10 Reasons to Learn English with Graded Readers

A guide to the many benefits of Graded Readers for learning languages.

frog with books

In a world full of language students, there are more learning resources than ever before. We can take our learning into our own hands now, finding apps and websites to supply our knowledge. With the rise of internet access, we have greater access to widespread education.

Nothing illustrates this more than the world of eBooks. Students no longer need to rely on paperbacks and expensive materials to learn, they can simply download their information. This eReading development has benefited students in a variety of ways. But mostly, you will find English learners capable of extensively reading significantly more.

Extensive Graded Reading

Extensive reading has been proven to help students improve their English in a variety of ways. This method involves English students selecting simple, interesting books to read quickly. The goal isn’t to complete the book flawlessly or even absorb all of the information. Extensive reading aims to expose the student to vocabulary in a variety of contexts, so they can subconsciously absorb it. There are no tests with this method and no do-overs. It’s simply reading as much as you can, without sweating the small details along the way. It’s the perfect technique for an attentive reader who wants to try something new.

The best part of extensive reading is that you can cover a lot of reading material and learn more than just English. Extensive reading can be a cultural exploration, or a chance to learn new skills. But you may be asking yourself: “How can I find the right material to read extensively? How can I guarantee I won’t be stumped along the way?”. This is where a graded reader book comes in handy.

Graded readers are a specific genre of book that measures the reading level on the cover. This way you can match the difficulty to your knowledge. They can take the stress off of the student because they supply simple, concise words that are easily absorbed. While many graded readers are helpful for the reading skills of native-speaking children, they are actually written for all ages. Children have access to a wide range of children’s books and literature. Graded readers aim to appeal to a wider audience, with many being simplified versions of classic literature and novels.

This blog will dive deeper into the world of graded readers, and offer the top genres for English learners to look for. Keep reading to learn more about this reading method for the modern reader!

frog hug world book

Why Use Graded Readers?

  • Accessibility – Language students can still read their favourite classic story with this method. Graded readers make it easier for students to access material they’re genuinely interested in. On top of this, many graded readers can be found online, making it easier to find these simplified versions.
  • Vocabulary – Graded readers simplify and recycle language so the reader can pick up vocabulary much easier. Gone are the days of pouring over dictionaries and language books. Graded readers give the student the tools for easier, effective vocabulary learning.
  • Enjoyment – This method of learning prioritized the enjoyment of the student above all else. You can choose books on food, entertainment, stories, animals, anything and everything with graded readers. If you find yourself not enjoying what you’re reading you can simply put the book down and look for something else. The key to extensive reading with graded readers is to stay motivated and have fun!
  • Freedom – The beauty of this learning method for adult readers is that it can be done anywhere, any place. Students don’t need teachers watching over them to do this reading exercise. You can start learning languages at home through graded readers today. Students can choose how much time they put into the activity (though it’s suggested you extensively read for at least 30 minutes for maximum effect).
  • Speed – A great benefit of reading often and reading fast is it naturally increases your reading speed. Students who extensively read with print-graded readers found that they were able to process their new language much faster and automatically than before. The reader response is quicker with a simple story.
  • Writing – The saying goes “in order to write, you must read”. This is the same for language learning as well. The more a student reads, the more they can give correct structure to their own writing. This is due to the repetition of words and phrases in graded readers – providing multiple ways of saying the same thing.
  • Understanding – Studies have shown that being proficient in reading a foreign language shows a greater overall understanding. Those who read and write in addition to speaking are truly fluent and masters of the language they’re learning. They have a much easier time learning more complicated things like grammar and syntax. Students who extensively read also learn the language much faster due to this understanding.
  • Authenticity – Sometimes the language in coursebooks can feel as if it is manufactured and unrealistic. With graded readers, you’re exposing yourself to organic language. In these books, you will find dialogue, explanations, observations, and monologues. All of this is important to know when you’re learning a new language. With time, you will be able to phrase more accurate, authentic sentences.
  • Grammar – Graded readers can provide a better understanding of vocabulary, writing, and overall speed. But it can also provide a subconscious grammar education. This is because sentence structure can slowly be distinguished through repetition. You may find this to be a slower learning curve, but you will become a grammar whiz over time! The books give you that perfect head start.
  • Diversity – One of the best parts of graded readers is there is truly something for everyone. No more confusion for readers who aren’t advanced learners. People from different backgrounds can all find something that interests them. Genres cover everything from non-fiction to fiction and beyond! It’s important to make sure you’re giving yourself a variety of genres when you read extensively. This is the best way to achieve a diverse range of vocabulary and improve the development of language learner habits. Below, we have provided a list of the most popular genres of graded readers:

Dancing Frog

Popular Graded Reader Genres


This is a popular graded reader genre because they’re educational and engaging while still being easy to read. Try looking for graded readers on your favourite scientists or figureheads throughout history!

  • Women who inspire: Malalaby Terry Barber (Grade 1-2)


Another popular graded reader genre. For the student who wants to learn a new skill or habit. You can find plenty of graded readers on going green, building communities, and finding happiness!

  • How to Be Good to Yourself(Grade 1-2)


For language learners who want to laugh while they learn, you can’t go wrong with funny stories. There are plenty of graded books to satisfy the inner comedian. Examples include humour guides, comics, as well as comedic storytelling.

  • Change Orderby Tana Reiff (Grade 1-2)


The sports genre can fall under other genres as well. This is because there is a wide range of sports how-to graded readers, alongside sports biographies and non-fiction. Learn about your favourite athletes while learning a new language!

  • Bruce Leeby Terry Barber (Grade 1-2)


Animals are always a fascinating topic to read on. Whether it be about their habitats, non-fiction descriptions, or stories about animals. For those who aren’t sure what graded readers to pick up, you can’t go wrong with the animal kingdom as your language learner literature.

  • Animal Shelter by Linda Kita-Bradley (Grade 1-2)


These graded readers can cover a wide range of topics like food, lifestyle, exercise, and how-to guides. They’re especially useful for students who are looking to improve their well-being. However, many books also focus on inspiring health-related journeys.

  • Helen Keller by Terry Barber (Grade 1-2)


Books on pop culture can be fascinating for those looking to learn about the culture behind the language. Finding an easy reader on films and music can give the student a better idea of the language in its context.

  • Jimi Hendrix by Terry Barber (Grade 1-2)


Who doesn’t love a cookbook? These graded readers can appeal to most students from an instructive and educational standpoint. There are even fictional stories about people and their relationship with food. Just make sure to bring a snack!

  • Chicken for Charlieby Tana Reiff (Grade 1-2)


This can benefit mature language learners from a multitasking standpoint. You could be reading about one culture while learning the language of another. You could also use this to plan trips for when you’ve learned your new language. There are many books about travel in both fiction and non-fiction.

  • Missing by Frances Itani (Grade 1-2)


For those who live for a classic whodunnit in the realms of Agatha Christie or Truman Capote, this is the genre to look into. Plenty of graded readers have been made with simplified versions of these classics.

  • The Hangman by Louise Penny (Grade 3)


There truly is a graded reader for everyone. If drama-focused novels are your cup of tea, there are infinite options. These books are full of inspiring stories based on real life. Drama stories are known for their relatability and emotional relevancy.

  • My Sister’s Keeper by Brenda Chapman (Grade 3)

frog dancing

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you teach graded readers?

When teaching graded readers, it is important to start with the basics. Make sure that students understand the different features of a text, such as the title, author, and illustrations. Next, introduce them to the concept of a main idea and supporting details. Once they have a grasp of these basic concepts, you can begin working on comprehension strategies, such as skimming and scanning. As students become more comfortable with the material, you can challenge them with more difficult texts.

What is the difference between a reader and a graded reader?

A graded reader is a type of book that has been specifically designed for language learners. These books are usually written using a limited vocabulary and simplified grammar, making them an ideal tool for beginning and intermediate learners. In contrast, a reader is simply any book that someone chooses to read for pleasure or instruction. While readers can be adapted for use in the classroom, they are not necessarily designed with language learners in mind. As a result, graded readers may be a more effective choice for those who are just starting to learn a new language.

What is ELT graded reader?

ELT graded readers are books that are written specifically for language learners. They are usually adapted from original works of fiction or non-fiction and are designed to be used in the classroom or for self-study. One of the main features of ELT graded readers is that they are carefully graded according to difficulty level, making them an ideal tool for language learning. In addition, ELT graded readers often include supplementary material such as glossaries, exercises, and notes on grammar and vocabulary.

What are graded reader books?

Graded reader books are books that are written specifically for language learners. They are usually shorter than traditional novels, and they often contain illustrations or other supportive materials. Most importantly, they are designed to be read at different levels, depending on the reader’s proficiency. This means that learners can gradually work their way up to more challenging books, as their skills improve. Graded reader books can be an excellent way to improve reading comprehension, and they can also be a fun and engaging way to learn a new language.

What is the alternative name for graded reading?

The alternative name for graded reading is levelling. Levelling is the process of assigning a difficulty level to a text based on factors such as content, length, and vocabulary.

What is a fundamental condition of extensive reading?

The ability to read quickly and fluently is the fundamental condition of extensive reading. This means that readers should aim to read at a rate of around 200-250 words per minute (wpm), which is about twice as fast as the average person reads. To achieve this, readers need to practice Automatic Word Recognition (AWR), which is the ability to recognize words without having to sound them out. AWR can be developed through extensive reading, as well as through other methods such as word lists and flashcards. Once readers have developed a good level of AWR, they will be able to read faster and with greater comprehension. 

How should a mid-beginner be using graded readers?

Graded readers can be an effective tool for language learners at the mid-beginner level. By reading texts that are slightly beyond their current level, learners can improve their fluency while also expanding their vocabulary. Additionally, graded readers can provide valuable practice in identifying the main idea of a text and understanding its overall structure. When using graded readers, it is important to select texts that are challenging but still comprehensible.

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Learn Languages with LillyPad!

Delve into graded reading with LillyPad! This app was designed with English learners in mind. For easy learning, simply open a book of your choice and allow Lilly to read to you. This app offers a diverse library for you to curate and enjoy on your own time. Every time you sign in, we bring the classroom to you! It’s the perfect app full of reader initiatives to activate the development of the language learner.

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What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! She is your personal artificial intelligence English tutor, and has people talking all over the world! Lilly makes improving your English easy. With Lilly you can read in four different ways, and you can read just about anything you love. And learning with Lilly, well that’s what you call liberating!

For learners of all ages striving to improve their English, LillyPad combines the most scientifically studied and recommended path to achieving English fluency and proficiency with today’s most brilliant technologies!

Additionally, the platform incorporates goal-setting capabilities, essential tracking & reporting, gamification, anywhere-anytime convenience, and significant cost savings in comparison to traditional tutoring methodologies.

At LillyPad, everything we do is focused on delivering a personalized journey that is meaningful and life-changing for our members. LillyPad isn’t just the next chapter in English learning…

…it’s a whole new story!

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles LillyPad.ai since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

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