Good reads for intermediate English learners


in Something to read

Young adult books are often a good place to start for intermediate English learners who have difficulty reading regular popular fiction. After reading a few young adult books, many learners discover that they’re ready to move on and enjoy popular fiction. I’ll warn you, though, that many of these books are so good you’ll want to read more than just a few. And that’s okay!

1book140 is a Twitter book club and a good place to find new books to read. Club members have recently suggested nearly 40 outstanding young adult books for their members to read during February. The list is a mixture of new and classic books.

The links – to Amazon – make it possible for you to preview each of the books. Just click on the “Look Inside” link to see the preview.

The books

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (also consider Beyond the Chocolate War)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Newbery medal winer)

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (writer of the Thursday Next series)

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Up from Jericho Tel by E.L. Konigsburg

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Phantom Toll Booth by Norton Juster (illustrated by Jules Feiffer)

Eragon by Christopher Paolini (the first book in his Inheritance series)

Little House in the Highlands by Melissa Wiley (a prequel – comes before in time – to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s very popular Little House on the Prairie; the Little House series includes several books)

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (part of her Shades of London series)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume

Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (combination conventional and graphic novel; nominated for Caldecott and Newbery medals; his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott medal)

The Giver  by Lois Lowry (the other books in this excellent series include Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son); The Giver won the Newbery medal)

The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer.

Getting the most out of your reading experience

Most of these books are also available as audiobooks. If you really enjoy a book, get the audiobook version and listen to it, or read and listen at the same time. If you want to read and listen at the same time, be sure your audiobook is unabridged, or complete. Some audiobooks are abridged, or shortened.

If you enjoy one of these books, see if the author has written other books and read some of them. This is called narrow reading, and it’s a good strategy for language development.

If you’ve already enjoyed any of these books, write a comment and let us know about them.

Happy reading!

Warren Ediger


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Eric Roth January 27, 2013

I would also add Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Pearl, and Cat’s Cradle.

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