How to learn English through reading ?
December 14, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for book recommendations for teenagers learning English.

In my ongoing quest for motivating material for teenagers following an esl course, I'm now looking for books. I mean fiction - or non-fiction, recent - or ancient, even traditional, relatively easy reading that my pupils can endeavour to read on their own. Sci-fi, Heroic Fantasy are nice but I'd gladly consider any stuff that's outside the box.
posted by nicolin to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There is a weird, albeit somewhat expensive, set of books about Griffin and Sabine, and it is a series of letters (in actual envelopes in the books!) that people can read. It is sci-fi-ish and non-linear, so it should be interesting. One book, not the first, is called "Sabine's Notebook." There are 2 more, too.
posted by ShadePlant at 11:21 AM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: have you considered comix at all?

with ESL folks, what's nice is that the graphics offer another/alternative way of understanding the narrative - of course, there's also visual literacies that have to be addressed and you may have to deal with those

in any case, i'd recommend the Flight series: stunning visuals, beautiful & thoughtful stories, pretty safe for all ages

and too: in terms of visual literacy you might start them with The Arrival - it's a wordless narrative but you can't ask for a better book on the immigrant experience

another awesome comic book on immigrant experience is American Born Chinese - way more advanced, tho, in terms of language & narrative

good luck! you're doing righteous work!
posted by jammy at 11:22 AM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

hmm... i now see i was assuming your question referenced immigrant experience, which may not be the case - my apologies - my experience here in the US with ESL students has been with immigrants, hence the assumption

in any case, i also noticed through checking your profile that you're in France - if comix do appeal to you at all as venue for ESL, you might check out the work of David B. and/or Joann Sfar, who both have the benefit of having both french and english versions of their work
posted by jammy at 11:35 AM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: I volunteer with English Language learner teenagers (although they are fairly advanced; most are maybe 2 or 3 year behind grade level) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian went over well with them. It's written in a straight-forward, clear way, yet deals with more grown-up topics. In fact, I'd recommend this book for any 14+ year old who reads at a younger level, altho it is a fairly "American" book, and I'm not sure how much would translate over.

My girl mentee also liked Derby Girl and the Poison Apple series.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: I would look for books labeled for YA "reluctant readers"; they tend to be written on an easier reading level, but with plots and themes appropriate for teens. The American Library Association has a list of recommended books for for YA reluctant readers. You also might want to give Newbery Medal winners a shot--they're technically "children's books", but would likely also draw in young adults.
posted by epj at 2:32 PM on December 14, 2010

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