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What are Graded readers?

Can learners use ‘authentic’ books?

’Authentic’ reading materials (for native speakers of English) are usually NOT the best books to teach foreign language learners to read. These are usually written for English-speaking children who already know thousands of words and most of the grammar of English before they start to read. English language learners don’t have this knowledge and usually find authentic books very difficult. Certainly until quite advanced English language learners should use Graded readers.

What are Graded readers?

Graded readers (also called ‘readers’) are books especially written for language learners. These readers help learners to read systematically by introducing them to easy language before they move up to more difficult language. Graded readers are a bridge to the eventual reading of authentic reading materials.

How are they graded?

Graded readers are graded through tight control of the plot, vocabulary, and grammar. Visual support is provided through carefully chosen pictures.  Books for beginning learners are written with the easiest, most frequent and most useful words.


For example, Level 1 of the Foundations Reading Library Series uses only 75 headwords and controlled grammar structures. Level 2 uses an additional 25 words (making a total of 100 headwords) and a new grammar structure. Level 3 adds more words (and grammar structures) and so on until learners reach the highest level in the series. In this way, learners progress through the different levels until at an advanced level they are eventually able to read authentic materials.