5 English Novels For Intermediate Learners

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Reading is a not-so-secret educational weapon. Reading stimulates a number of different areas of the brain, engaging the mind and improving focus and concentration. Reading broadens your horizons by exposing you to different opinions and ways of life. This promotes emotional and mental wellbeing, by reducing stress. Students who read regularly have better comprehension skills, verbal fluency and general knowledge than those who don’t. 

And it’s enjoyable! Winning all round. 

How can reading improve language learning?

When it comes to learning a foreign language, reading is especially beneficial for learners. Reading helps improve vocabulary and grammar. It exposes the reader to natural, authentic language. Foreign language learners who read books become more fluent more quickly even if they have had the same amount of lessons as non-readers. 

Read more: Activities for Reading Lessons

How can we incorporate reading into our lessons?

One way to try to incorporate more English into our learners’ free time is to introduce them to English books they will enjoy reading. In this way, they will hopefully not look at reading as studying but will be so engrossed in the story that they will forget they are learning.

Of course, there are millions of English novels out there, and finding the right one can take some time. It’s really important that your students choose novels that are appropriate for them, both in terms of their interests and their English level. If a book is too difficult or too easy, they may lose motivation. If the book is boring, they will lose interest.

Read more: Literature in the EFL Classroom

To help you out, here we have some of our favourite English novels for Intermediate learners – suitable for older teens or adult learners.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

An original and unpredictable story of a boy’s quest to solve the mystery of a dog’s death. Christopher is a young boy with autism. When he discovers his neighbour’s dog is dead, he embarks on an investigation to find out who did it. Written in plain, simple English with a matter-of-fact attitude, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. 


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Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

An easy-to-read book with a deeper meaning. Tuesdays with Morrie tells the story of Mitch, who reconnects with his college professor towards the end of his life. He shares with Mitch the wisdom and advice he has collected throughout his life. It is written in an easy-to-read, conversational style. It might be a book about death but it is also a book about life, heart-warming and humorous.


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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Also a movie (which always helps) this book tells the heartbreaking story of two terminally ill teenagers who fall in love. Written from the perspective of 14 year old Hazel, it follows the blossoming romance between herself and Augustus. Both Hazel and Augustus have terminal cancer and it is an emotional story to say the least. Quirky and funny, it is sure to tug on your heartstrings.

Read more: 5 Ways to Use Movies in the EFL Classroom

The Giver – Lois Lowry

A novel very popular with young adults, The Giver is a fantasy story about a young boy and the society he lives in. This society does not believe in freedom, individuality or choice. When he is given special powers, he realises life might not be as perfect as he has always thought. With short sentences and simple grammar, this book is an exciting read from page one.


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The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

An English-language classic, this novel is written in simple language but the story is much deeper than it seems. The story of a Cuban fisherman and a giant fish (a marlin, to be precise) it is an exploration of the themes of challenge, courage, survival, defeat and triumph.

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The next time your Intermediate learners ask you for recommendations for English novels they will enjoy, let them take their pick from one of these favourites and we guarantee you they’ll be coming back for more.

But don’t forget, reading is not just for your learners! There are hundreds of amazing books out there for TEFL teachers which will help you in your teaching and give you a bit of motivation when you need it most. Happy reading!

Read more: The Best TEFL Books for the TEFL Teacher

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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