Lower Intermediate Readers

By , June 2, 2010 9:51 am


Lower Intermediate Readers



After having read picture books  for several months my students  start to read “real books” in the course of year 2. I start mixing in longer books for those learners who feel ready to try them.

There are basically two types of books for this level:

  • simplified readers or staged readers specifically written for ESL students and
  • easy books that have been written for native speakers in grades 2 to 4.

Both work well as long as the students are not asked to answer all the comprehension questions that you often find in the back of the ESL readers. Some of the older ESL readers don’t sound authentic at all and many students prefer to read the stories written for native speakers. They are written in fresh, young language and often contain “cool” expressions that the students  want to remember.

When choosing authentic stories that were written for native speakers of a younger age, I make sure that the topics are still suitable for my students.  Most books that deal with crime  work well at this level.  Other good topics are school, friendship, bullying and all kinds of adventure stories.

The books for native speakers of grades 2-4 are usually written in fairly large print and contain some illustrations. They look like real books but can be read quickly and easily. The highly predictable stories dealing with everyday topics of this age group can be understood by the learners even if they do not understand every word. They unconsciously use their knowledge of the world and unknowingly practice top-down reading strategies.


The following example of a reading log shows some of the books that these learners will typically read.

Elisabeth’s Reading log year 2:





Reading diaries

The students continue to use the reading diaries that they started in year one.  Their entries are getting longer and more advanced. For more examples have a look at this prezi.



Some examples of reading projects: activities and tasks

In most reading projects the students are offered 4-5 different books. I try to offer books for different types of readers and different interests. Some of these might be easier and shorter than others, so reluctant readers will also find a book that is suitable for them. The students choose a book, read it at home and then work on the book in their book-group. For details and tasks have a look at the following projects.


Reading project 1 A general project that can be used again and again for all kinds of books.

Reading project 2 Another general project, slightly different

Reading circles 3 A short project for general use

Mixed book circles A very short project to compare books. Very useful for book-chats after a round of private reading.

Blank booklets A great idea for all kinds of books and ages


Fun projects for young readers:

Winnie the Witch

The leaners worked in small groups and chose one of the 12 Winnie books in this project.

Warning: There is quite a bit of “magic” Winnie language in these books. Kids must be able to use top-down reading strategies to guess the meanings from the context.

For lower level learners use the Winnie picture book series.


For more Winnie stories go to the  Winnie website

For more details about the Winnie project go to the Winnie writing project page.


Choose Your Own Adventure Books

We read these 6 CYOA novels in class. The students worked in pairs and discussed each of their decisions. It took us about a week (3 class periods) to read the books and collect some good vocabulary.

In order not to get lost in the maze of decisions the students kept track of their decisions in these  decision trees. 

Copy the instructions for the decision trees on a A3 sheets — you need a lot of space to keep track of all the decisions.


In a second phase the students wrote their own CYOA books.

Instructions for the CYOA writing project.

I printed these pages in the booklet format and stapled them into A5 books. The students wrote their first drafts by hand. Most groups then typed the second draft and decorated their final books nicely.

Have a look at these finished books written by students of 2c:

Chase Through Venice

To view the following books open them  in Adobe Reader, click on VIEW and rotate them. Sorry for the inconvenience, but that’s the best I can do.

The Quest for the Tiger:

Desert Horror




Great books for lower intermediate students


Find my students’ favorite books here.

My favorite books for teachers

These are the  Discussion Prompt Cards mentioned in many of my  projects

For more great books go to Further Reading


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