How to Learn to Read English for Beginners

Man reading

How to Learn to Read English for Beginners

For beginners, It is never too late to learn to read in English. Many people learn to read later in life and go on to lead successful, happy lives. While it may be harder to learn to read as an adult, it is still possible to learn with the right resources and support. You can learn much more English with the right tools – in this case – the best books for English learners.

Many programs and organizations offer free or low-cost reading skills classes for adults who want to learn to read in English. For beginners, the BBC offers a program called “Learn English” which provides basic lessons on reading, grammar, and vocabulary. For those who want a more comprehensive approach, there are online courses offered by universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Many websites offer free resources for learning to read in English, such as Reading Rockets and the National Reading Panel. Perhaps the most innovative of all are AI apps that integrate learning English with virtual assistants like LillyPad. Whichever approach you choose, with a little effort you can learn how to read in English. With some effort and perseverance, anyone can learn to read at any age.

Perhaps the most important thing is to start regular reading with simple texts. Choose material that is interesting to you and that uses words that you already know. Once you have a basic foundation, you can begin to branch out and explore more challenging material. Don’t try to tackle an entire book all at once. Instead, focus on small sections and work your way up.

With all of these resources available, you may be wondering, “where do I start”? Perhaps you have someone in your life you would like to help on their journey. Many resources are available to support you, but how do you master the basics of reading skills? Below, we have compiled our top 3 priorities for learning English. Keep reading to find out more!

Teaching a Child to Learn to Read English

Girl Reading

Learning Sounds

There are a few things to keep in mind when teaching a child to learn to read in English from scratch. First, it is important to teach the basic sounds of the language. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as using flashcards or reading aloud. Once the child has a basic understanding of the sounds, they can begin to learn how to put them together to form words. It is important to start with simple, one-syllable words and then gradually work up to more complex words. English reading is all about increments, not immediate results.

Another helpful tip is to provide plenty of practice opportunities, both at home and in the classroom. This can be done by using a phonics program or by working with a tutor who can help your child learn the correct pronunciations. Once your child has a good understanding of the individual letter sounds, they can begin to practice blending them to form words with activity books. Finally, it is important to be patient and encouraging throughout the process. By following these steps, you can help your child learn to read in English from scratch.

English blog

Learning Vocabulary

Learning to read in English in everyday life can be a daunting task for beginners, but with a little patience and the right approach, it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both children and adults. One of the most important things to do when teaching someone how to read is to focus on vocabulary development. Building a strong foundation of words will help make the transition to reading smoother and more enjoyable. There are a few simple steps that can be taken to help teach new words:

Encourage children to ask questions about unfamiliar words. Asking questions about the meaning of words is a great way to learn their definition and usage. Children should feel free to ask their teacher or parent for help when they come across a word they don’t know.

Repeat new words often. Research has shown that repetition is one of the most effective methods for learning new vocabulary. When introducing a new word, make sure to use it several times throughout the lesson or conversation. This will help embed the word in the child’s memory.

Create practice opportunities. In addition to repeating new words, it’s also important to provide opportunities for children to use the words in context. This could involve role-playing activities, writing exercises, online lessons, or simply having conversations.

Learning Comprehension

Assuming your child already knows the alphabet and how to read basic words, there are still many comprehension skills that need to be learned to become a fluent reader. These skills include understanding main ideas, details, sequence, cause and effect, and vocabulary development. Here is a step-by-step guide to teaching these essential comprehension skills to beginners:

Start with English books that contain short passages or stories. After reading the selection aloud to your child, ask them questions about what they just heard. What was the main idea of the story? What happened first, next, and last? Encourage them to retell the story in their own words using as many details as possible.

As your child becomes more comfortable with answering questions about stories, move on to longer passages or chapters from books. Focus on one specific skill at a time, such as finding the main idea or sequencing events. Again, after reading the selection aloud, ask comprehension questions and encourage your child to provide detailed answers.

Help your child learn new vocabulary words by providing context clues while reading aloud. When you come across an unknown word in a difficult book, stop and explain what it means about the story. You can also provide definitions for new words.

Teaching Adults to Learn to Read English

Two people reading

Learning Sounds

Many people who learn English as a second language find that one of the most difficult things to master is the pronunciation of certain sounds. For example, the “th” sound is often tricky for non-native speakers to produce. If you are teaching an adult English learner how to read, there are a few steps you can take to help them learn the correct pronunciation of English sounds.

First, provide them with an activity book containing a list of words that contain the sound they are struggling with. For example, if they are having trouble with the “th” sound, you could give them a list of words like “the”, “think”, and “three”. Then, have them practice saying the words out loud, focusing on producing the correct sound. You can also have them watch you make the sound and then mimic your mouth movement. Finally, encourage them to keep practicing at home by reading aloud to themselves, studying activity-based books, or listening to audiobooks. With a little bit of practice, your student will be able to produce all of the correct sounds of English in no time!

Learning Vocabulary

Learning to read in English for beginners can seem daunting, but with a little patience and practice, it can be a very rewarding experience. Here is a step-by-step guide to teaching an adult English learner the vocabulary of the English language:

1. Start with the basics. Help your learner familiarize themselves with the alphabet and the most common vowel and consonant sounds. You can do this through activities such as singing alphabet songs, playing reading exercises, practice books, and reading simple English learning books together.

2. Build up gradually. Start with something small, like a brief English paragraph for reading. Once your learner is confident with these excerpts from books, begin introducing new words and phrases gradually. Start with simple reading exercises and expand from there. Encourage your learner to practice reading aloud as often as possible.

3. Use various resources. In addition to books, there are many other great resources available for learning new vocabulary. Look for a combination of reading websites, apps, puzzles, flashcards, picture books, and other fun learning materials. The more diverse your approach, the more likely your learner will be to retain the new information.

4. Be patient and encouraging. Learning a new language can be challenging, so be sure to provide a plethora of books, entertaining stories, and encouragement along the way.

Learning Comprehension

Reading lessons with an adult English learner at a beginner level can seem daunting for English teachers, but it doesn’t have to be. By following a few simple steps, you can help your student learn to read and understand English.

First, provide your student with reading passages in English that are at their level. This could be a simple children’s book or shorter stories. The important thing is that the text is not too challenging.

Next, explain what you will be doing. Tell your student that you are going to help them learn to read by breaking down the text into small pieces.

Then, begin reading the text aloud. As you read, pause frequently to ask your students questions about what they are hearing. Encourage them to retell the story in their own words.

Finally, wrap up the lesson by asking your English reader to summarize what they have learned. You could also have them write a short summary of the text to display their knowledge in reading. Following these steps can help your adult English learner develop strong comprehension skills.


Learning how to learn English is an attainable goal for individuals of any age. This blog has shown you the many English reading practice resources available to you. While it may be challenging for some, there are a variety of resources available that can provide English learning for beginners. One such resource is English language tutoring. A tutor can help ensure that a learner grasps the basic concepts of the language and progresses at a comfortable pace. Additionally, many online resources can be accessed at any time. These resources often include interactive games and exercises that make learning fun and engaging. With a little effort and perseverance, anyone can learn to read in English.

Teen reading book

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start learning to read English?

There are a number of ways that you can start learning to read English. One option is to enroll in an English language course at a local community college or university. These courses will typically provide you with an introduction to the basics of the language, including grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Alternatively, there are many online resources that can help you to learn English on your own time and at your own pace. A quick internet search will reveal a wealth of websites, apps, and other materials that can be used for self-study. 

How do beginners practice reading?

When it comes to learning how to read, practice makes perfect. But for beginners, the task of foundational reading can seem daunting. The key is to break the process down into smaller, manageable steps. Start by reviewing the alphabet and practicing identifying individual letter sounds.

What should I read to practice English?

The best way to improve your English reading skills is to choose material that is at the right level for you and that interests you. If you are a beginner, look for books, websites, and articles that are written in simple language. As you become more proficient, you can move on to more challenging material. In addition, it is helpful to read about topics that you are already familiar with, as this will make the material easier to understand. 

How can I learn English for free?

One great way to learn is with online English courses. These courses typically consist of a series of lessons, each of which focuses on a specific aspect of the language. Many courses also include quizzes and exercises to help you practice what you have learned.

Another great resource for learning English is online forums. These forums provide an opportunity to interact with native speakers and other learners from around the world. You can ask questions, get feedback on your pronunciation, and even make friends.

Finally, don’t forget about YouTube. There are many channels devoted to teaching English as a second language, and you can often find helpful videos on specific topics such as grammar or vocabulary. 

Can you learn English just by reading?

While reading is certainly a great way to learn new vocabulary and gain exposure to new grammatical structures, it is not enough on its own to mastery the English language. In order to become fluent, it is important to practice speaking and writing as well. This will help you to learn correct pronunciation and improve your own ability to communicate in English. 

Where do I start with English literature?

There are a few classic works that every student of English literature should read. One of the most important is Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” This play is a masterful tragedy that explores the nature of revenge and betrayal. It is also one of the most quoted works of literature in the English language.

Another essential work is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. This classic novel explores the social constraints of early 19th-century England, and it is still relevant today. Finally, every student of English literature should read “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville.

This sprawling epic tells the story of an obsessed whale hunter and his fateful obsession with a great white whale.

Can reading be self-taught?

The ability to read is one of the most fundamental skills a person can learn. It opens up a world of knowledge and information, and allows us to communicate with others. While most people learn to read in school, it is possible to teach oneself this essential skill. There are a number of resources available to self-directed learners, including online tutorials, books, and software programs. The key to success is finding materials that are suited to one’s individual learning style. 

Does reading improve speaking?

Reading is often seen as a solitary activity, but it can actually have a significant impact on our ability to communicate effectively. When we read, we are exposed to new vocabulary and ideas, which helps to broaden our understanding of the world. In addition, reading helps to improve our grammar and syntax, and make us better at expressing ourselves clearly.

Learn from History – Follow the Science – Listen to the Experts

What’s the one thing that makes LillyPad so special? Lilly! She is a personal 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!

Frog reading app

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 life-changing story!

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

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

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