I'd like to give you some personal book recommendations.
When I was learning Spanish, finishing my first Papelucho book (Mi hermana Ji) was a huge milestone for me and really helped bring my Spanish to the next level. I think reading is one of the most effective ways to improve your English and get close to fluency.
I believe there are four reasons why reading books (especially children’s book) in another language is so important:
- You can see the structure. If you’re like me, then you’re a visual learner. That means I really need to see the word on paper before I can really digest it and remember it in the future. With books, you’re able to see the grammar laid out on paper and it will really solidify your foundation with the different tenses.
- You learn new vocabulary. Vocabulary is everything. Really, I mean it. If you have a large vocabulary you can communicate well. Reading is the best way I know of to learn new words. That’s why it’s really important to pick books at or slightly above your level.
- Reading children’s stories allows you to unwind and de-stress. After a hard day of adult problems, I think it’s really nice to be able to sit back and enjoy a classic children’s story while improving your English at the same time.
- Gain a sense of accomplishment. Believe me, after finishing your first book in another language you will feel like “the man”. You will feel like your English is at the next level and it will be.
Lastly, I think it’s important to read fiction or children’s stories to start. Reading technical books or non-fiction is usually more academic and, therefore, less reproducible in the real world. No one speaks on the street like they do in a biography. Don’t rely solely on newspapers or CNN. I don’t know anyone who speaks like the New York Times or the BBC. It’s not useful if you’re trying to get a basic understanding of a language.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 picks in order of difficulty. Clicking the first link will bring you to the amazon kindle site and the second link to a free pdf version. You can also try Audible for the audio version.