child reading articles by gracey at

Reading is a great way to improve your English at any age. (Some people think reading lots of easy, fun things is the best way to improve your English.)

Here is a new website that may be good for reading English: Big Things in Basic English. They have 6 different reading levels, from “very easy” to “near native.”

A professor started the website, and it seems different from other ESL websites. It’s very “clean” and nice to look at It doesn’t have a lot of annoying ads like most other sites. Most of the other free reading websites I’ve found have a lot of spelling mistakes and grammar errors, so I haven’t told you about them. This one is good and doesn’t have many mistakes! However, the website is still pretty new, so there aren’t a lot of stories yet. You can join the website, and I hope they’ll add more to read in the future. It’s free to join. (By the way, if you are Japanese, you can use the website in Japanese, too. Of course, the stories are still in English!)

Now, I think the levels are a little confusing. In my opinion, many of the articles marked “middle” are actually “advanced” due to the use of idioms and other difficult vocabulary. Just don’t worry about the levels. If you know you are usually an intermediate-level reader, but you need to read “easy” stories on this website, it’s OK. These levels are not the same for each person. Read things that are comfortable for you.

3 thoughts on “”

  1. Thanks for the tip. Like you, the materials seem to range from beginning to high intermediate to me. That’s more of an observation than criticism.

    My only caveat is that I prefer to have students find their own newspaper articles, fill out a simple worksheet where they summarize and critique, and create their own vocabulary logs. This site, however, provides good hunting grounds for ESL/EFL students looking for articles to meet that assignment.

  2. Dear Readable Blog,

    We greatly appreciate you taking the time to comment on our site. We’ve gone through a rather big change recently. We use a new platform: WordPress, and we are now a membership site, but users can sign up for a free trial. We also have more than 250 stories now.

    As for the levels, we use lexical profiling software based on Paul Nation’s Range program. The levels are basically set up so that in our Step 1 stories, 95% of the words must come from the top 1000 words of English (in the British National Corpus). In our Step 2 stories, 95% of the words must come from the top 2000 words of English (in the British National Corpus).

    We’ve actually done a lot of research on this, and of course, our stories have been used in classes with hundreds and hundreds of students in Japan. For the most part, they find the stories “readable” and “enjoyable.” We do need to make more Step 1 stories! But they are harder to make.

    Just FYI, here’s one of the papers published about our stories (and the related topic of extensive graded reading).

    We would be so happy if you could take a look at our site again and give us feedback. As you may remember (I think I told you), after we published a short and softly worded story about Tank Man, our site became pretty much unsearchable from China. The only link that showed us after a search from a Chinese site was readable blog. Thanks for that!


    Joseph Poulshock, PhD
    Professor of English Linguistics
    Director of English Language Education
    Tokyo Christian University
    Follow me on Twitter

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