Spooky stories are a fun way to celebrate Halloween, whether alone or with friends. Reading helps you improve your vocabulary and become more fluent in the language you’re learning. Here are some scary stories to practice your English with as well as tips to help get you started.
Best Scary Stories for ESL Students
Not only are these tried and true tales a great way to practice your English, many are available for free download or at your local library.
1. The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs: This classic story is the tale of a man who gets a monkey’s paw that grants him three wishes, with unexpected results. It’s been adapted many times in movies, TV shows, and even other stories because of its timeless themes.
2. The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe: Poe is perhaps the most famous American horror writer, and his simple, straightforward language makes his tales a good choice for those practicing English.
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman writes celebrated fantasy novels for adults and children alike, but this young adult novel is ideal for ESL students who love to explore magical realities when they read.
Reading Tips and Tricks
When reading scary stories in English, these tricks can help you understand more of the language and retain the vocabulary and grammar.
– After you’ve read the story, try retelling it to a friend in English. This enhances your understanding and allows you to practice conversation skills, thus increasing fluency through conversation.
– Keep a pen or paper nearby. Note words and phrases you don’t understand so that you can look them up later, then go back and read the story again. In fact, it often makes sense to read the story all the way through twice: the first time for vocabulary and the second time to understand the language, characters, and plot.
– Because scary stories mirror cultural fears, learning more about the background of the story after you read can help you understand American culture, which in turn can give you a deeper understanding of the English language.
– Ask questions about parts of the story you don’t understand. Reading a short story in a small group setting together and then discussing it with the group members can be very helpful.
– Enjoy the story. Choosing a topic that you love to read about is a natural way to learn. If scary stories aren’t your favorite, opt for a different genre of American literature.
While October is the ideal time for scary stories, reading for vocabulary and comprehension is a great way to supplement your English language studies all year long. Call ALCC American Language at 212-736-2373 to learn about our programs that can help you be on your way to becoming fluent in English.