English reading

English reading practice is a powerful way to increase fluency. Strong reading skills help grow your vocabulary, boost comprehension, and improve your grammar.


You can start to learn English by reading things you find interesting. Classic stories, fantasy or sci-fi novels, and books about your job can all be great practice. If you’re an advanced learner, you can get a lot more from the same materials if you pay attention to the author’s style, context, uncommon words, and so on.  

We collected useful resources for you to practice English reading in one convenient place.

English Reading

What is English reading all about?

Reading skills in English don’t just mean your comprehension. Instead, they determine your ability to adapt to different written information. For example, reading a novel is entirely different than looking for the right recipe in the cookbook. So, you practice reading to find the right information, get the gist, and remember specific details in different texts.

Improving your English reading skills helps you:

Get the general meaning, ideas, and specific details in various texts.

Change your reading style and speed for different situations depending on your goals.

Understand the structure of written materials to always find what you need.

Summarize what you read in your own words to share ideas and arguments.

English reading reference guide

Learn these skills to get better at reading in English:

1General Skills

Foundations for you to learn English. They include your knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and so on. Your general skills will help improve your reading as well as writing, listening, and speaking abilities.


Covers your knowledge of rules, sentence formation, punctuation, and complex sentences.


Covers the number of words you know to help select what topics and texts you can understand.


Covers your ability to write, which translates into your ability to read and understand texts.

Language Use

Covers independent use of English to understand words from context and look up definitions.

Reading Speed

Covers different paces at which you can read depending on goals and personal preference.


Covers your ability to understand concepts and explain them in your own words.


Specific reading skills that improve your ability to understand the language. You use different comprehension tactics to find important information and adjust your reading style to the situation.

Bottom-up Reading

Covers isolating specific words, phrases, and sentences to build up your comprehension from smaller pieces.

Top-down Reading

Covers using your knowledge of context and text structure to better understand it.


Covers your ability to quickly go through the text and understand the gist without reading all of it.


Covers your ability to find specific information in the text, such as a serial number in an instruction.

Intensive Reading

Covers your ability to deeply engage with texts and accurately comprehend many details.


Covers your ability to remember key information in texts and use it for different purposes.


Your ability to work with different types of English texts to understand them. These can be reports for your work, articles in your area of interest, books you read for fun, and so on.


Covers a wide range of different stories, such as sci-fi, fantasy, or even classic folk tales.


Covers all kinds of literature such as scientific books, self-help, biographies, history, and so on.

Business Materials

Covers different texts you’ll see at the workplace - contracts, reports, emails, and so on.


Covers different instructions and how-to guides that explain how to do something specific.


Covers different media online and in papers or journals. Include news, entertainment, industry publications, and so on.

Social Media

Covers different content you’ll find on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media.

Test your English reading skills

Take our 20-minute English reading test online. Answer multiple-choice questions to check your comprehension and language use. Get instant results and go back to see your mistakes. Get suggestions on how to improve your reading skills with Promova.

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People often ask

How to learn English reading faster?

You can learn to read faster with different tactics described earlier on the page. For example, skimming texts before reading can help you find the main points and improve comprehension when reading for details. At the same time, scanning for specific ideas can help you improve by thinking more about the text itself and how it’s structured. 

In addition, if you write in English, your reading skills will also improve. Your ability to use the language increases comprehension, so the best way to learn reading faster is to spend at least an hour practicing different language skills every day.

Where do I find books to practice reading?

Your exact choice should depend on your level. For example, an A1 student will be limited to fairly simple texts. However, more advanced learners can read anything from classic novels to modern bestsellers.

If you’re looking for classic books or historical non-fiction, the US Library of Congress has thousands of free digital books in the public domain. 

You can also find great books for your skill level in our language learning app. Promova developed tools to make your English reading experience as simple as possible. We added dictionary functionality and simplified books directly into the app for your convenience.

Can you learn English by reading only?

While possible, it’s rare for people to use only reading to learn English. Most language learners don’t have the time and discipline to learn grammar, punctuation, and spelling from books alone. You need to learn incredibly well from texts and reread parts over and over to improve comprehension.

In addition, learning from books alone can give you a limited perspective on the language. Many people develop limited English skills based on necessity and struggle to become fluent.  

For example, programmers often have excellent reading skills and can write well but struggle with English conversations. They work with a lot of code and text, so this makes sense. However, learners who take a balanced approach and improve all forms of comprehension tend to achieve fluency faster. You have more ways to learn if you use every tool available.