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Six Books for ESL Students

Are you learning English? We’ve picked out six books that are ideal for beginner to intermediate ESL students.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

At the top of the list is a very famous novel. Animal Farm centres on a group of poorly treated farm animals who stage an uprising against their unjust master. A rebellion takes place and a new leader takes control, showing us how power corrupts. The author, George Orwell, is known for his short and sharp writing – as well as his strong political views. The writing is easy and beautiful, but the subject has a clever but dark core. It’s ideal for intermediate ESL students looking for a good book that’s easy to read with a strong plot. Reading this won’t feel like studying at all!

intermediate ESL students looking for a good book that’s easy to read with a strong plot. Reading this won’t feel like studying at all!

TIP: Highlight any words you don’t understand and look them up in a dictionary, or ask a friend or your teacher about the meaning.

Six Stories from Hope Street by Clare Harris

Clare Harris is an Australian author who writes for ESL students. This book is about six residents of Hope Street, located in an unknown town in Australia. It is a simple book that uses everyday Australian language and situations that are familiar to everyone.

Six Stories from Hope Street uses the past tense, so it’s perfect for beginner adult ESL students starting to grasp the basics of English grammar. Worksheets and activities are also included to help the reader better understand the language in the book. The activities are designed for teachers to work with their students, but students can also give them a try by themselves.

TIP: Look through the book and see if you recognise any familiar Australian sayings and expressions.

The English Chip by Clare Harris

Another Clare Harris special. This eBook is for intermediate level English learners, as the subject matter is a bit more complex than Six Stories from Hope Street.

English Chip is a thriller that follows ESL student Charlie. When Charlie sees an advertisement asking for a volunteer who wants to learn English instantly, he gets in touch. There are so many other things he would rather be doing than spending his time studying! It seems like the perfect deal… but then Charlie becomes part of an experiment that goes terribly wrong.

The English Chip has a great plot, is written in simple English and, perhaps the biggest win of all, uses everyday Australian language.

TIP: When a character is talking, read it out loud. This will help you with everyday Australian language.

Australia by Jennifer Gascoigne

This book may be small but it covers a lot! It looks at the different areas of Australian culture: history, people, weather, food, geography, art and sport. In addition to facts about Australia, the book also includes a glossary that explains unfamiliar words, a map of the country and worksheets and activities.

This book is aimed at advanced intermediate level readers. It provides a solid overview of this diverse and multilingual country – from how it was to how it is today.

TIP: Don’t skip the activities or worksheets. Even if you think the worksheet or activity is not interesting or important to you, do it. It will come in handy down the track! 

Understanding Everyday Australian: Book One by Susan Boyer

This book is for intermediate level ESL students. It is focused on speaking, rather than reading, and helps readers navigate Australian speech in everyday situations. Susan Boyer teaches English to adults and also writes fictional stories about Australian history. She has written a book that tells the stories of 18 people that have shaped Australia’s history called People in Australia’s Past.

TIP: If you have any questions, ask a teacher, friend or the internet (check various sources for the answer, though). The main point is: be patient.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

This short novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. It also helped Hemingway win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The Old Man and the Sea looks at an old man’s obsession and devotion. The book documents the challenges the old man faces to bring a fish home and break his unlucky streak. The writing is clear and easy to understand, the sentences are short and sharp – it’s ideal for intermediate English readers. Notice how the old man (Santiago’s) journey on the sea is displayed in ‘real time’. You experience the whole journey with Santiago.

TIP: Practice reading aloud with a friend. This will help build confidence in speaking English. It will also help you overcome any difficulties you might be having.

Learn English with the SEE program

Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) is a government-funded program that provides up to 650 hours of lessons free for eligible students. You’ll learn how to speak, read and write English in a classroom setting with other adults. You’ll also go on excursions to practice your English, and have lots of fun along the way!

You can join the SEE program at any time of year, phone us on 1300 981 901 for more information.