How to use a graded reader

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A graded reader is a type of book for language learners, where the chapters are organized by difficulty levels. As the learner progresses chapter by chapter through the book, they are gradually introduced to more complex grammar and vocabulary.

Here’s how to use a graded reader.1 For the purposes of the example, let’s imagine you are learning Greek.

For each chapter:

  1. First reading — Try to read the chapter from beginning to end without looking up any words in the dictionary.
  2. Write a quick summary of the chapter in Greek.
  3. Second reading — Reread the chapter without looking anything up, then write another summary in Greek.
  4. Third reading — Read it very closely, and take notes of any words you didn’t understand.
  5. Using the notes you took, look up each unknown word in the dictionary.
  6. Fourth reading — Reread the chapter one more time. By now, you should understand almost everything.
  7. Write another summary of the chapter.
  8. That’s it! Move on to the next chapter now.

Afterward, feel free to go back to previous chapters and reread them. Each time, you will discover new things.

Further Reading

Olly Richard’s StoryLearning technique for reading for language learning talks about a similar technique for using graded readers.

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