Category: Learning Languages

Reading is the new learning

Illustration: Iulia Semkovskaia

Reading is one of the world activities which helps us get away from our current reality. We all need an escape, so we can let books transport us somewhere for a while. During my university years, I used to call the books I read ‘trees’. Quite weird, right? Well, my ‘tree concept’ has been summarized in a simple biological statement: there are evergreen and deciduous trees. The first type keeps its cover all year around, while the second one loses its leaves depending on the season. The most noticeable difference between them is concluded in foliage which I’d interpret as a book value.    

Based on my reading experience within the years, I learnt to distinguish the evergreen texts that are worth reading more than once from the deciduous ones that I wouldn’t get on with in the future. Honestly, this concept is still alive and keeps me moving forward. I’m currently falling back in love with some books I read more than ten years ago. Erich Fromm, Stephen King and George Orwell are still irreplaceable in my list. Although their works grapple with planet-sized topics like war and peace, various political and social issues, the human-being nature and the fears they face, the wisdom of the authors helps us elicit a brighter outlook on the world.

Reading is the new learning

Reading as a healthy habit

To start the habit of reading, it is essential to read what we’re passionate about. Sci-fi, novels, comics, IT books, history books – you name it – might be a cool start to wake your reading skills up and plunge you into the world of the chosen book. Moreover, you surely improve your language skills especially by looking up words you don’t know. You’re likely to have a wrong pronunciation at times because reading doesn’t allow you to practice speaking. That’s one of the reasons why audio books are considered to be a top-notch tool nowadays.

The role of reading skills

Literature has a huge impact on us, no matter what language we use to read it. It is a valuable resource to improve skills such as reading comprehension, language skills, object identification and even social skills. Books can enrich our minds with practical knowledge just like a good friend. We are definitely taught a lot from our “paper mates”. How to shape the direction of our mind and how to overcome our failures are some of the vital questions we can identify with the help of books at different stages in our life.

No doubt, reading is the best way to boost our knowledge in a new language, whether you are an elementary, intermediate or upper-intermediate learner. In this current article, I would like you to focus your attention on English as it’s a language spoken worldwide.

Illustration: Iulia Semkovskaia

Book recommendations

When it comes to taking up reading, we might think of a separate type of literature called ‘Graded readers’. This sort of books helps people enjoy the texts by being simplified according to their level. This could be a good try for the beginners whose intention is to start a new language. We’ve tried to indicate literary genres in the list below, although children’s literature still stands at the most basic level for evident reasons. Nonetheless, one big advantage of reading ‘real’ English literature, including kids’ books ,is that you can learn English the same way that native speakers do. Isn’t it already exciting? 

It’s been quite challenging to come up with a list of only 5 books, nevertheless, here we go with a compilation. Let’s consider some unbreakable rules that matter before you start: your choice, taking notes, having a dictionary app, re-reading aloud and enjoying each second of a book.

The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Level: A1 Beginner (mixed with Elementary)

This wonderful parable can be savored by readers of all ages. The young little prince visits various planets and brings up the issues of loneliness, friendship and love. Almost 80 years after its appearance, Saint- Exupéry’s story still has much to teach us, provided the fact that it’s a metaphor for his own childhood. What might surprise you is the illustration set made by Saint-Exupéry himself! It’s definitely your Bucket list book. 

Matilda by Roald Dahl 

Level: A2 Elementary

Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ is a good example of a children’s fantasy book. Some inexplicable magical elements combined with real-life situations make Matilda’s gruesome childhood more cheerful to her, as well as to a reader. Dahl’s writing style is playful, funny and exaggerated at the same time. If you’re flattered by Matilda’s world, you might want to watch a movie adaptation that turns out equally good.

 Paper towns by John Green 

Level: B1 Intermediate

‘Paper towns’ is a contemporary must-read novel for 14-year-olds and up who are into a romantic drama. The main protagonist Quentin starts searching for Margo, his neighbor and childhood love, after she goes missing. By figuring out the meaning of the hidden items she’s left, Quentin comes to a new true ideology. This mystery book demonstrates the right balancing of the metaphors and philosophical discussions of the characters. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone by J.K. Rowling

Level: B2 Upper-intermediate

“Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”. It’s the oft-quoted phrase usually mentioned by Harry Potter lovers. Although the book is written in a fantasy language, the themes of the text remain as relevant to our reality as they appear in the paper world: the acquaintance with authentic British culture, real and universal issues in people’s relationships and the importance of humor. You don’t want to miss a thing in this unforgettable journey to Harry Potter’s world!

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Level: C1 Advanced

If you’re looking to dive into a mysterious detective world, this is the best book to read. These adventures are the famous series of short detective puzzles that are being solved by gifted Mr. Holmes. Once you start reading these stories, both fantastically entertaining and shocking, you will fall in love with the excellent narrative ability of the author. The entire original collection is strongly recommended for the advanced levels in order to master grammar and vocabulary items at a higher stage.

Illustration: Iulia Semkovskaia

As you can see, reading might look different depending on the taste of the readers. Still, what can be better than cuddling up with any nice book and enriching your inner world with a pleasant and useful activity?

Well, what about YOUR reading habits? Do you have any favorite books in English? What reading tips can you share with us? Let us know in the comments below. In addition, if you don’t know what your English level is, Learning Jewel can help you! You can go to this link link to find it out https://learningjewel.com/test-gratuito-nivel-de-ingles/

Have a great read everyone!

Glossary for Language learners

Find the following bolded words in the article and then write down any new ones you didn’t know.

Foliage (n): the leaves on a plant

To get on with sth (pv): to continue doing something

Irreplaceable (adj): so valuable or special

To elicit (v): to get information from someone

You name it (exp): something that you say that means anything you say 

To look up sth (pv): to find information

Top-notch (adj): of the highest quality; excellent

To boost (v): to increase or improve something

Nonetheless (adv): despite what has just been said

To come up with sth (pv): to suggest or think of an idea or plan

Unbreakable (adj): impossible to break

To savor (v): to enjoy food/experience slowly, in order to enjoy it 

To bring sth up (pv): to start to talk about a particular subject

Bucket list (exp): a list of the things that a person would like to do

Inexplicable (adj): unable to be explained

To be flattered (v): to feel very pleased and proud 

Must-read (n): a piece of writing that should or must be read

To figure out (pv): solve a problem/ discover an answer to a question

Oft-quoted (adj): often quoted/ often cited

Relevant to (adj): appropriate to the current time or circumstances 

To master sth (v): to have or show a great skill

Gifted (adj): talented

To cuddle up (pv): to nestle close to someone or something to get warm

To enrich (v): to improve the quality of something by adding something


  • n = noun
  • adj = adjective
  • pv = phrasal verb
  • v = verb
  • exp = expression
  • adv = adverb