Recent News Lesson Plans

Listen to today’s story on National Public Radio (NPR) and try to answer the listening questions below. This is a tough listening exercise and focuses on listening to statistics. You may have to rewind and listen to it several times in order to get all the answers.

Answer the following questions and record what time in the radio story that the answer is presented.

1. How tall is Jack Taylor?
2. Who did they play against yesterday?
3. What was Taylor’s shooting average?
4. What was the final score?
5. How many points did Jack Taylor score in the recent game?
6. What records in basketball history?
7. How many points did he average last season?
8. How many points did the team average last night?
9. Do Grinell have any “set plays?”
10. What is Grinell’s ultimate goal?
11. What is their goal this year?
12. What country would he like to play?
13. What is his major?


One student asked me today about some novels that I could recommend for him to improve his English. I thought that was a fantastic idea.

I think two approaches are clear at first thought. The first approach is to read something easier or below your level of English. You may enjoy the story and process of reading below your level more because you can concentrate on the story, and not have to learn too much new vocabulary on every page. You can finish a book like this much easier and be confident about your ability to understand the story. This easy approach also helps to reinforce and solidify basic grammar and even increase your ability to be a good writer. I definitely recommend reading things that are below your English level. Think about it: most native English speakers spend their whole lives reading things that are below their ability level just for the thrill of the story. It is very enjoyable to read a good story!

The second approach is to challenge yourself by reading some thing at, or above your English level. This may take much more work, you may require a teacher to help with the difficult parts, but you will learn new vocabulary.

You can of course try both. Read a book that is below your English level and a book that is above to see which one you enjoy more, and which one you learn more from. The following links will take you to a PDF file, and an internet site respectively which list many intermediate books which have been recommended for ESL & EFL students. You can even read a brief synopsis of each book so you know what it entails. In part two of this article I will go to the library in Taichung City and review some of the books that are there in the library. That way you can go to the library and check out these books for yourself and read them without having to pay for a book you might not like. Basically, it’s less financially risky to go to the library and borrow the books there than going out to buy every book I recommend.

Here are the links I mentioned above:

Here is a brief list of books that I recommend personally which can also mostly be found online through the links provided:

1) Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (difficult):

** A scary story about a detective and a ghost that haunts a small town.

You can read it online in full text here:

2) Lord of the Flies by William Golding (intermediate)

** A class of student’s plane crashes on an island and they are forced to live there and try to survive on their own.

You can read it online in full text here:

3) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (easy)

** A fun children’s novel about a spider who tries to save a pig from being sold at the fair and turned into meat.

4) The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (intermediate)

** A classic novel about a student who faces his coming of age, and matures during his trip home to see his parents.

You can read it online in full text here:

5) The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry (easy

** A fun spiritual novel about a man whose plane crashes and he sees a little angel boy in the desert.

You can read it online in full text here:

6) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (intermediate)

** A classic novel about life and the law in the Southern United States.

You can read it online in full text here:

Here is a cool website that I found when looking for information for the News English Class. I feel that it’s worthwhile to share with you.

Talking with your kids about important issues can be difficult. How do you know what to say? How do you instill strong moral values and an ability to discern between right and wrong, fact and fiction? This website gives some advice about talking to your kids about tough issues and even explains why it’s important to discuss these issues with your kids. Check it out. Do you Agree?

This page gives advices and reasons which advocate talking with your kids about what they see and read in the news.

On the left side you can see other topics.

Here is a new article I have written about trees. I think trees are great and the many different types of trees amaze me! So, I decided to write an article to describe some of the many amazing types of trees. I will await the comments of Shirley, a tree expert. 😉

Awesome Trees

Here is the new lesson plan, and audio.  This story is tough, and has lots of difficult vocabulary and phrases.  Enjoy!

Obama Orders Treasury Chief to Try to Block A.I.G. Bonuses

Mp3 Audio

Here is a new Recent News Lesson Plan with audio Mp3 file.  Hope you enjoy this one as well.  The Audio file has little extra news bits at the beginning for your interest and to help you with listening.  I try to go slow, but let me know if you have any suggestions about my reading speed.

US Withdrawing 12,000 troops from Iraq

Audio Mp3

Here is a new lesson plan.  I am going to try out something new for a month and see what happens.  I will add an Mp3 file which includes a reading of the news story and also some added information for the definitions.  Hopefully they can help your listening practice as well!  I may add quizzes to these lesson plans as well in the future!

Should Cell Phone Jamming be Legal?

Mp3 Audio

Here is a new lesson plan.

How Heart Handles Anger Predicts Beat

Here is my new lesson plan for this week!  I have been slowly trying to develop a NEW style for my lesson plans, but it has been slow.  Hopefully, sometime in the next few months, I will have audio for these lesson plans, so you can also listen to news story, personal comments, and the vocabulary pronunciation.  Thanks for your patience and support!

Russia Wants to Land on Europa

Landing on a moon of Jupiter!  I think this sounds like a really interesting idea.  This moon is supposed to be mostly covered with ice.  Although there may not be any life there now, maybe there was life there in the past, or can be life there in the future.  I know Canadians will probably be the first to buy houses there, because we are so used to the cold weather!

Here is some really cool information about Jupiter.  This websites have questions from students all over the world.  Hope you can learn something cool here!!

Answered Questions About Jupiter

Here are new lesson plans. 😀

US Retrieves Mp3 Player with Military Files

Origin of Rap Music

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