Graded reader

From Teflpedia

A graded reader (/ˈgreɪdɪd ˈri:də(r)/) is a book, aimed at an audience of language learners (such as English language learners), using graded language, that is intended for exploratory reading, particularly extensive reading.

Characteristics[edit]

The key characteristic of a graded reader is that the language is graded to ease comprehensibility to the level of its intended audience. Typically, both the vocabulary and grammar are graded. Text length is generally correlated with audience level, with low level texts are typically very short, while mid-level texts are longer. Low level texts usually have many pictures to provide context and thereby increase comprehensibility - some adopt comics style. The level of the text is usually specified using headwords, and may also be specified according to the CEFR.

Availability[edit]

Various publishers publish graded readers. The availability of English graded readers is much better than other languages.

Both fiction and non-fiction books are available. The fiction works tend to fall into two categories; retellings of stories from classic literature and specifically-written content. Some content may be TV or film tie-ins.

Audio is often available, so students can listen and read, or just listen, as they like.

There unfortunately is a general lack of upper intermediate and advanced (C1) graded readers, and there may be a little jump to the next level which is young adult literature.

Application[edit]

Students are often encouraged to read these for pleasure as this assists language acquisition. This is particularly true above intermediate level, where students hit the intermediate plateau and require a vast amount of comprehensible input but there isn't enough classroom time to cover all of it. Ideally, the level of the book should be i-1, where i is the student's level, i.e. it should be a little bit easy. This is because a large quantity of extensive reading is preferable to a small quantity of intensive reading.

Different publishers have different standards, and the author and editor might not have done a super fantastic job of grading the language, so it's difficult to compare. The headword count is a general guide, and if in doubt, start with a book that's a little bit easier, and move onto harder works once reading has been practised.


Note that children's books are not so good for teenagers and adults at the equivalent language proficiency level. Teenagers do not want to be treated like babies. Graded readers instead can provide teen and adult-related themes.

Publishers tend to aim books at teachers and librarians who buy them, rather than students. So there are lots of adaptations of classic literature, such as Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, etc. But the tastes of teachers and students might vary somewhat!

See Extensive Reading Foundation.

Publishers[edit]