Especially for ELL Students

Learn English by Reading Great Literature!

Goal: learn about English-language cultural classics while improving reading skills

Students learning English sometimes master the language quite quickly. As a result, they sometimes do not acquire the general knowledge that comes when a language is learned more slowly. No matter how well one knows English, it is good to also know some of the poems, stories and novels that are a part of the general knowledge of many Canadian students.

Picture Books

Goals: increase vocabulary and learn some of the cultural classics.

Aardeman, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.

Allard, Harry. Miss Nelson is Missing!

Beaumont, Karen. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!

Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline.

Bridwell, Norman. Clifford, the Big Red Dog.

Brown, Anthony. A Walk in the Park.

Brown, Margaret W. Goodnight, Moon.

Bunting, Eve. You Were Loved Before You Were Born and Walking to School.

Burton, Virginia L. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House.

Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius.

Cooper, Ilene. The Golden Rule.

Creech, Sharon. A Fine, Fine School.

DePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona.

Egan, Tim. Dodsworth in London.

Freeman, Don. A Pocket for Corduroy.

Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats.

Hoban, Russell. Bread and Jam for Frances and A Bargain for Frances.

Hoberman, Mary Ann. A House is a House for Me.

Hutchins, Pat. Rosie’s Walk.

Khalsa, Dayal. I Want a Dog.

Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day and Peter’s Chair.

Kraus, Robert. Herman the Helper and Leo the Late Bloomer.

Lionni, Leo. Little Blue and Little Yellow, A Colour of His Own, and Matthew’s Dream.

Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends.

Martin Jr., Bill. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Munsch, Robert. Love You Forever and Mortimor.

Numeroff, Laura J. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Peet, Bill. Chester the Worldly Pig.

Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Rey, H.A. and Margret. Curious George.

Reynolds, Peter. Ish and The Dot.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Stars Will Still Shine and When I was Young in the Mountains.

Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are and Chicken Soup with Rice.

Seuss, Dr. Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Shannon, Daivd. David Goes to School.

Silverstein, Shel. The Giving Tree.

Steig, William. Amos and Boris and Brave Irene.

Thomson, Sarah L. Imagine a Place.

Van Allsburg, Chris. The Polar Express.

Viorst, Judith. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Waber, Bernard. Lyle, Lyle, CrocodileCourage and Ira Sleeps Over.

Wildsmith, Brian. Brian Wildsmith’s ABC and

Williams, Margery. The Velveteen Rabbit.


Sophisticated Picture Books for Older Readers

Goals: increase vocabulary and view various perspectives on historical and philosophical issues

Baylor, Byrd. If You are a Hunter of Fossils.

Bridge’s Shirin Yim. Ruby’s Wish.

Cali, David. The Enemy: a Book about Peace.

Dillon, Leo and Diane. Jazz on a Saturday Night.

Foreman, Michael. A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope.

Gerstein, Mordecai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.

Innocenti, Roberto. Rose Blanche.

Kitamura, Satoshi. Stone Age Boy.

Muth, Jon. The Three Questions.

Park, Linda Sue. The Firekeeper’s Son.

Rumford, James. Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad.

Say, Allen. Grandfather’s Journey.

Schertle, Alice. We.

Shulevitz, Uri. How I Learned Geography.

Tan, Shaun. The Red Tree.

Whelan, Gloria. Waiting for the Owl’s Call.

Woodson, Jane. Show Way.

Yolen, Jane. Encounter.


Easy-to-Read Novels

Goals: increase vocabulary and learn about some cultural classics.

Bishop, Claire Huchet. Twenty and Ten.

Bulla, Clyde Robert. The Sword in the Tree.

Cleary, Beverly. Ramona and Her Mother and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

Coerr, Eleanor. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

Cowley, Joy. Snake and Toad and Chicken Feathers.

Dahl, Roald. The Enormous Crocodile and James and the Giant Peach.

Ellis, Deborah. The Several Lives of Orphan Jack.

Estes, Eleanor. Rufus M. and The Hundred Dresses.

Fleischman, Sid. The Whipping Boy.

Gardiner, John Reynolds. Stone Fox.

Hesse, Karen. Just Juice.

Hill, Kirkpatrick. The Year of Miss Agnes and Toughboy and Sister.

Hurwitz, Johanna. Rip-roaring Russell.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall and Three Names.

Milne, A.A. Winnie-the-Pooh.

Mowat, Farley, Owls in the Family.

Norton, Mary. The Borrowers.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Sugar.

Robinson, Barbara. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi.

Stilton, Geronimo. The Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye.

White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Christmas in the Big Woods.


Novels for More Competent Readers

Goals: increase vocabulary and learn about some cultural classics and well-respected authors.

Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three.

Appelt, Kathi. The Underneath.

Armstrong, Alan. Whittington.

Bauer, Dane. On My Honor.

Berton, Pierre. The Secret World of Og.

Boyne, John. The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden.

Colfer, Eoin. Half-moon Investigations.

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games.

Cowley, Joy. Stories of the Wild West Gang.

Creech, Sharon. Granny Torelli Makes Soup.

Cullen, Sean. Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates.

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn Dixie.

Ellis, Deborah. A Company of Fools, The Breadwinner and Sacred Leaf.

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart.

Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Hidden.

Kehret, Peg. Escaping the Giant Wave.

King-Smith, Dick. Babe: the Gallant Pig.

Korman, Gordon. Schooled.

Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill.

Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars.

Matas, Carol. Daniel’s Story.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Shiloh.

Nesbit, Edith. The Railway Children.

Peck, Richard. On the Wings of Heroes.

Peck, Robert Newton. Soup.

Oppel, Kenneth. Silverwing.

Patron, Susan. The Higher Power of Lucky.

Pearson, Kit. The Sky is Falling.

Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows.

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Rylant, Cynthia. Missing May.

Sachar, Louis. Holes.

Smucker, Barbara. Underground to Canada.

Snicket, Lemony. The Bad Beginning.

Spinelli, Jerry. Loser and Stargirl.

Wilson, Eric. Murder on the Canadian.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Feathers.


More Sophisticated Novels for Competent Readers

Goals: increase vocabulary and learn about some cultural classics and well-respected authors.  

Alexander, Lloyd. The High King.

Avi. Crispin: the Cross of Lead.

Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

Burnford, Sheila, The Incredible Journey.

Carroll, Lewis. The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

Cooper, Susan. Over Sea, Under Stone.

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol.

Garfield, Leon. Smith.

Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders.

Kjelgaard, Jim. Big Red.

L’Engle, Madeline. A Wrinkle in Time.

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

London, Jack. The Call of the Wild.

Lowry, Lois. The Giver.

McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonsong.

McDonald, George. The Princess and Curdie.

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables.

Mowat, Farley. The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be and Lost in the Barrens.

Nesbit, Elizabeth. The Phoenix and the Carpet.

North, Sterling. Rascal.

Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet and How Angel Peterson Got His Name.

Pearson, Kit. The Whole Truth.

Pratchett, Terry. Diggers.

Smucker, Barbara. Days of Terror.

Speare, Elizabeth George. The Bronze Bow.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island.

Trease, Geoffrey. Word to Caesar.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Ullman, James Ramsey. Banner in the Sky.

Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days.

Walters, Eric. Shattered.

Wyss, Johann D. The Swiss Family Robinson.

Click HERE to find more classics.

Click HERE to find classic folklore. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email