Online Reading to Match Your Level and Interests

The Internet has wonderful resources for all types of online reading. These suggestions can help you find reading that isn't too hard.

However, if you're interested in an article with difficult English, don't forget all the tools to help you read it-- online dictionaries and even translators. Try it in English, first (and again afterwards), even if you need to use a translation app. Make it a game to see how much you can understand before you get it translated!

A Few Websites with English Readings
for Beginner or Intermediate ESL

girl with a red sweater smiling as she reads her computer screenOnline reading-- a world of information
girl with a red sweater smiling as she reads her computer screenOnline reading-- a world of information

These websites have a variety of topics, but all are written in fairly simple English. Many also have audio recordings, (They will open in a new window so you won't lose your place here.)

  • Newsela has a good variety of interesting news articles written at several levels, so you can choose the level that is best for you, from the easiest to the original article (with the most detail.)
  • CLILstore (not a store, but a source of language stories and articles-- many with videos) has material at several levels, from A1 (beginner) to C2 (advanced.) They also provide one-click translation. Be sure to put 'English' in the search bar-- they have a huge number of selections in many languages.  Teachers have added comprehension exercises for many of them, so you can check how well you understood what you read.
  • CNN’s news stories have audio recordings and often activities to review and reinforce the words you learn. If the original story is difficult for you try the “Abridged Story,” which has been simplified. (Most of these are older news, but still useful for English practice.)
  • The British Council magazine has short articles with audio (and usually comprehension practice) on many different topics. It's for Intermediates and up.
  • ESL mini-readings about daily life lead to discussion questions and ideas for follow-up research online. You can listen to many of them as you read. Some have links to quizzes, vocabulary, or pronunciation practice as well.
  • English Online has many interesting articles on history, geography, and science simplified for English learners. Each article has a vocabulary list at the end. Presently there are a few hundred topics.
  • Voice of America has world news and American culture readings with audio for Beginning and Intermediate students. (Intermediates can click on their level 2.) 
  • The BBC has many similar articles with audio for English learners on world news and British culture.
  • Jellybean Scoop has news and funny or inspirational true stories written at levels from very simple to fluent, with new stories every day. It has reading comprehension, vocabulary practice, and other activities for each. They're especially aimed at children, but most looked interesting to me. Try it out!
  • Kid’s health with easy readings (and audio recordings) about all kinds of health issues. Articles are also available in Spanish.

Audio recordings let you listen at the same time that you read. Their advantage is that you not only hear pronunciation of the words, but you get the message two ways, with both eyes and ears. (This will also help you recognize the words you learn when you hear them again in a lecture or in conversation.)

Websites for More Advanced ESL Online Reading

If your English reading level is advanced, you have even more options. Try English-language journals in your professional field, or magazines on subjects that interest you.

Are you fascinated by fashion or cooking, politics or science fiction? You could subscribe to a magazine in any of these fields, or find them in a public library, or read articles online.

Some excellent websites with more advanced readings are

  • Many, which has the complete text of many classic books, short stories, and other readings, some with audio.

  • This I Believe has short statements (essays & audio)from many famous and many ordinary people about what each feels is most important in life. So many of these are worth reading!

If you don’t know where to start, go to “explore” and try the 1950s essays by Albert Einstein, Roger Hammerstein, and Jackie Robinson. (Click on the picture to find the essay along with the audio recording.) In “Featured Essays” try “My Parents as Friends,” or “Here Comes (the Real) Santa Claus.” In “Special Features,” you might try “Recovering the Hope of Children” (in “Hope for the Future”) or “There is Such a Thing as Truth” (in “A Roadmap for Life.”

Finding Information Online in English

The Internet is also a great place to find information in your specific areas of interest, or for your personal, business, or professional needs.

It is worth checking out the English-language sites in those areas, too.

Some may be too difficult for you right now, but others will be written in a simple style. Some will even have a translation button. (You can also copy and paste brief sections you want translated into Google Translator yourself.) It’s far from perfect, but it can give you an idea of the meaning of parts you don’t understand.)

In addition, you can order English books online, or learn about them online and see if they are available at a library.

For more information on books for free reading in English, see Easy Reading: Books for ESL Beginners and Finding English Reading Materials.

Home>  ESL Reading Hints > Online Reading.

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