i‑Learner Education Centre

Steps to Success » Learning from and with Mistakes

Mistakes Overlooked in Reading

At its most basic, reading is something we first learn to do, then next, we use the skill to learn other things. There’s always a pressure to be reading more complex texts in order to keep up with exam requirements, but this race to trickier vocabulary and longer books can mean we miss important skills. Sometimes, it can be helpful for a student to read simpler books than they’re capable of in order to work on these other abilities. Take a look at the benefits of reading simpler texts at different levels and the mistakes this can overcome.


When children are learning to read, they often love to look at difficult books, even when they can only understand the pictures. This is great, and this enthusiasm should always be encouraged. However, it’s important not to push young learners to read harder books all the time, just because they’re interested in them. Reading can quickly feel like a chore, and there’s also the danger that eager readers may miss out on some core phonics practice that’s found in simpler texts. Allow early readers to explore a wide range of books, repeating their easy favourites as well as exploring more advanced works.

Primary School Students

Strong readers at this age are eager to try harder and harder books. This is great, but make sure to keep some old favourites around too. At this age, it’s important to read aloud together and accurately convey the emotion and meaning of words, as well as simple things like the effect of punctuation. Reading simpler books also means young learners can hold more of the story in their heads, and you can ask complex questions about characterisation and predictions in a way you couldn’t with an advanced text.

Lower Secondary Students

As schools introduce new subjects, it’s helpful for students to add breadth to all areas of their knowledge and to practise making connections between them. At this stage, it can be useful for learners to take a break from their favourite series and explore different types of books. If these are easier than the books they’re used to reading, that’s fine! Once children build up more confidence with different genres, settings, character types and writing styles, they’ll soon try more difficult things.

Upper Secondary Students

Very few students choose English Literature at this level, and the pressures of studying for core and elective subjects means there’s little time to read for pleasure. However, fiction is important at this age. English Language, and Humanities subjects such as History and Geography, regularly require students to interpret the tone, bias, and other deeper layers of what they read. Students shouldn’t focus on complex scientific texts and newspaper articles all the time; make sure to pick up something with emotional depth too.


At i-Learner, reading is the basis of our most challenging courses because we know that tackling tricky texts is the key to critical thinking. Students wanting to improve all areas of their academic abilities should take a look at courses such as Critical Reading and Writing, Voyage and Discovery.