Million-Word Reading Project Reader Guide





Million-Word Reading Project

Reader Guide



Copyright 2016 Qiliang Feng

Published by Qiliang Feng at Shakespir




Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents


1. Million-Word Reading Project

2. Book List of MWRP Series

3. MWRP Book Information

4. Key to Success in MWRP

5. FAQs

6. Basic 1,500 Wordlist

7. Reading Progress Chart

8. About the authors





I have had the pleasure of working with Mr Qiliang Feng for a number of years. I am impressed with his dedication to Chinese students and the work he is doing to help Chinese people become readers of English. Reading in a foreign language is not easy - and many people are put off by trying to read William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens - which are pretty difficult for native speakers of English. It is far better to start off at a much lower level where you know at least 95% of the words. (Some graded readers have a vocabulary of just 50 words so there is something for everyone).

Mr Feng has provided a wide variety of readers of different levels so there should be something for you, whatever your level and whatever your interest, whether you like crime stories, science fiction, comedies or good old-fashioned love stories, there are graded readers for you.

This reminds me of a student I once had from Poland. Her English was very poor but she liked reading romantic fiction in Polish so I gave her two very simple graded readers to read in English. A week later she came back. “More books please!”

I gave her ten more books and a week later, ten more books, slightly harder than the week before. After eight weeks she was reading romantic fiction again – but this time in English! After eight weeks she had moved on from graded readers (after about 80 books) to ‘normal’ books for native speakers.

Not surprisingly, her English reading skills improved a lot in that time. Interestingly, so did her speaking, listening and writing skills as well. Yes, reading is that powerful.

As the American Professor Stephen Krashen said, “Comprehensible Input is the key.” You should read books that you understand, rather than reaching for a dictionary to check the meaning of a word every 10 seconds. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about reading simple books. These are the building blocks of your English reading skills and with sound foundations, who knows how high you can go – the sky’s the limit!

One important skill is to read books that have a small number of new words. Krashen called this I+1. This exposure to a small number of new words among many words that you do know will help your Second Language Acquisition in a very effective way. Let’s look at a few examples:


Last week I noticed that my windows were so xhzmalshkd that I decided to clean them immediately.


What could xhzmalshkd mean? Well, as you cleaned them immediately they were probably dirty, but as you chose to clean them immediately the implication is that xhzmalshkd means “very dirty”.


The robbers ran so cxmzklwqdly that the police couldn’t catch them.


What could cxmzklwqdly mean? Well, the word ends with -ly so it is probably an adverb describing how the robbers ran. Could be slowly, could be quickly but we also read that the police couldn’t catch them so we can understand that the word cxmzklwqdly probably means “very quickly”.

Instead of reaching for your dictionary each time, play the game of trying to work out what the unknown word might mean. If there are too many unknown words, then the book you are reading is too difficult for you so simply pick another, easier book.

Mr Feng wants you to read 1 million words. I hope that you come to see reading as a pleasure and a joy that will open your eyes to many other worlds – as well as taking your English ever closer to perfect fluency.

Happy Reading!

Jeremy Taylor

Writer, Teacher and Teacher Trainer.

Jeremy Taylor is a British author and has written over 50 books. In addition to writing he likes photography, cooking, hiking, cycling and languages. If you want to know more about him you can visit his website: http://www.jeremytaylor.eu 

1. Million-Word Reading Project

An easy and enjoyable step to upper intermediate English


If you have picked up this book on your own, you are sure to know how important and useful it is to read widely outside class, especially for ESL (English as a Second Language) or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners. So I won’t waste too much time on it now.

Million-Word Reading Project (MWRP) is a project in which ESL/EFL learners at elementary level (with a basic vocabulary of 1,500 words) are expected to read one million words within two or three years, and reach upper-intermediate level (with a vocabulary of about 3,500 words). This project contains a series of about 40 simplified readers, enough for an ESL/EFL learner to read for two years,

These books are specially rewritten so that elementary ESL/EFL readers who know about 1,500 words can read them without too much difficulty. Altogether, these books are rewritten with about 3,000 headwords, and most of the “unknown words” (words outside the basic 1,500 wordlist) occur many times, so that you will learn them without any difficulty while reading. And after finishing all these books, you will learn at least 3,000 words, and your English reading skills will improve greatly.

In general, there are fewer than 5 unknown words in every 100 words you read (<5%). If there are too many unknown words in a book, you will find it too hard; and if too few, you will find it too easy and you won’t learn as much. The first few books in this series have fewer unknown words, and those last ones have more, but you won’t find them too difficult, because by then, you will have met many of the “unknown words” many times and they are in fact no longer unknown to you.

Of the 37 books we are publishing, most are famous classic novels or collections of short stories, and there is one play and one book of jokes. In rewriting the books, we have changed the difficult words into simpler and more frequently used ones, and made long sentences short, but still, we have tried to keep them as original as possible, so that you can get in touch with and learn as many grammar items as you can in reading.

We have also calculated the readability of the books. This shows how difficult a book is. The higher the score, the easier the text is to read. Most of the books in this project have a readability score of over 80, which means they are easy or very easy to read. See the table below.

After reading these books, you will have met with more than 1,500 “unknown” words more than 5 times and by seeing them repeatedly, you can memorize them very easily. See the table below.

There is a list of detailed information of each book (word count, number of unknown words, unknown word percentage, readability, etc.) at the beginning of the books. This information can help you choose the books that best suit you.

Good luck in reading!

2. Book List of MWRP Series

Collection I

I-1 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I-2 Black Beauty

I-3 Jataka Tales

I-4 Robinson Crusoe

I-5 World Famous Stories

I-6 Adventures of Tom Sawyer

I-7 Huckleberry Finn

I-8 The Thirty-Nine Steps

I-9 Mary Marie

I-10 Stories of Nasreddin

I-11 The Bears of Blue River

I-12 The Secret Garden

Collection II

II-1 The Young Treasure Hunter

II-2 The Railway Children

II-3 Peter Pan

II-4 The Red House Mystery

II-5 The Gadfly

II-6 The Detective Club

II-7 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

II-8 Andersen’s Fairy Tales

II-9 Pollyanna

II-10 The Adventures of Pinocchio

II-11 Heidi

II-12 Wise Men of Gotham and Other Stories

Collection III

III-1 Oliver Twist

III-2 Frankenstein

III-3 Heart—-An Italian Schoolboy’s Diary

II-4 A Doll’s House

III-5 The Little Prince

III-6 A Little Princess

III-7 The Stories of Robin Hood

III-8 The Adventures of Don Quixote

III-9 The Young Adventurer

III-10 Grimm’s Fairy Tales

III-11 Aesop’s Fables

III-12 Selected English Jokes

III-13 The Diary of a Young Girl

3. MWRP Book Information

Collection I


Collection II


Collection III


1. The basic 1500 wordlist does not include compound words made up of the basic words (like: schoolboy <=school +boy) or words derived from the basic words (like: honestly <= honest+ly).

2. Proper names (names of persons or places) or words derived from proper names or interjections are not counted.

3. Unknown words (words beyond 1500) include all those that appear and reappear. For instance, words that appear three times are counted as three.

4. In unknown headwords, repeated words or their derived forms are counted as one.

4. Key to Success in MWRP

Million-Word Reading Project (MWRP) is an ESL/EFL reading program, and its aim is to start with a basic vocabulary of 1500 words, and read one million words within two or three years. By starting with specially prepared readers, the learners can read easily and joyfully, and improve their all round abilities of English. With MWRP, learning is no longer a matter of strong will, but one of interest. Keeping up the interest in reading is the key in the success of MWRP. And now the question arises: how should you keep your interest up?

1. Success Is the Mother of New Success.

Speaking of ESL/EFL learning, one is often reminded of such wordings as “hard-working”, “diligence”, and “perseverance”, as if ESL/EFL learning is a hard thing to do. But there is certainly a short-cut to English. That is: reading.

Successful reading leads to more reading. The more you read, the better you become at reading. The better you are reading, the more you want to read. The more you want to read, the more you read. By choose suitable readers, you can experience success from the beginning, and you will feel encouraged. If you have mastered a basic vocabulary of 1,500 words, then MWRP is the thing for you.

2. Long-Term, Medium-Term and Short-Term Goals

Goals are important motives in language learning, so the first step in reading is to set up goals. There are three kinds of goals for you to set up: long-term, medium-term and short-term goals.

Long-Term Goal:

As an ESL/EFL learner, you can set up a long-term goal for your reading. You can set up a goal which seems a little too difficult to reach at the present. For example, you can hope to be able to read standard originals in English within 3-5 years.

Medium-Term Goal:

Make MWRP your medium-goal. This project is designed for ESL/EFL learners with a basic vocabulary of 1,500 words to read one million words in two years. That is what a primary student in the United States is expected to read within two years. Of course, if you are a keen reader, you can complete MWRP within a year or even less.

Short-Term Goal:

Break up the medium-term goal and you will get a short-term goal, which can be the goal for one month or even a week.

3. Goal Break-up

Break up the long-term goal into medium-term goals, medium-term goals into short-term goals, and short-term goals into immediate goals or today’s goals.

Suppose you plan to read one million words within two years, then your short-term goal is to read 10,000 words each week, or 2,000 words each day (5 days per week, year round). If you are a slow reader and can only read 100 words per minute, you only have to spend about 20 minutes each day on reading.

So, we can see that the success in MWRP lies in spending 20 minutes every day, five days every week, all the year round for two years.

4. Visualization of Goals

This means that you must be able to “see” your goals with your eyes. Write out you goals on a sheet of paper, and put it where you can see easily every day. You can put it on the wall, or the top of your desk, or make it your PC desktop background. In this way, you can be reminded of the goals all the time.

5. Make a Reading Log

It is also very important to make a note of what you read every day. You can make a chart to show how many words you have read each day. Compare your charts with your fellow learner’ and see who does better.

6. Read with a Class

If you are lucky, you can persuade your teacher to carry out WMRP in your class. Then you will no longer be alone, and it will be easier for you to complete the project.

Good luck in reading!

5. FAQs

1. Q: Are all the readers listed in the order of readability?

A: Not exactly. They are listed according to their readability, unknown word percentage and unknown headword percentage. In general, those in front are easier to read than those at the back.


2. Q: I’m sure I know more than 3,000 words. Can I join in this project?

A: Of course. That would make it much easier for you, and it would take a shorter time to complete it. That will help improve your English greatly. Pick up a book and try.


3. Q: How do I know which book is suitable for me to read?

A: We suggest that you start from the first one and read them all. But in each book you can find “Text Information”, which can help you decide how difficult the book is for you.


4. Q: Should I use a dictionary while reading?

A: If you are reading on Kindle, or you are reading them on PC, Ipad, etc, you can use a dictionary easily. But with a printed dictionary, if you look up every unknown word, it will take too much time and you will feel frustrated and will probably give up reading. You can try to guess their meanings and after a time, you can look them up in a dictionary to make sure. Anyway, you don’t have to understand everything in reading.


5. Q: What should I do after finishing one book? Should I do some comprehension exercises?

A: No. All you have to do is to go on to the next one.


6. Q: I am a native speaker of English. Are these books suitable for me?

A: Of course. These books are suitable for native G-5 and G-6 pupils, as well as those unwilling readers who are reluctant to read thick originals. This is a good way to lead them to literature.


7. Q: Woe! One million words! How long will that take?

A: This project is designed to last two years. Suppose you read 5 days a week, that’s 500 days. Then, all you have to do is read 2,000 words each day. If you are a slow reader and can only manage 100 words per minute at first, that takes only 20 minutes each day.


8. Q: How do I know that I have improved?

A: Maybe you will find that you do not read faster or more easily as you go on reading. That’s because the readers are becoming more and more difficult, not because you have not improved. After reading several books, you can read the first one again and see if it is easier now.


9. Q: Is there a place where we can talk about MWRP online?

A: Yes. This is Yahoo Group address:


For readers who know Chinese, there is one post bar in Baidu Tieba: 百万英语阅读. Readers can go to either of the two places to exchange their ideas on reading.

6. Basic 1,500 Wordlist


a (an) ability able about above abroad absent accept according to achieve across act action active activity actor actress add address advantage advice advise afford afraid Africa African after afternoon again against age ago agree agreement air airport alive all allow almost alone along aloud already also although always America American among ancient and angry animal another answer ant any anybody anyone anything anyway anywhere appear apple April area arm army around arrive art article artist as Asia Asian ask asleep at attend attention August aunt Australia Australian autumn avoid awake away awful


baby back background bad bag ball balloon bamboo banana bank baseball basic basket basketball bathroom be (am, are, is) beach bean bear beat beautiful because become bed bedroom beef before begin behind believe bell below beside best better between big bike (=bicycle) bill bird birth birthday biscuit bit black blackboard blind block blood blouse blow blue board boat body book bored boring born borrow boss both bottle bottom bowl box boy brain brave bread break breakfast bridge bright bring Britain British brother brown brush build building burn bus business busy but buy by


cake calendar call camera camp can (can’t/cannot) Canada Canadian cancel candle candy cap capital car card care careful careless carrot carry cartoon cat catch cause celebrate cent central centre (AmE center) century certain certainly chair chalk chance change cheap check cheer chemistry chess chicken child (pl. children) China Chinese chocolate choice choose chopsticks Christmas cinema circle city class classmate classroom clean clear clever climb clock close clothes cloud cloudy club coach coal coast coat coffee coin cold collect college colour (AmE color) come comfortable common communicate communication community compare competition complete computer concert condition connect consider continue control conversation cook cookie cool copy corn corner correct cost cough could count country countryside couple courage course cousin cover cow crayon crazy create cross cry culture cup customer cut cute


daily dance danger dangerous dark date daughter day dead deaf deal dear December decide decision deep degree delicious depend describe desk develop development dialogue (AmE dialog) diary dictionary die difference different difficult difficulty dig dining dinner direct direction director dirty discover discovery discuss discussion dish divide do doctor dog dollar door double doubt down draw dream dress drink drive driver drop dry duck dumpling during


each ear early earth earthquake east eastern easy eat education egg eight eighteen eighth eighty either elder electronic elephant eleven else email empty encourage end enemy engineer England English enjoy enough enter environment eraser especially Europe European even evening ever every everybody everyday everyone everything everywhere exactly exam (= examination) example excellent except excited exciting excuse exercise expect expensive experience explain express eye


face fact factory fail fair fall family famous fan fantastic far farm farmer fast fat father (dad) favourite (AmE favorite) fear February feed feel feeling festival fever few field fifteen fifth fifty fight fill film finally find fine finger finish fire first fish fisherman fit five fix flag floor flower fly follow food foot (pl. feet) football for force foreign forest forget fork form forty four fourteen fourth France free French fresh Friday fridge (= refrigerator) friend friendly friendship from front fruit full fun funny future


game garden gate general gentleman geography German Germany get gift giraffe girl give glad glass glove glue go gold good goodbye (bye) government grade grammar granddaughter grandfather (grandpa) grandmother (grandma) grandparent grandson grape grass great green grey ground group grow guard guess guest guide guitar gun


habit hair half hall hamburger hand handbag handsome hang happen happy hard hardly harmful hat hate have (has) he head headache health healthy hear heart heat heavy height hello help helpful hen her here hero hers herself hi hide high hill him himself his history hit hobby hold hole holiday home hometown homework honest hope horse hospital hot hotel hour house housework how however huge human humorous hundred hungry hurry hurt husband


I ice ice-cream idea if ill illness imagine important impossible in include increase India Indian industry influence information inside instead instruction instrument interest interesting international Internet interview into introduce introduction invent invention invite island it its itself


jacket January Japan Japanese job join joke journey juice July jump June just


keep key keyboard kick kid kill kilo (= kilogram) kilometre (AmE kilometer) kind king kiss kitchen kite knee knife (pl. knives) knock know knowledge


lab (= laboratory) lady lake land language large last late later laugh law lay lazy lead leader leaf (pl. leaves) learn least leave left leg lemon lend less lesson let letter level library lie life lift light like line lion list listen litter little live lively local lock London lonely long look lose lot loud love lovely low luck lucky lunch


machine mad magazine magic main make man (pl. men) manage manager many map March mark market marry match maths (= mathematics) matter may May maybe me meal mean meaning meat medical medicine meet meeting member mention menu mess message method metre (AmE meter) middle might mile milk mind mine minute Miss miss missing mistake mix mobile phone model modern Monday money monkey month moon more morning most mother ( mum) mountain mouse (pl. mice) mouth move movie Mr Mrs Ms much museum music musician must my myself


name national natural nature near nearly necessary neck need neighbour (AmE neighbor) neither nervous never new news newspaper next nice night nine nineteen ninety ninth no nobody nod noise noisy none noodle noon nor north northern nose not note notebook nothing notice November now number nurse


object o’clock October of off offer office officer often oil OK old Olympics on once one online only open opposite or orange order other our ours ourselves out outside over own


Pacific page pain paint pair palace pale pancake panda paper pardon parent park part party pass passage passenger passport past patient pay PE (= physical education ) peace pear pen pencil people perfect perhaps period person personal pet phone photo (= photograph) physics pick picnic picture pie piece pig pilot pink pioneer pity place plan plane planet plant play player playground please pleasure plenty pocket poem point police policeman / policewoman polite pollute pollution pool poor popular ( pop) population possible post postcard postman potato pound practice praise prepare present president pretty price pride primary print private prize probably problem produce product programme (AmE program) progress project promise pronounce pronunciation proper protect proud provide public pull punish pupil purple purpose push put


quarter queen question quick quiet quite


rabbit race radio railway rain rainy raise rapid reach read ready real realise (AmE realize) really reason receive recently record red refuse regret relationship relative relax remain remember repair repeat reply report require research rest restaurant result return review rice rich ride right ring rise risk river road robot rock role room rope rose round row rubbish rule ruler run rush Russia Russian


sad safe safety salad sale salt same sand sandwich satisfy Saturday save say scarf school schoolbag science scientist scissors score screen sea search season seat second secret secretary see seem seldom sell send sense sentence separate September serious serve service set seven seventeen seventh seventy several shake shall shame shape share she sheep (pl. sheep) shine ship shirt shoe shop short shorts should shoulder shout show shower shut shy sick side sign silence silent silk silly silver similar simple since sing single sir sister sit situation six sixteen sixth sixty size skate skill skirt sky sleep sleepy slow small smart smell smile smoke smooth snake snow snowy so social society sock sofa soft solve some somebody someone something sometimes somewhere son song soon sorry sound soup south southern space spare speak speaker special speech speed spell spend spirit spoon sport spread spring square stamp stand standard star start state station stay steal step stick still stomach stomachache stone stop store storm story straight strange stranger strawberry street strict strong student study stupid subject succeed success successful such sudden sugar suggest suggestion summer sun Sunday sunny supermarket support suppose sure surface surprise survey sweater sweet swim swimming


table tail take talk tall tape task taste taxi tea teach teacher team technology telephone television (=TV) tell temperature ten tennis tenth term terrible test text than thank that the theatre (AmE theater) their them themselves then there these they thick thin thing think third thirsty thirteen thirty this those though thought thousand three through throw Thursday ticket tidy tie tiger time tiny tired to today together toilet tomato tomorrow ton tonight too tool tooth (pl. teeth) toothache top total touch tour tourist toward(s) tower town toy trade traditional traffic train training translate travel treasure treat tree trip trouble trousers truck true trust truth try T-shirt Tuesday turn twelfth twelve twentieth twenty twice two


ugly UK umbrella uncle under underground understand unit university unless until (till) up upon us US use used useful usual usually


vacation valuable value vegetable very victory video village violin visit visitor voice volleyball


wait wake walk wall wallet want war warm warn wash waste watch water watermelon way we weak wealth wear weather website Wednesday week weekday weekend weigh weight welcome well west western wet what whatever wheel when whenever where whether which while white who whole whom whose why wide wife wild will win wind window windy wing winner winter wise wish with without woman (pl. women) wonder wonderful wood word work worker world worry worse worst worth would wound write writer wrong




yard year yellow yes yesterday yet you young your yours yourself (pl. yourselves)


zero zoo

7. Reading Progress Chart

This is a sample chart with which you can record your progress in MWRP reading. D is the date you start a book, D+1 is the second day and so on. You can also use MS Excel to make a chart.

8. About the Authors

Qiliang Feng has been an EFL teacher in senior high schools since 1983. He is a keen advocator of reading in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and is expert at rewriting graded/simplified ESL/EFL readers. He has published several series of English Reading Courses in China and is promoting an ESL/EFL reading project called Million-Word Reading Project (MWRP), in which ESL/EFL learners at elementary level (with a basic vocabulary of 1,500 words) are expected to read one million words within two or three years, and reach upper-intermediate level (with a vocabulary of about 3,500 words). For this project, he, working with Jeremy Taylor, has rewritten a series of simplified readers containing about 40 books.


Jeremy Taylor is a British author and has written over 50 books. In addition to writing he likes photography, cooking, hiking, cycling and languages. If you want to know more about him you can visit his website: http://www.jeremytaylor.eu 

Million-Word Reading Project Reader Guide

This is the Reader Guide of Million-Word Reading Project (MWRP). It helps readers to carry out MWRP reading more efficiently. Million-Word Reading Project (MWRP) is a project in which ESL/EFL learners at elementary level (with a basic vocabulary of 1,500 words) are expected to read one million words within two or three years, and reach upper-intermediate level (with a vocabulary of about 3,500 words). This project contains about 40 simplified readers, enough for an ESL/EFL learner to read for two years, and this list is growing.

  • ISBN: 9781310997426
  • Author: Qiliang Feng
  • Published: 2016-01-07 03:40:09
  • Words: 4547
Million-Word Reading Project  Reader Guide Million-Word Reading Project  Reader Guide