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Best Books for Improving Your English

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Reading in English has many benefits. One such benefit is being able to see how words are used in context. Context will help you understand new vocabulary better than if you simply studied them out of context. Another benefit is seeing common grammar structures.  This regular exposure will help you to start recognizing patterns and express yourself in more natural ways.

Plus, if you read out loud, you can boost your pronunciation and memory at the same time. 

Check out my book recommendations below!

My biggest recommendation is to choose books that are enjoyable and interesting to you, just as you would in your native language.If you don't enjoy the story, you're not going to read it. Or worse, you'll begin to associate the language with negative emotions.

 

That being said, these are some books that I have enjoyed and that my own students have enjoyed. Maybe you will too!

 

I have just started this list - so please be patient ! I will update it as often as I can.

Please note that the links below contain affiliate links. That means that when you use the link below to buy a book, I receive a small percent from Amazon. This doesn’t cost you anything and it helps to support my so to that I can continue to bring you valuable content. Thanks for everything !

English Grammar Books

Basic English Grammar

Betty S. Azar & Stacy A. Hagan

If you're going to study grammar, having a solid foundation is critical. This series will teach you the building blocks that will make creating more complicated sentences in the future, as well as understanding and editing your own mistakes, much easier in the future.

 

I use this series with all of my private students, especially if their goal is to write.

English Vocabulary Books

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Like it or not, phrasal verbs are necessary for sounding more fluent and natural. This is a fantastic series with many visuals, audio, and practice problems! It categories phrasal verbs into themes (time, money, etc.) which I believe can make them easier to remember.

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English Vocabulary in Use

Michael McCarthy

I think these Cambridge books are a fantastic series. They present new vocabulary words in context within a theme and provide many practice exercises. You can find these series for every level.

English Pronunciation Books

I use this book with many of my own students. It's a fantastic resource if you're studying American English. It covers pronunciation in a simple but thorough way. 

English Fiction Books 

Beginners

If you just started to learn English, children's books can be very helpful.

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This was one of my favorite books when I was a child. My mother read it to me frequently. It is quite easy to follow and there is a lot of everyday vocabulary (especially words for around the home). Plus, it'll help you to better understand future time clauses (when/if ….will/going to).

Intermediate

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Holes

Louis Sachar

This is the story of a 14-year-old boy named Stanley who is wrongly accused of stealing. As punishment, he is sent to a "Camp" located in the middle of the desert. There, Stanley and the other boys are forced to dig holes everyday --big holes. If they find anything unusual, they are supposed to report it. Stanley begins to wonder what they are looking for and this leads him down a curious path.

It's also a movie if you'd like to work on your listening skills!

Advanced

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Sum

David Eagleman

What happens when we die? This book presents 40 different possibilities of the afterlife in a playful and poetic way. Each chapter is a just a few pages long, making it a fantastic choice if you’re looking for daily reading practice that won’t take too much time. However, don't let its brevity fool you - there are many philosophical ideas in this book that are sure to make you think and expand your capacity for critical thinking in English.

American Essentials

The books I have listed below are required reading for all American students (I haven't listed all of them - just my favorites!). American classics provide insight into the history and culture of the United States. Reading these works can help you better understand and appreciate American culture.

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To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic of modern American literature and has won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.  It is set in the American south in the 1930s  and follows the story of a young girl as she grows up and learns about the complexities of race and prejudice in her community.

Her father is a lawyer who is appointed to defend a black man against false accusations.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

The novel is set in a future society where books are banned and "firemen" are responsible for burning any that are found. The story follows one of these fireman who begins to question his job and his society.

Nonfiction

Check back soon!

Graphic novels

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This is an emotional graphic novel about a woman trying to understand her parents’ past and their journey migrating from Vietnam. She discovers the struggles they faced surviving and raising her in the United States.

Graphic novels are my favorite things to read. The artwork enhances the storytelling and makes the whole reading experience much more powerful. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Blankets follows the experiences of the author growing up in a strict Christian household in rural Wisconsin. The graphic novel has received widespread critical acclaim for its beautiful artwork and deeply personal narrative.

Blankets

Craig Thompson

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The novel tells three stories: the legend of the Monkey King, the story of a young Chinese-American boy named Jin Wang trying to fit in with his American classmates, and the story of a character named Danny, who is constantly embarrassed by his cousin. The three stories eventually come together, with the themes of identity, culture, and racism being explored throughout the book.

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

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