Category Archives: Reading

Two Superb Sites to Practise Pronunciation by Reading Along

In this post, I want to share with you two superb sites that can help you improve pronunciation by reading along.


By asking students to repeatedly read a selected text or story while simultaneously listening to a text or a story, you can help them

  • improve reading fluency
  • improve pronunciation
  • improve automatic word recognition

1. The first site Listen A is one I have been using for years. Here you can find alphabetically-listed topic- based activities  from  Airports and Harry Potter to Zoos.You don’t even need to register. It’s completely free!! Choose a topic and read along. One minute a day… that’s all they are asking and in return… you’ll be passing your listening/speaking tests with flying colours.

2. The second site I want to share with you is a youtube channel called Learn English Through Story ,where short stories at various levels are read at a slow pace to further improve reading and listening skills in English. There are 7 levels. Choose the one that fits your level best. Visit youtube and write  Learn English through Story on the search box.


  • Pick a topic or a story
  • Set a  timer for one minute, and read the article/ story aloud until the timer goes off.
  • Read aloud the same passage  three times or until you feel confident.
  • Remember that the aim is to read along, not just to listen.
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Lesson Plan: The Etiquette of Social Kissing.

“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart”. William Butler Yeats

I was once kissed by a marquis, or maybe he was a count, but it was in a palace. I cannot remember his rank, but he was old and ugly, at least for me! Nothing to daydream about, believe me, but the fact remains that I was kissed by a nobleman. He was a long way from Prince Charming, but that was ok for me. He was selling. I was buying. That was it!

But the kiss… yes…back to the kiss. First time ever I had been kissed on the hand. I was ready for a handshake so I extended my hand. Instead the marquis suddenly, and in a very quick gesture took my hand, bowed and made the gesture,  and I have yet to decide whether he actually kissed my hand or just the air. Now that I know a bit more about the etiquette of hand-kissing I realize he probably never kissed me.

Photo by Tim Rooke/Rex/REX USA

Level: B2

♥DISCUSS: It is not very often that a woman has her hand kissed nowadays. But let’s reflect a bit on how we greet each other in our different countries. Discuss these questions with your partner:

  • What are the rules for social kissing in your country? Do you always know how you are supposed to greet someone? Have you ever experimented any awkward moments where you didn’t know what you were supposed to do?
  • When kissing as a form of greeting, do you kiss on one cheek or on both cheeks?
  • Is it the right or the left cheek you kiss first? Know that you should kiss the right cheek first to avoid awkward situations.
  • If you don’t like the kissing business, how do you cope with people who want to kiss you as a greeting?
  • Is it appropriate to kiss in a business setting?
  • Do you ever hug?
  • Apart from the handshakes, cheek kissing and hand kissing which are quite common for us, do you know any unusual ways  of greeting people ?

♥READ: Have a look at this interesting article about Unusual Ways to Greet People Around the WorldWhen you finish reading , tell your partner which form of greeting  you found most unusual.

♥LISTEN: Watch this video about the etiquette of social kissing and answer the following questions:

  1. In Good Morning America, the *anchorwoman describes an awkward moment when you get to a party. Why is it awkward for some people to greet your host or hostess?
  2. The British are described as” buttoned-up”. What do you think it means?
  3. Laura Ford is a British artist. Does she kiss people she doesn’t know? Choose from the options below and justify your answer.
  4. always b. never c. sometimes
  5. According to Hillary Brown, social kissing in France might be getting out of control. Why?
  6. Social Kissing is taught at some schools. Which ones?
  7. What are some of the rules of kissing taught at these schools?
  8. How are Americans and Latins different as regards social kissing?
  9. At the end of the clip, the anchorman apologizes. Why?

*anchorman/anchorwoman = a person who presents and coordinates a live television or radio programme involving other contributors.

CHECK: Answers here

READ: Why do we shake hands?

♥WRITE: Imagine a foreign student is coming to your school/house on an exchange visit. What advise would you give about your customs. Use the ideas below and the modal verbs should/shouldn’t , could, must/mustn’t.

  • greeting someone
  • meeting someone for the first time
  • being punctual
  • being invited to someone’s house
  • tipping

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English E-Books- a Site to Read and Download Adapted Books with Audio

Ebook Readers or traditional books? What’s your choice?

I am a bookworm. I love reading  though it has not always been like that. There used to be a time when I only had time, and this unwillingly, to read the compulsory books my Literature teachers thought were essential to my upbringing, if I may use this word. And believe me, each of these unforgettable  teachers had a long list in mind! As my school years faded in memory, so did my laziness -called it boredom-to start reading again and one day I found myself with a long list of books waiting in queue to be read, only this time I was willing.

Why did I cross to the dark side and stopped buying paper books? I think this is easy to guess, dear readers, I am still an avid reader  but I have more books than shelf space  and that’s the sad truth.

And you, are you like me or do you still  prefer paperbooks? If you prefer e-books, then I’m sure you’ll find this site very interesting

English E-Books  has been created to help people learn English  by reading adapted books – one of the best and interesting ways to increase your vocabulary. Here you can find English ebooks of different levels, from elementary to advanced  in epub, mobi, fb2, rtf and txt formats and very often you can also download the audiobook.

In Exam Mode? Check Out These Two Sites for Listening and Reading

Yes, we are all in exam mode. Classes are finished and it’s time for a final effort.

In this post, I want to  … Hold on!!… Noo, it’s more like  I need to share these two sites with you. You see, I say” I need” because I really want all of you to pass your exams. There is nothing less frustrating for a teacher than having to fail a student who has been attending classes all throughout the year.

And this is the reason why I am posting at 11.00 pm, after having just arrived from work. ( you can bring me flowers once you’ve passed with flying colours)

♥LISTENING. The first link is for practising Listening and it was kindly shared with me by one of my students. Thanks a lot, Maite! offers different exercises to practise all four skills, though I especially recommend it to do Listening Comprehension. On the right, you’ll need to choose your level.

Choose KET for A1/2

Choose PET for B1

Choose FCE fo B1+ /B2

Choose CAE for B2/B2+

♥READING. This second website  Easy Reading is run by the British Council and it offers articles to read at three levels A2, B1 and B2 and interactive exercises to check your comprehension.

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Feeding your Own Newspaper with the News you Want to Read

Isn’t that what everybody would like? Isn’t it a good reason to read every day? In this post I am sharing with you a wonderful tool that is basically a newsreader with wonderful customizable features. The idea is to encourage students to read every day  the things they like to read about.

The benefits  of reading when  learning a language are many and  nobody can deny that. When you read you:

– acquire new vocabulary in a natural way

-learn to infer meanings

-learn to punctuate

-write better

-speak better

– learn  the grammar in context

We, as teachers, tend to ask our students to read mainly graded books or the texts in their textbook. We certainly feel confident  our students won’t be struggling to understand or won’t get demotivated because they cannot easily grasp the meaning of the words.

On the other hand, I firmly believe we need to show our students how to develop strategies to encourage autonomous learning. It is essential if we want our students to keep improving when the course finishes.

Whenever a student asks me, “Are there any compulsory books to read this term?” I never fail to remember the 50 or 60 books I had to read if I wanted to have a chance at passing some certain subjects at university. I used to be keen on reading but having to compulsorily read, I would say “swallow”  those books chosen by somebody else turned me, for some years, into someone who would refrain from  getting close to a bookshop, let alone a library.

For this reason, I never choose the books my students have to read. We go to the school library together and  choose the ones they find most appealing from their level section.  I encourage them to read regularly, every  day if possible, and not to use the dictionary every single time they don’t know a word, as this would discourage them. Instead, I ask them to try to guess the meaning  and only use the dictionary if it blocks comprehension or it appears frequently in the book.

Reading books is Ok, but what about magazines, blogs, newspapers… In this post, I would like  to share with  you   a tool  to motivate students to read every day and the key to motivation is READING WHAT THEY LIKE.

The tool I use is called FEEDLY . It ‘s for me the best way to organise and read my favourite sites on the Internet. It’s mainly a newsreader and it’s highly addictive. Everything on the same place with a very nice layout.  Imagine Feedly as a newspaper with only the news you are interested in. You feed Feedly with online sites that interest you.In this sense I recommend my students to feed it with a variety of sites including news, fashion, cooking, IT, learning languages …etc and why not, gossip.

Feedly is customizable and the only thing you need to do is Click on Add content, paste the url of the blog or site you want to have in your newspaper. Can I suggest you try adding this blog and this other one  🙂 to get started?




If you want to know more about how  Feedly works, here is a very visual tutorial here .

Are there any sites or blogs you would recommend? Please, let me know