Reading is amazingly helpful for learning a language, and as an ESL learner you’re in luck! There’s just an enormous amount of literature, so this list of the best books for an ESL beginner to read is to introduce you to some of the classics.
Furthermore if you read lots, or simply want to read lots easily, getting a Kindle subscription could revolutionise your learning! And if you want to bring your books with you wherever you go, getting a Kindle is perfect (or this is a more general, cheaper option).
First up, you’ve definitely heard of Harry Potter. This book is where it all began, and it’s great! It’s really easy to read, well written and entertaining throughout, and the first of seven books, so there’s plenty more after this.
This brilliant fantasy novel follows 4 siblings who can escape through a wardrobe into a magical kingdom. So follow their adventures and see them grow up over the course of the next three books.
Gandalf, Golem, Frodo, Sauron. All of these legendary characters come from this series, and ‘good’ doesn’t do it justice. This series is amazing and has everything you could ever want from a book (including lots of fighting). This is actually the sequel to the Hobbit, and is comprised of three novels.
This is a hugely important and influential American novel about two migrant workers during the Great Depression. It’s a great book, not too long and easy to read, and gives non-Americans like myself valuable insight into American culture and history, and the ‘American Dream’.
This 19th Century novel by Mark Twain is ingrained into American culture and folklore. It’s a fantastic book set along the Mississippi River, and is the sequel to Tom Sawyer. It’s worth noting, however, that some of the language is this book is occasionally old-fashioned, or offensive, so it should be read in the context of its time.
One of the first pirate novels, this is a great book about finding the treasure on a island, hidden by an infamous pirate. Perfect for all ages, easy to read and captivating throughout, this is the perfect book to improve your English reading!
This is another influential book, satirising the Russian Revolution of 1917 through a story about animals. It shows the dangers of Communism, through the rule of the pigs, and exploitation of other animals. Though this seems a very simple book, it has more overarching messages and allegories than are immediately apparent.
Indisputably one of the best love stories ever written, you must read Romeo and Juliet! Shakespeare himself is one of the most famous and influential writers ever, and this is one of his most popular plays. Read about forbidden love, family feuds and ultimate sacrifice in this.
This is by far the most recent novel on this list, and might seem a surprising choice. I think this dystopian novel is amazing and is one of the most heart-touching books I’ve ever read. It’s seen huge success since being published in 2005, and is written in clear, simple English, making it perfect for ESL learners.
One author I could never leave off this list was Roald Dahl. You may know Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, the BFG, or the Giraffe, the Pelly and Me (this could go on for a while!). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is possibly the most iconic, however, and is perfect for all ages. And if you can, buy a copy with the amazing illustrations by Quentin Blake!
Did you enjoy our list of the best beginner ESL books to read? When you're feeling confident, why not schedule a Lex and share recommendations with your partner.