At an intermediate level, it is important to read material outside of your English textbook. You don’t have to be a bookworm to appreciate new vocabulary and great storylines. While it may be more challenging at first, making reading books aimed at native speakers will help your reading comprehension skills improve drastically.

Brother Grimm Fairytales

Around the world, many people are familiar with Disney movies and the fairy tales that they are based on. Fewer people, though, have read the original Brother Grimm fairy tales. In the early 19th century, Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm collected and published many fairy tales which are still popular today. The originals are often darker than the ones marketed towards kids. Though the works have been translated into English, they still have challenging vocabulary. Being already familiar with the works makes them easier to understand. Many are available for free online.

Some popular ones include: Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is regarded as one of the greatest American writers. The Old Man and the Sea follows a fisherman who has not caught fish in a long time. His hope, however, never fades. One day, he goes out to sea on his boat, and catches a fish so big that the fisherman has no choice but to let the fish drag the boat further out to sea. The story continues as an account of the fisherman’s journey in trying to kill this fish and bring it back to land.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is known for both his short stories and poems. His works usually have a dark and somber tone and surround topics like solitude and death. The Raven, one of his most popular works, is a poem about a man whose lover has died. One night, he is visited by a raven whose message haunts him. The poem follows the man’s thoughts as they become more out of touch with reality.


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