Reading ESL stories and readings in English for ESL learners

drawing of a palm showing some of the lines used when reading a palm

Palm Reading

Can you tell something about a person just by looking at their hands? Some people like to think that you can! The lines on the palms of your hands are interesting. Everyone has at least three lines, the heart line (blue), the head line (purple) and the life line (green). Some people have a fourth line called the fate line (yellow). Palm readers think that the shape and the length of these lines might be important. The lines might show how healthy you are, how energetic you are, or maybe how romantic you are!

Take a look at the palms of your hands. Can you see the different lines?  Everyone has lines that are different. In fact, the lines on your right hand are probably not the same as the lines on your left hand!

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 lines on your right hand are the same as the lines on your left hand. Yes or no?

2. Everyone has a fate line on both their hands. Yes or no?

3. Palm readers think that the shape and length of the lines on your palms are important. Yes or no?

Fill in the Blanks:

4. Everyone has at least _____________ lines on the palm of their hands.

5. The lines on your left hand are probably _________________________ than the lines on your right hand!

6. Palm readers look at the shape and the ________________ of the lines on your palm.

7. Not everyone has a ____________ line.

>>Answers
runners runnin a marathon a city street

Running a marathon.

Photo by Sarah Flint.


Running a Marathon

A marathon is a race that is 42.2 kilometres long. Many cities host marathons. You can run marathons in Toronto, Ottawa, Boston, New York City, and many other places around the world. Many marathons include shorter races of 5 km, 10 km, or 20 km. To be allowed to run some of the famous marathons like Boston or New York, you have to prove that you can run it fast enough. Some marathons can also be "run" in a wheelchair. The fastest male marathon runners can run the course in just over two hours while the fastest women finish in about two and a half hours.

Vocabulary help:

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

Comprehension Check:

1. You can run a marathon in many cities around the world. Yes or no?

2. A marathon is a race that is 42.2 kilometres long. Yes or no?

3. The fastest women runners take three hours to finish a marathon. Yes or no?

Answers
police on horseback watching a large screen television that is showing a game from the world cup in 2010

 

 

 

Soccer - World Cup 2010

Soccer is a very popular sport in many countries. The World Cup is held every four years. Thirty two teams from around the world compete in this tournament. In 2010 the World Cup was played in South Africa from June 26 to July 10. The games were watched on television by millions of people around the world. Spain won this World Cup. They beat Netherlands in the final game by a score of 1 to 0. The next World Cup is in 2014 and it will be played in Brazil.

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 World Cup is held every 5 years. Yes or no?

2. In 2010 the World Cup was played in South Africa. Yes or no?

3. There were a lot of goals in final game of the 2010 World Cup. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

4. ________________________ teams from around the world competed in the 2010 World Cup.

5. The winner of the 2010 World Cup was ______________________. They beat ____________________________ in the final game.

6. The next World Cup is in Brazil in ______________________.

>>Answers
a cyclist going very fast

Cycling is the middle event of a Triathlon.

Photo by Kyle McLaughlin.

Triathlon

Triathlon is a sport that consists of three parts, swimming, cycling and running. Athletes race against each other. They swim first, cycle second and run last. Triathlon became an Olympic Sport in 2000 at the Sydney Summer Olympics in Australia. In the Olympics athletes swim for 1.5 km, cycle for 40 km and then run for 10 km. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China the women’s gold medal in triathlon was won by an Australian, Emma Snowsill, who completed the race in just under two hours. Jan Frodeno from Germany won the men’s gold medal; he finished the race in one hour and 48 minutes.

A popular triathlon event is the Sprint Triathlon. It is a shorter race. It is half the distance of the triathlon of the Olympics. In the Sprint Triathlon athletes swim for 750 metres, cycle for 20 km and run for 5 km. If you think that this is too short for you, you can try the Ironman Triathlon. In the Ironman competition athletes swim for 3.86 km, cycle for 180 km and then run for 42.2 km! The fastest athletes can finish an Ironman Triathlon in just over eight hours!

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. Athletes run first in a triathlon. Yes or no?

2. Triathlon is now a sport at the Olympics. Yes or no?

3. In a Sprint Triathlon athletes swim for 1.5 km. Yes or no?

4. The Ironman Triathlon is longer than the Sprint Triathlon. Yes or no?

5. The Sprint Triathlon is half the distance of an Olympic Triathlon. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

6. The Sprint Triathlon is ___________________ than an Olympic Triathlon.

7. The fastest athletes finish an Ironman Triathlon in just over ______________ hours.

8. A triathlon has _________ parts, cycling, ________________ and swimming.

9. The 2008 summer Olympics were held in ________________________________.

10. In a triathlon, athletes ___________ last.

Answers
 sculpture of two very large dominoes

Domino statues, Philadelphia USA

Dominoes

Dominoes are pieces of wood, plastic, cardboard or bone that are called tiles. The tiles are rectangular and each one has two square halves. Dominoes have dots on them. They look like flattened dice.

These tiles are used to play games with. There is a large number of different games that use dominoes. Some of the games are simple, easy games. Other games are more complex and they require skill and strategy. Most of the games involve matching squares with the same number of dots.

Dominoes are known throughout the world. Domino sets and games vary between cultures. People of all ages can play dominoes. Some dominoes that are used by children have pictures on them instead of dots. The children play the game by matching the pictures.

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. Dominoes are square. Yes or no?

2. People of all ages can play dominoes. Yes or no?

3. All domino games are easy to play. Yes or no?

4. Dominoes usually have dots on them. Yes or no?


Fill in the Blanks:

5. _______________ are pieces of wood, plastic, ______________ or bone.

6. Complex games of dominoes require ________________ and strategy.

7. Dominoes look like ______________ dice.

8. The domino pieces are called _______________.

9. Dominoes are played all over the ___________________ but different cultures play different games.

10. Children's dominoes have ________________ on them.

>> Answers
a girl sticking out her tongue

 

Tongue Twisters

What is a tongue twister? Tongue twisters are sentences that contain sounds arranged in an order that makes them difficult to say. Some tongue twisters use alliteration. Alliteration is when there is the same sound at the beginning of each word. Big black bear is an example of an alliteration. Some tongue twisters use words that start with sounds that are very similar but not identical. She sells sea shells is an example of this. Tongue twisters are usually easy to say slowly but very difficult to say quickly! It can be fun to try to say them as quickly as possible! Most languages have tongue twisters. Here are some English ones that you can have fun with:

  • Four furious friends fought over the phone
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  • She sells sea shells down by the seashore.
  • If two witches were watching two watches, which witch would watch which watch?
  •  
  • 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. Four fun phones is an example of an alliteration. Yes or no?

    2. Peter Piper picked peppers that were pickled. Yes or no?

    3. Tongue twisters are difficult to say quickly.


    Fill in the Blanks:

    4. Most ___________________ have tongue twisters. Perhaps you have learned some in another __________________ already.

    5. Sea shells are shells that come from the _______________.

    6. It can be fun to say tongue twister as __________________ as possible!

    7. An example of an alliteration with witch might be _______________________________________________.

    >> Answers
    a person taking a picture of a cactus in the dessert with a small camera

     

    Photography

    Many people like to take pictures. They take pictures of their friends and their families. They take pictures of themselves having fun. Pictures tell stories, capture memories, and give us something to share with the people we like.

    From the time that cameras were first invented in the 1700’s the technology used in photography has been constantly changing and improving. Old cameras were big. It took a long time to take one picture. People had to stay very still while the photographer took their picture. Over the years cameras became smaller and faster.

    Now cameras are digital and even smaller. Photographic film is no longer used. Instead of having to wait for your pictures to be developed, a digital camera shows you the picture immediately. Instead of having to buy more film, there is no cost to taking more pictures digitally. Photography is now cheaper than it ever was. More people can now enjoy taking pictures and sharing them with their friends and family.

    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. Most people like to take pictures. Yes or no?

    2. Digital cameras use film. Yes or no?

    3. Pictures can be shared with friends. Yes or no?


    Fill in the Blanks:

    4. Digital cameras are ________________ than older film cameras.

    5. _____________________ are people who take pictures with a camera.

    6. When you take a picture with a digital camera, you can see the picture _________________________.

    7. Cameras were first _________________ in the 1700's.

    8. Pictures can tell _____________________.

    9. The technology used in photography is always changing and ______________________.

    10. If you have a digital camera, you don't have to ____________ film.

    >> Answers
    a woman bungee jumping



    Bungee Jumping by Emma Fox

    It was a warm sunny day in Queenstown, New Zealand. My friend and I wanted to do something really exciting so we decided to go Bungee Jumping. When you Bungee Jump, you jump off a cliff, or other high place, with an elastic rope tied around you. You go into free fall for a few seconds before coming to the end of the rope and bouncing back up.

    The jumping ledge was at the top of a mountain. From up there we could see the entire town below us. It was really beautiful.

    We were tied into harnesses. My friend was very nervous and the people working at the ledge could tell. They turned on some music to help her calm down. After she calmed down, they hooked her onto the main jumping rope. They counted 3..2..1..Jump! And she jumped! They pulled her back up and it was my turn.

    I was pretty nervous. They attached me to the jumping line and counted 3…2…1…JUMP! I ran right off the ledge and dove into the air. I felt my stomach tie itself into knots and my whole body was frozen in fear. After less than five seconds, I felt the tension of the rope pull me and I knew that the scariest part was over. They let me swing for about a minute before they pulled me back up to the ledge. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the scenery. The whole experience was amazing and I can’t wait to do it again.

    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. To go bungee jumping you need a very high place to jump from. Yes or no?

    2. Bungee jumpers are attached to ropes using harnesses. Yes or no?

    3. Bungee jumping is probably unexciting. Yes or no?


    Fill in the Blanks:

    4. When you are scared, sometimes your body is _______________ in fear.

    5. If your __________________ is tied into knots, then you are probably scared.

    6. When you bungee jump you have an ________________ rope tied around you.

    7. "I ran right off the ledge and ________________ into the air".

    8. There is _______________ in the rope at the end of the free fall.

    9. The rope was attached to the harness with a ______________.

    10. An experience that is very fun and exciting can also be called an _______________ experience.

    >> Answers
    a scrabble game in progress

    Scrabble

    Juba, zoa and fumet are English words that you have probably never heard or seen.  They are three of the words that you can find in a Scrabble dictionary.

    People have been making words and scoring points in Scrabble games since 1948. This board game is sold in 121 countries and in 29 different languages. There are also online Scrabble games that you can play.

    Two, three or four people compete against each other. Each player has seven tiles. Players take turns making words using these tiles. Each tile has a letter on it. Words are placed on the Scrabble board either horizontally (from left to right) or vertically (from top to bottom). Some letters are worth more points. Letters like Q and Z aren’t in very many words in the English language so they are worth 10 points. More common letters like E and A are only worth one point. The game ends when all the tiles have been used. The winner of the game is the player with the most points

    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 player with the most points is the loser in a game of Scrabble. Yes or no?

    2. Scrabble is a board game. Yes or no?

    3. In Scrabble you make words using tiles. Each tile has one letter on it. Yes or no?


    Fill in the Blanks:

    4. The more ____________ letters are only worth one point.

    5. Two, three or four players compete ______________each other.

    6. On the Scrabble board, words are either horizontal or ___________________.

    7. Scrabble players make words to _____________ points. The more points the better!

    8. Each Scrabble tile has one _____________ on it.

    9. Scrabble is sold in 121 ___________________.

    10. The ___________ of the game is the player with the most points.

    >> Answers
    a completed sudoku game

     

    Sudoku

    You can test your logic skills by solving sudoku puzzles! Each sudoku puzzle is a grid made of 81 squares. There are nine squares in each row and nine squares in each column. This grid also has nine smaller grids in it. Each small grid has nine squares in it.

    Some of the squares have numbers from 1 to 9 in them. You solve the puzzle by writing a number in each empty square. The correct solution to the puzzle is the one where the numbers 1 to 9 only occur once in each row, once in each column and once in each smaller grid. There is only one right answer to a sudoku puzzle.

    You can find these puzzles in most newspapers. There are also many websites with sudoku puzzles. You can do the puzzles online or you can print a copy for yourself. Some of the puzzles are very easy but others are difficult. Games based on sudoku can also be found online. Good luck! Have fun solving the puzzles!

    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. A Sudoku grid has 81 rows. Yes or no?

    2. There is only one correct answer to a sudoku puzzle. Yes or no?

    3. These puzzles are easy to find online or in newspapers. Yes or no?

    4. All sudoku puzzles are difficult. Yes or no?

    5. You use logic to solve a sudoku puzzle. Yes or no?


    Fill in the Blanks:

    6. A sudoku puzzle has ___________ columns.

    7. Each sudoku puzzle has _____________ correct answer.

    8. You write one _________ in each empty square when you solve a sudoku puzzle.

    9. You can find these puzzles online and in ________________.

    10. Some puzzles are ________ to solve but other puzzles are more difficult.

    >> Answers

    Answers:


    Palm Reading

    1. no, 2. no, 3. yes

    4. three, 5. different, 6. length, 7. fate

    Back ^


    Running a Marathon

    1. yes, 2. yes, 3. no

    Back ^


    World Cup 2010

    1. no, 2. yes, 3. no

    4. Thirty two., 5. Spain/Netherlands, 6. 2014

    Back ^


    Triathlon

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

    6. shorter, 7. eight, 8. three/running, 9. Beijing China, 10. run

    Back ^


    Dominoes

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

    5. Dominoes/cardboard, 6. skill, 7. flattened (or flat), 8. tiles, 9. world, 10. pictures

    Back ^


    Tongue Twisters

    1. yes, 2. yes, 3. yes

    4. language/language, 5. sea, 6. quickly (or fast), 7. witch/watch/which/or other w, wh words.

    Back ^


    Photography

    1. yes, 2. no, 3. yes

    4. smaller, 5. photographer, 6. immediately (right away) 7. invented, 8. stories, 9. improving, 10. buy

    Back ^


    Bungee Jumping

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

    4. frozen, 5. stomach, 6. elastic, 7. dove, 8. tension, 9. hook, 10. amazing,

    Back ^


    Scrabble

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

    4. common, 5. against, 6. vertical, 7. score, 8. letter, 9. countries, 10. winner,

    Back ^


    Sudoku

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

    6. nine, 7. one, 8. number, 9. newpapers, 10. easy,

    Back ^