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6 Simple Novels and Short Stories for Learning to Read In English

5 min read
24 November 2020
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Reading classic books and novels is a fun, highly effective way of studying English language and culture. However, the prospect of diving into Great Expectations or Huckleberry Finn can be intimidating for beginners; there's just so many words you haven't learned yet! That's why many students like to start with simple stories that are easy to read like fairy tales, children's stories, and traditional texts. Many beginners choose easy novels and stories as an introduction to reading in English because it helps train them to eventually move on to more challenging texts. We've picked the best 6 to help you get started.


1. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Difficulty: Easy

Roald Dahl is one of the greatest writers of all time for both children and adults alike. His simple writing style and charming, beautiful stories are world famous. However, some of his stories can be prone to 'nonsense' words and old language. Danny the Champion of the World doesn't have this problem - it's a more adult story about a boy's relationship with his father - and his father's dark, secret past.


2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Difficulty: Medium

This famous tale was written by a writer well known for his clean, simple writing style. He was so good that he even wrote an entire instruction manual about how to write clearly! Charlotte's Web is a story set on a farm about an unlikely friendship between a spider and a pig. If you like animals then this story is definitely for you!


3. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

Difficulty: Easy

The Happy Prince is one of Oscar Wilde's best short stories. Well-known for its heartbreaking finale, this simple parable centers on the relationship between a talking statue and a tiny bird. The language is straightforward and the story is short but beautiful.



4. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Difficulty: Medium

This charming book is very useful for readers looking to improve their English; the author actually explains some of the more difficult words! As the title suggests, this novel doesn't have a happy ending, but it's a fantastic adventure all the same! It tells the story of a family of children who lose their parents and are made to live with the mysterious Count Olaf.


5. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Difficulty: Medium

The Wind in the Willows is another classic of British literature and has inspired readers for generations. Its simple language is easy to read and the story is engaging and fun. It centers around a river in the English countryside and the adventures of the animals that live around it.


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6. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Difficulty: Hard

This short novel earned Hemingway the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954 and is one of the greatest works ever written. Beginners may find this novel a little more difficult than the others, however, Hemingway is renowned for having some of the cleanest prose and simplest writing styles of any legendary writers. This intensely human, emotional tale is about one fisherman's struggle against nature.


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