Exploring Olly Richards’ Language Learning Books: A Comprehensive Guide

You may be wondering who Olly Richards is or why I’m writing about him. Allow me to explain! Olly Richards is a YouTube polyglot. I don’t know much about him beyond his books. Many graded readers are written in a manner that isn’t appealing to adult learners, but Olly Richards has several series of graded readers that cover a wide range of topics aimed at adults. In this blog post we’ll explore some of the series he offers.

Short stories in [Language] are his bread and butter. They’re available in the widest variety of languages, compared to some of the following series that are only available in the more commonly learned languages such as Spanish and French.

Short Stores in [Language] come in one of two difficulties: easy and intermediate. For more popular languages, there is often a second volume of 8 additional stories in the target language at the same relative difficulty level.

I personally like the Short Stories in [Language] series, as they provide bite-sized stories using the most common words in a variety of different domains and genres. From adventure and time-traveling pirates to sci-fi or slice of life, there is something for everyone.

Each book contains about 8 short stories in different domains. The advantage here is that you get a variety, the disadvantage is that you don’t have that same sense of a long overarching story or plotline that can draw readers in.


If you’re already a fan of omnibuses/anthologies, you may enjoy this series. If you prefer longer content, fear not, Olly Richards offers a few longer formatted stories for you as well!

[Language] Conversations is a bit of a misnomer. The book series is available in beginner and intermediate difficulties and tells a singular story over the course of a whole book. Although the title is “[Language] Conversations”, this is misleading. The title conjures up images of a dialog book with conversations to memorize, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Yes, there are conversations, no, it isn’t a book of dialogs for learners. Instead, the series tells a story via very dialog-heavy storytelling, and unlike his Short Stories in [Language] series, the chapters flow into one another like a proper book.

I generally have found this series to be easier than the equivalent difficulty-level short story collections. I think sticking to dialog-heavy stories is a great approach since speech is less language dense than a more literary narrative style. This allows for you to follow the story and get into immersion without worrying about superfluous adjectives and adverbs that don’t add to the story.

The [Topic] in Simple [Language] series is one of Olly Richard’s newer offerings. Each book contains stories about a topic or domain but in simplified language.

If you want to learn about a certain topic such as global warming, but can’t yet understand native literature about it, this series offers a great way to get into those domains and learn the domain-specific vocabulary needed to understand and converse about the topic at hand.

Given that the [Topic] in Simple [Language] series is so new, and I’ve long since “aged out” of graded readers in my language journey, I don’t have a lot of first-hand experiences with them. I can only imagine that they’re just as good as the rest of his series though, and they’re something I wish I had when I was in the earlier stages of my learning!


Know any other graded reader series you would recommend? Link them in the comments below!

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