CD’s which you can use for listening practice.

Graded readers and home tuition

  • You will need a selection of graded readers. Start with 3, each at a different level.
  • At the start of a course, introduce your student to your range of books and advise on a suitable choice. In most cases a book is at the right level if a student comes across 3 or 4 new words per page. Encourage them to read outside lesson time.
  • Explain that you are happy to discuss any vocabulary/structures/cultural references at the start of your lessons each day.

How they can be used in lessons

Readers can be used in lesson time or read independently outside lesson time. Higher level students will probably be keener to use them independently. Activities include:

  • Discussion based on topics in reader
  • Using the cassette/CD to look at aspects of pronunciation
  • Guessing vocabulary in context
  • Student orally summarising passages read outside lesson time
  • Student  orally summarising a listening passage and then checking the text for accuracy
  • Role playing situations in the reader
  • Predicting what is going to happen next
  • Finding examples of useful structures eg phrasal verbs, tenses, conditionals etc

Publishers of graded readers

Oxford University Press (Oxford Bookworms Library)


Cambridge University Press

Penguin Readers.

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