Our favorite ESL books for English language learners this World Literacy Day

woman reading a book sitting in a library

Visualize you are an ESL instructor standing in front of your classroom. 

You gaze around the room and all of your students are dozing off and distracted.

Talk about nightmarish situations! 

Whether you’re teaching ESL to kids or adults, who says that learning can’t be both educational and entertaining? 

It’s part of your role as a teacher to bring creativity and vibrancy to the classroom, whether it’s in-person or virtual. 

This is an opportunity to think about how you can creatively teach your students to get comfortable with reading and speaking English. 

If your lesson plans are not engaging everyone as you had hoped, think about what materials you are currently sharing with the class. 

Learning how to read the English language isn’t always easy, so why not add some fun and theatrics by incorporating a range of ESL books into the classroom? 

It’s widely known that regular reading stimulates people’s imagination and creativity. 

You’ll want to appeal to the different learning styles, reading levels, and come prepared with a variety of stories to last throughout the term. 

In celebration of World Literacy Day, continue reading to learn our top 6 best book club books for ESL learners. 

Significance of World Literacy Day

World Literacy Day is celebrated on September 8th around the world as a reminder that literacy is a human right that opens a world of opportunities and possibilities. 

Literacy provides knowledge and empowers people to think for themselves. 

COVID-19 has disrupted the learning of kids and adults all around the world, with access to opportunities having been cut back. 

With 773 million non-literate children and adults, education is more important than ever.

As an English language teacher, you have the opportunity to help people become literate in one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. 

You can empower people to choose the kind of life they want to live, as they are able to access and understand more of the information that is available in the digital world today. 

woman sitting by a window happily reading a book

Top 6 ESL Books 

Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. 

The more students read, the more they are able to pick up the grammatical structure of sentences and use those in their own writing. 

Students will also be able to extend their own vocabulary by learning new words. 

So, let’s take a look at a range of 6 books for different reading levels that will also make for a more imaginative class. 

1. Let’s Go Series

Let’s Go is a classic series targeted at English language learners between the ages of 5-13 years.

This is the perfect book series to use for kids that are starting off on their journey to learn the English language. 

The dialogues are fun and include a lot of music and movement, making for a very lively classroom. 

2. Oxford Picture Dictionary

The Oxford Picture Dictionary is the ultimate ESL book to use for students of all levels. 

There is a wide range of vocabulary that will be beneficial to all classrooms, helping your students learn the basics of English reading in the fields of social science, math, science, geography, and many other subject areas. 

The pictures make it particularly easy to follow and a fun resource to add to your lesson plans. 

young girl reading a book by the window

3. Oceans of the World in Color: Marine Life and Oceanography for Children

The world is covered with vast oceans that sustain life as we know it. 
 
This is a particularly great resource to engage young learners with beautiful and vivid imagery of the world’s oceans.
 
As you are flipping through the book, make sure to ask a lot of questions about the images. 
 
This is a great way to facilitate engaging discussions in the classroom. 

4. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Who doesn’t love a good mystery book? 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon is the perfect book for young adults learning English. 

Set in the town of Swindon, England, the narrator of the story, Christopher John Francis Boone, investigates the death of his neighbor’s poodle, Wellington. 

This book is particularly useful for ESL students because learners will clearly understand what the narrator is thinking and saying at all times. 

The story is easy to follow and keeps you on your toes. 

flat lay of red and yellow scarf, wand and wizard book

5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K Rowling

On his 11th birthday, Harry Potter discovers that he is a wizard, and is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

An internationally beloved story, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is an incredible resource for learning English. 

The vocabulary and grammar in book one of the series is easy to follow, but also provides a good challenge for students to learn new expressions and widen their understanding of the language. 

6. The Adventures of Tintin

The Adventures of Tintin are a comic series that follows a young adventurer and reporter, Tintin, as he solves mysteries in all sorts of dangerous cases. 

This comic is guaranteed to be a favorite for your students. 

The pictures, storyline, and adventures will make for memorable lessons, all while students improve their language skills!

Just remember to ask a lot of follow-up questions that will help everyone develop critical thinking skills, as well. 

man sitting in front of laptop

Importance of English language teachers

ESL jobs are readily available and booming, with English still being the universal language around the world. 

As travel restrictions are easing in 2021, there are a number of countries that are hiring new teachers, including Spain, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. 

English is a skill that will open many new doors and opportunities, and as an English language teacher, you are empowering your students to succeed, no matter where they end up later in life.  

It is a truly rewarding career path. 

And it’s up to you to curate exciting lesson plans that engage your students! 

ESL books act as a source of inspiration to start conversations, but how will the knowledge be consumed? 

Remember to take turns reading, suggest using animated voices, ask a lot of questions and have fun!