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Five family-friendly English-language books

Five family-friendly English-language books

Five family-friendly English-language books

Summertime is a great opportunity to boost your English skills. Since you or your kids have spare time after school, why not use it to catch up on some of these must-read books for young and adult readers alike? Your vacation is an excellent time for you and your family to catch up on some summer reading to improve your English. Here are some examples of great family-friendly books for English learners.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

This is the story of a young autistic boy named Christopher. When he discovers the murder of his neighbor’s dog, he decides to investigate. What’s great about this novel from an English learner perspective is that Christopher is the narrator, and like many people on the spectrum, he uses simple, easy to understand language in a very matter-of-fact manner. It can help the reader to understand the neurodiverse people better, but be careful: many have criticized it for its allegedly foul language.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling

Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter? It’s always a safe choice for English learners, because chances are that you’ve already read it in your language or seen the movies. This will make it easier to follow the plot and understand the context clues. Another advantage is that Harry grows with the reader. The first book is geared toward children Harry’s age (about 10 years old), and each subsequent book includes increasingly difficult vocabulary and themes. Another bonus is that Harry is very British – besides the British English vocabulary, grammar and idioms, you can learn quite a bit about English culture and school system from this series.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This book is one of American children’s classics. It’s a whimsical story of Milo, a young boy who goes on a fantastic adventure after receiving a mysterious package. He explores a strange new world and meets all sorts of odd characters. Because the plot is based on puns and wordplay, the book is very difficult to translate to other languages: for example, the mechanical dog Tock is literally a watch-dog. The text is littered with puns and word games, making the book a great opportunity for English learners to practice their skills.

Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz

You may not have heard of “Peanuts,” but you may have heard of Snoopy.  The titular ‘Peanuts’ in this comic strip’s title is a slang word for kids. They are a group of children often facing situations beyond their age. The main character, Charlie Brown, is a typical ‘everyman’, plagued by bad luck, mischievous friends, while his intellectual dog, Snoopy, isn’t much help. Comics are great for learning English, because often they use conversational language, closer to one that’s really spoken. ‘Peanuts’ features simple vocabulary, aimed at children, but it’s never boring.

Strange Planet (web comic) by Nathan Pyle

What’s great about Internet comics is that you might have seen them already. Strange Planet is very shareable – it features alien-like beings, describing perfectly mundane activities using strange, very scientific language: ice cream are “frozen thickness”, cars are “rollmachines” and buses “grouprollmachines”. This comic can surprise you, show you how English idioms work and teach you a lot about the culture and language itself.

These books and comics are great for recreational summer reading. There’s a lot more comics and novels perfect for English learners, and we’ll recommend many more… or perhaps you can contact us to send us your ideas and recommendations.

12 October 2021
Ditto- Online Language School Karmelicka 45/6 31-128 Krakow, Poland