Looking for a quick way to increase your vocabulary? Try reading articles to improve your English! You’ll pick up the rhythms and grammar of English as well as new vocabulary.
Of course, it’s important to choose articles that aren’t too far from your current English level, so you won’t get discouraged.
You should understand most of the article you are reading with a few dictionary checks or guesses.
If you’re just beginning in English, most articles will be too difficult. See Easy Reading for ESL Beginners for some suggestions. Online Reading has more ideas for beginners and intermediate English students.
But if you have been studying English for a while, you’ll be able to read most of the articles mentioned on this page.*
*I check how many words are common and how many are less so before choosing the articles, but their interest level and importance matter more. If there are less common words that occur several times in the articles, I'll usually explain them.
Since Dec. 2012 I’ve written the English Detective newsletter every 2-4 weeks for this same purpose. Each issue has links to 1-3 reading articles to improve English reading skills and vocabulary. (Issues also may link to TED talks. Most have transcripts so you can use them for reading and/or listening practice.)
The links in each issue are on the same subject to make learning easier due to common vocabulary and themes. Many issues also have had vocabulary practice activities.
You can find a link to those back issues at the very bottom of the page. (See the blue section with site information). A few years ago I switched email providers. The new provider no longer archives the back issues.
Several former English Detective subscribers have contacted me months after the transition. They’re getting it again now, but I wanted a place to refer them to so they could read the articles they missed. That’s why I created this page.
Since then I've realized articles like these can be a great source of English reading and vocabulary practice even for those who don't subscribe to English Detective. (There is a real advantage to subscribing, since you get a few recommendations every two weeks instead of a massive list to sort through!)
Each section below originally included the main content of one newsletter, from March 2020 (issue 143) on. There were brief descriptions of the articles and why I thought they’re worth reading, with links to each (or to the page the links are on, if there’s a page on the subject). Sometimes there are also vocabulary definitions or a link to an EnglishHints’ page with practice.
This page was getting too long, so I've moved the English Detective articles and links to several other pages. (See the section below.) They follow the same basic format: a short explanation of what's in each article and why it's worth reading, plus a link.
Most are fairly short and should not be hard if you can read this page. I've noted any that are long or more difficult-- and why I think you might want to read them anyway.
If interested, you can also subscribe to English Detective below-- or check out Building Vocabulary for more information. That way you'll get notified about each new issue. You can read the articles that interest you and improve your English vocabulary a little every two weeks (or every week if you prefer to space them out).
Otherwise, just bookmark this page and check out new pages (or new articles on the current pages, under new headings) every month or so.
Some Interesting Articles in English (especially articles related to history, story-telling, and current events)
Interesting Short Articles in English (on various subjects, from animal intelligence to technology to help with water conservation to the physics of baseball-- and more!)
Articles to Improve English Communication (links to articles on improving vocabulary and word choice, connotations, persuasion, metaphor use, etc.)
Secret Messages (including spy stories and information on secret codes)
Related to business or work skills:
21st Century Jobs (several articles on important skills to teach, or for job seekers to learn, to be prepared for future jobs)
I hope you will find reading some of these articles both interesting and useful for improving your English!
It really is worth your time reading articles to improve your English vocabulary and fluency!
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