Imagine if you could build a huge English vocabulary, strengthen your grammar and improve your memory by making a simple (and fun) change to your daily routine. Well, good news - you can! Read on to discover how.
Do you read much? Every day?
Imagine if instead of reading in your own language, you chose to read in English? Can you imagine how much extra English practice you would get? And how much new vocabulary you'd learn?
Now, there's one big reason that most language learners don't do this. Reading the news or a book in a foreign language is hard. Really hard.
Unless it's designed for language learners.
Graded readers are story books designed for language learners and 'graded' at a certain level (for example, intermediate). They are a great way to practise your reading skills while building and strengthening your knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, without really trying!
I'm a big fan of graded readers. I read them myself when learning Chinese. However, I do have a problem with them. It's really difficult to find a good Chinese graded reader that is actually interesting.
Despite this, I still read them every night and feel a benefit in all areas of my language learning. When I read, I come across words that I've learned the meaning of a long time ago but have forgotten. Reading that word again helps my memory and I'm more likely to remember it later. I also find that I come across grammar that I've learnt but rarely heard or read before. Again, by reading this form, it helps strengthen my understanding of the grammar and I'm more likely to remember it later.
The truth about graded readers is that they are less about learning new words and grammar and more about strengthening the language you have already seen before (but don't fully understand or can't fully use yet). That's why when we read a graded reader, we should read at a level where we already know at least 90% of the language. In this situation, a lot of the time we can actually understand or guess a lot of the remaining 10%. So, the studies suggest that we can develop our skills by reading or listening to language that is just a little bit higher than our true language level.
"Office life is hard, especially if you're a zombie."
'Brian's Brains' is a graded reader designed for intermediate-level English learners. It's a light-hearted story about a zombie called Brian who's trying to succeed as an office professional.
I wrote this with you in mind: I want it to be interesting and give you motivation to continue reading. Moreover, I want to prove to you that reading in English can be fun.
I've chosen the words carefully so that intermediate-level English learners should be able to understand most of the words already. There will also be a few words that are new to you. You should try to keep reading past these words and see if you can guess what it means from the other words and sentences nearby. If you want, you can also look up any words in the dictionary.
So, if you don't already have a strong English reading routine, why not start yours now!
Here's a link to chapter 1: Brian's Brains - Chapter 1 - A meeting with the boss