Reading ESL stories and readings in English for ESL learners

train at a platform at a train station with people walking towards it

 

I Missed my Train! (simple past, third conditional)

I only missed the train by a few minutes. I was annoyed. If I had walked a bit faster, I might have made my train. If I had left a few minutes earlier, I might have been on time.

Because I missed my train, I had to wait for the next one. I had to wait for an hour and a half.

I bought a cup of coffee and a newspaper. I found a chair to sit on. I drank my coffee and read the newspaper while I waited for the next train.

It was very frustrating.

NOTE:

sick

 

An Evening Out (simple past, past continuous)

Last night I went to Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall in Toronto. It was a beautiful summer evening. It was warm and sunny. Lots of people were there because of the Pan Am games celebrations. I stood and watched the crowd.

Many people were sitting by the water. Some people were talking with friends or family. Lots of people were taking pictures.

A band was playing music on the stage. People were standing by the stage. They were listening to the music. Others were watching the performance on large video screens.

Everyone was enjoying the summer evening.

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Do these sentences have correct grammar? If the grammar is wrong, can you correct it?

1. People were standing in front of the stage. Correct or wrong?

2. I were watching the crowd. Correct or wrong?

3. Everyone was celebrating the PanAm games. Correct or wrong?

4. The sun was shining. Correct or wrong?

5. Some people was watching the band. Correct or wrong?


Fill in the Blanks:

6. What is the simple past tense of these verbs? stand _____________, watch ________________,

>> Answers
sick

photo from the George Eastman House collection

(taken from flickr)

 

Sick on Saturday (simple past)

I have just had a terrible weekend! On Saturday I was so tired that I slept all morning. When I woke up I had a head ache and my throat was sore. My body ached all over. My nose ran and I coughed a lot. My mother took my temperature but I did not have a fever.

My mother made me some soup for lunch and I ate it in bed. I drank some juice. I tried to read a book but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I lay in bed all afternoon. I drifted in and out of sleep. I drank more juice. I felt miserable all afternoon. I didn’t want to do anything.

I got out of bed at dinner time. My parents ordered pizza for dinner and I was able to eat some of it. I drank more juice! I felt a bit better after dinner so I stayed up. I snuggled under a blanket on the couch and watched some TV with my parents. I fell asleep in front of the TV.

The next morning I felt better but now my mother had a cold! She looked miserable. It was her turn to be sick.

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. The boy was sick on Saturday. Yes or no?

2. On Sunday his father was sick. Yes or no?

3. He had a fever on Saturday. Yes or no?

4. He ate dinner in bed on Saturday. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

5. The family had _______________ for dinner on Saturday.

6. On Saturday night the boy fell asleep while he __________________________.

7. He had a head ______________ and his throat was ________________.

8. The boy drank lots of _______________.

9. What is the present tense of these verbs? tried _____________, took ________________,

felt ________________, did _________________

>> Answers
skating on an outdoor rink

Skating at Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto

 

 

 

Skating! (simple past)

This winter I learned to skate! A friend of mine had an extra pair of skates. He persuaded me to go skating with him one Saturday afternoon in February. I borrowed the skates and we went skating!

It was cold outside! We wore hats, scarves and mitts to keep warm. He showed me how to put on the skates. He helped me walk onto the ice. He showed me how to start moving. He also showed me how to stop! I moved very slowly at first and lots of people skated past me. When I fell nobody laughed at me. Instead, they helped me get back up. I kept trying! Soon I felt much better. I liked skating!

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. In the past tense the word feel becomes the word felt. Yes or no?

2. In the past tense the word fall becomes the word fell. Yes or no?

3. When he fell, people laughed at him. Yes or no?

4. Wearing hats and scarves will help keep you warm on a cold day. Yes or no?

5. You can skate outside in the summer in Canada. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

6. If you want to _________ to do something, you have to keep trying!

7. When he _____________ nobody laughed at him.

8. He borrowed a pair of skates from a ___________ who had an extra pair of skates.

9. They went skating on a _______________ in February.

10. They wore hats and mitts because it was _______________ outside that day.

11. His friend ____________ him walk onto the ice.

>> Answers
 carving a turkey

Carving the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.




 

 

Thanksgiving Dinner (past perfect)

Last Thanksgiving my parents had a large family dinner at their house. Getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner takes a lot of work.

The day started well and by late afternoon we had completed most of the work. Everyone had helped to make the meal a success. We had put the turkey in the oven earlier that day so the house was starting to smell like roast turkey. The grandchildren had finished setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner. My aunt had made two pies for dessert, a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. My brother and I had peeled the carrots and the potatoes. We had just turned on the stove to start cooking the vegetables when the power went out! The oven stopped working! We couldn’t cook the vegetables! The turkey wouldn’t finish cooking! We waited. We talked. We went for a walk.

We had waited two hours by the time the power came back on. We had almost given up hope. Dinner was late that night but it was a Thanksgiving dinner that we won’t forget.

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. The word had is used when making the past perfect verb tense. Yes or no?

2. Use the past participle of the main verb when making the past perfect. Yes or no?

3. My aunt made two apple pies for dessert. Yes or no?

4. When the power went out there was no electricity. Yes or no?

5. The turkey was finished cooking before the power went out. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

6. It was two _______________ before the power came back on.

7. My brother and I had _____________ the vegetables for dinner.

8. Everyone had ______________ to make the meal a success.

9. By late afternoon we ____________ completed most of the work.

10. For Thanksgiving dinner we had _____________ and vegetables and then we had pie for _______________.

>> Answers
cake

 

A Cake was Made (past tense, passive voice)

Seven tablespoons of cocoa powder were measured into a small bowl. Half a cup of boiling water was added. The mixture was stirred until it was smooth. It was left to cool down.

A half cup of softened butter was put in a large bowl. Two cups of white sugar were added.

The mixture was stirred until it was smooth. Next, three eggs were added and the mixture was stirred again.

The dry ingredients were added next - two cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. The last additions that were made to the batter was a cup of sour cream and all of the cocoa mixture. The batter was mixed well.

The batter was poured into two cake tins. The cakes were baked in the oven for 45 minutes. After the cakes had cooled, chocolate icing was spread over them and the cakes were decorated. The best part was saved for last.... the cakes were eaten!

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. It was a chocolate cake. Yes or no?

2. One cake was made. Yes or no?

3. The best part was eating the cake! Yes or no?

4. Two bowls were used to make the cake. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

5. The dry ingredients were _____________________, baking powder and baking soda.

6. The cakes were in the _________________ for 45 minutes.

7. __________________ icing was spread over the cake.

8. ______________ a cup of boiling water was used to make the cake.

9. The last things added to the batter were the cocoa _______________ and the sour ________________.

>> Answers
 

women dancing at a party

photo by Tracey Bennewies

 

 

Late for the Party (past perfect, passive voice)

Last week-end my sister had a birthday party. There was a snowstorm that day and the traffic was horrible. I was so late I missed most of the party. By the time I arrived all the cake had been eaten and most of the wine had been drunk. All the gifts had been opened too. Songs had been sung and wishes had been said. A good time was had by everyone! I stayed long enough to finish the last of the wine and help my sister clean up after the party. The drive home was much easier because the roads had been plowed by the time I left my sister’s apartment.

Vocabulary help:

More vocabulary?  Click on the icon that looks like a book, to the left

Comprehension Check:

Did you understand the story? Are these sentences true?

1. There was cake and wine at the party. Yes or no?

2. The sister received some birthday gifts. Yes or no?

3. The apartment was cleaned up after the party. Yes or no?

4. The drive home was slow. Yes or no?

5. The word had is used in forming the past perfect tense. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

6. By the time I arrived all the cake had ________ eaten.

7. The drive home was much easier because the roads had been _______________.

8. All the wine had been ________________.

9. I was late for my sister's _________________ party.

10. Songs had been ____________ and wishes ____________ been said.

>> Answers

Answers:


I Missed My Train

1. missed, wait 2. drank (or bought)

3. few, 4. hour, 5. book

6. annoyed, 7. left, might

8. 90, 9. to buy 10. to leave

Back ^


An Evening Out

1. correct

2. wrong. I was watching the crowd. OR I watched the crowd.

3. correct 4. correct

5. wrong. Some people were watching the band. OR Some people watched the band.

6. stood, watched

Back ^


Sick on Saturday

1. yes, 2. no, 3. no, 4. no,

5. pizza, 6. watched TV, 7. ache/sore, 8. juice, 9. try/take/feel/do

Back ^


Skating!

1. yes, 2. yes, 3. no, 4. yes, 5. no

6. learn 7. fell, 8. friend, 9. Saturday, 10. cold, 11. helped

Back ^



A Cake was Made

1. yes, 2. no, 3. yes, 4. yes,

5. flour, 6. oven, 7. Chocolate, 8. half, 9. mixture/cream

Back ^


Late for the Party

1. yes, 2. yes, 3. yes, 4. no, 5. yes,

6. been, 7. plowed, 8. drunk, 9. birthday, 10. sung/had

Back ^



Thanksgiving Dinner

1. yes, 2. yes, 3. no, 4. yes, 5. no,

6. hours, 7. peeled, 8. helped, 9. had, 10. turkey/dessert

 

Back ^