A2 Basic US 134 Folder Collection
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Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.
Today, we're gonna talk about books.
Let's get started.
Today, I'm gonna quickly talk about eight books that are great if you've never read
a book in English before.
All of these books use simple language, simple vocabulary, but the stories are engaging and
interesting, and they move quickly, so you don't have to read pages and pages of descriptions
of the scenery or of some deep character.
Well, in these books, they are generally for upper elementary school kids, so nine-year-old,
10-year-old, 11, 12, 13-year-old.
This age group usually reads interesting books, but books that use relatively simple language.
So I recommend, if you've never read a book before in English, use one of these books.
Get one of these books off of Amazon or other places that you can get books in English and
try it.
Take some time.
Take a couple weeks to try to read one of these.
Because there's eight books, there's a lot of material, so I'm gonna try to go quickly
to help you really get an idea for each of these and choose the right book for you.
Let's start with the first one.
The first book is Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.
This book is about a little boy who tries to escape from his terrible aunts, who he's
living with, and he goes inside an amazing giant peach, and has a lot of adventures as
he's traveling from London to the U.S. I think that this book is pretty well-known.
The story is well-known.
Maybe you've seen the movie, but take some time to read the book.
It's not so long.
There's some pictures, and I'm gonna read you the first couple sentences so that you
can have an idea about the language that's used.
Are you ready?
"Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had had a happy life.
He lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house, beside the sea.
There were always plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was a sandy
beach for him to run about on and the ocean to paddle in.
It was the perfect life for a small boy.
Then, one day, James' mother and father went to London to do some shopping and there, a
terrible thing happened."
I'm not gonna tell you what happened.
You'll have to read the book to find out.
This is our first book and the most simple.
We're gonna start with the most simple and then go up to a little more challenging, but
all of these really, you could read if you've never read a book in English before.
Let's go to the second one.
The second book is a little more serious.
It is Lois Lowry's Number the Stars.
This book is about a little girl in Denmark, who decides to hide and try to save her Jewish
friend during World War II.
So this book, as you can imagine, is not as funny as the first book, but it also has an
interesting storyline.
I'm gonna read you the first couple sentences, so that you can get an idea for the language.
"Why are you running?
'I'll race you to the corner, Ellen,' Annemarie adjusted her thick leather pack on her back,
so that her school books balanced evenly.
She looked at her best friend.
Ellen made a face.
'No,' she said, laughing.
'You know I can't beat you.
My legs aren't as long.
Can't we just walk, like civilized people?'
She was a stocky 10-year-old, unlike lanky Annemarie."
So, as you can tell from the first few sentences of this book, there are probably a few words
that might be new to you, such as stocky, lanky.
Well, these words are important for the story, but they're not essential.
So, as you're reading, you can understand the general idea, and then if you want to
underline those new words and look them up immediately or look them up later, you can
get a better idea for these specific words, but they're not gonna stop you from understanding
the general story.
I think, for me, when I read my first book in French, when I finished the book, I felt
so accomplished.
I felt like I had done something amazing, even though the book wasn't that long, it
was maybe something like this, I felt amazing because I finished the book and I generally
understood the story.
So, if you can generally understand the story and gain that confidence that, "Yes, I can
do it.
I can read a book in English," then you can go back and you can learn the specific words,
or you could move on to some of the other books that I'm gonna recommend.
The third book that I'm gonna recommend is E.B.
White's Charlotte's Web.
This book is a classic children's story, and it's got a kind of crazy story, when you think
about it.
It's the story of a pig, who is gonna be killed to be eaten, and a spider, who decides to
save the pig's life.
So, it's about animals, but it's also featuring a little girl, which is a really touching,
endearing story.
I'm gonna read a couple sentences to you from the beginning of this book.
"Chapter One: Before breakfast.
'Where's Papa going with that ax?', said Fern to her mother, as they were setting the table
for breakfast.
'Out to the hog house,' replied Mrs. Arable.
'Some pigs were born last night.'
'I don't see why he needs an ax,' continued Fern, who was only eight.
'Well,' said her mother, 'One of the pigs is a runt.
It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything, so your father has decided
to do away with it.'
'Do away with it?', shrieked Fern.
'You mean, kill it just because it's smaller than the others?'"
Well, so far, you can see because this book is for maybe 10-year-olds, I think I read
this book when I was fourth or fifth grade, they often explain some of the vocabulary
So, here in the book, the mother says, "One of the pigs was a runt," R-U-N-T.
Maybe this is a new word for you, and I think the author is explaining the word because
it might be a new word for some of the original native English speaker readers of this book
as well.
And she says, "It's a runt.
It's small and weak," so you're learning vocabulary through the people in this book.
And then when the mother says, "Your father decided to do away with it."
This word, "do away with," maybe some people who are reading this book understand what
it means, but maybe they don't.
So here, Fern, Fern is the girl, Fern says, "Do away with?
You mean kill."
So here, you can understand that the expression "do away with", in this situation, means kill,
so you're learning vocabulary through the characters.
An amazing story.
Let's go to the next book.
The next book is Richard Atwater's Mr. Popper's Penguins.
Unfortunately, I don't have a physical copy of this book, but I'm still gonna explain
it and read to you a couple sentences that are digital, on my computer.
So, this book, Mr. Popper's Penguins, is a delightful, kind of silly story about a man,
who has a lot of penguins.
Maybe you've seen the movie, I think it's with Jim Carrey.
Read the book, don't watch the movie first.
Read the book and learn something silly.
The vocabulary and sentences are really simple in this book, so I hope it will help to build
your confidence and get you interested in reading books in English.
I'm gonna read to you the first couple sentences.
"Chapter One: Stillwater.
It was an afternoon in late September, in the pleasant little city of Stillwater.
Mr. Popper, the house painter, was going home from work.
He was carrying his buckets, his ladders, and his boards so that he had a rather hard
time moving along.
He was spattered here and there with paint and calcimine, and there were bits of wallpaper
clinging to his hair and whiskers, for he was a rather untidy man."
Here, as before, we have a couple words that might be new to you, but in general, you can
imagine Mr. Popper.
He's carrying ladders and buckets, and he has wallpaper stuck to him.
He has paint everywhere.
He is an untidy man.
So, you could learn this word, untidy, by the descriptions, and it continues going where
he meets a bunch of penguins and lots of crazy things happen.
It's an excellent book with pretty simple sentences and simple vocabulary.
A good place to start.
Let's talk about the next book.
The next book is Holes, by Louis Sachar, I think that's how you say it.
Well, this book is about a boy who has to go to a detention center and dig holes.
It's a pretty well-known story as well, and that's one of the reasons why it'll be easy
to follow, if you already know the story, but also the thing that I like about this
book is that the chapters are really short.
So here, we have Chapter One, and already, it's Chapter Two, so you're not waiting for
other things to happen.
It goes really fast.
Let me read you the first couple sentences.
"There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.
There was once a very large lake here, the largest lake in Texas.
That was over a hundred years ago.
Now, it's just a dry, flat wasteland.
There used to be a town of Green Lake as well.
The town shriveled and dried up, along with the lake, and the people who lived there."
So, in this short excerpt, there were probably a couple new words, such as wasteland, shriveled,
but hopefully from the context, you can get an idea.
Wasteland, dry, flat waste land.
You can get the image that it's a dried lake with nothing.
The soil isn't good, there's no trees, it's not beautiful.
It's waste.
Kind of like garbage.
So, hopefully this book, Holes, would be a good introduction to your English reading
Let's go to the next one.
The next book is called My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George.
This book also, I don't have a physical copy of, but it's on the computer.
So, I want to tell you a little bit about it.
This book is one of my favorite books for young people, and it's about a little boy,
who decides to go live in the woods, and he has to find food, he has to find shelter,
and I think this book has inspired a lot of people to explore nature and just do something
I know, for me when I was younger, it inspired me.
When I taught English to Americans in the U.S., we read this book in seventh grade,
so they were 13 years old, and they loved this book because it was really inspirational
about going and trying new things.
So, let me read you a couple sentences, and hopefully you'll get an idea for the language.
"Chapter One: In which I hole up in a snow storm.
I'm on my mountain, in a tree home, that people have passed without ever knowing that I am
The house is a hemlock tree, six feet in diameter, and must be as old as the mountain itself.
I came upon it last summer and dug and burned it out until I made a snug cave in the tree,
that I now call home."
Here, he's describing his tree home, so you get this image of someone who's in the middle
of the woods, alone, but you get a feeling of satisfaction, of pride.
"I made this cave, this home, in a tree."
I really recommend this book if you like nature and if you like adventure, check this one
Let's go to the next book.
The next book is called Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen.
This is a book that, I think, is required reading in the U.S. for nine, 10, 11-year-olds,
because it's also full of adventure, like the previous book.
It's about a little boy, who is in a plane crash, and he has to survive in the Canadian
wilderness with only a hatchet.
A hatchet is this thing here.
It's kind of like an ax, a small ax, and he has to survive.
So, let me read you a couple sentences, and you can get a feeling for the language.
"Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern
wilderness below.
It was a small plane, a Cessna 406, a bush plane, and the engine was so loud, so roaring
and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.
Not that he had much to say.
He was 13 and the only passenger on the plane was a pilot named, what was it, Jim or Jake
or something, who was in his mid forties and who had been silent, as he worked to prepare
for takeoff."
Here, we have a picture of a boy, looking over the beautiful Canadian wilderness, in
a plane, alone, with someone who he doesn't really know.
What could happen?
I recommend it.
Let's go to the last book.
The last book is Scott O'Dell's book, Island of the Blue Dolphins.
This book is the most challenging out of all of these recommendations, but it's still a
book that's usually read by 12 or 13-year-olds in the U.S., and this book is based off of
a true story.
It's absolutely incredible because, in the true story, there was a woman, who was living
on an island off the coast of California for 20 years by herself.
No one else was on the island, and after 20 years, someone found her and she was happy,
she was healthy, and it's the story about what was her life like.
We don't know because, actually when they found her in real-life, no one could understand
her language.
They didn't even know what her language was.
So, no one will ever really know what this woman did while she was living on the island
by herself for 20 years, but Scott O'Dell decided that this is a beautiful story and
he wanted to create it.
He wanted to imagine what this woman's life was like by herself.
So, I'm gonna read you a couple sentences, so that you can get an idea for the language.
"I remember the day the Aleut ship came to our island.
At first, it seemed like a small shell afloat on the sea.
Then, it grew larger, and was a gull with folded wings.
At last in the rising sun, it became what it really was, a red ship with two red sails.
My brother and I had gone to the head of a canyon that winds down to a little harbor,
which is called Coral Cove.
We had gone to gather roots that grow there in the spring."
Here, she's explaining some of her story before some becomes alone on the island.
Well, I recommend it if you're interested in imagining what could have happened in history,
because we have no idea, but it's a great book, quite interesting, and it's simple enough.
It's a little challenging, but it's simple enough to start your English reading journey.
I hope that at least one of these books sounds interesting to you so that you can get started
reading in English.
I have a video where I talk about some reading techniques, to help you really learn as you're
reading, and also enjoy it.
I made a video a while ago about some more challenging books, so if these books seem
too simple for you, make sure to check out that video, and let me know in the comments.
What are some other recommendations you have for some kind of simple book, in English,
that's a good book to get started with?
Thanks so much for learning with me, and I'll see you the next time.
The next step is to download my free e-book, Five Steps to Becoming a Confident English
I want to help you master English and speak fluently.
Feel free to subscribe, so that you don't miss new English lessons.
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8 Beginner English Book Recommendations [Advanced English Lesson]

134 Folder Collection
hellojacktom published on August 30, 2019
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