Showing posts with label literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label literature. Show all posts

Study a Classic of Literature

Many great works of literature have been translated into other languages, but there is nothing quite as good as reading a book in the original language. In today's activity you are going to study a classic of English literature; 'The Old Man and The Sea' by Ernest Hemingway.

You are going to use a number of different tools to make this easier and more enjoyable.

  • First go to Wikipedia and find a summary of the plot. You can do this with most books, just by searching for the name in Wikipedia. Click on the link to see The Old Man and the Sea Plot.
  • Read through the plot, then watch this animated video of the story. It takes about 20 mins, so make sure you have time before you start.

  • Now that you know the plot and have seen the video you should be able to tackle the book.
  • You can read the complete book online at Google books The old man and the sea
  • The book is quite long to read, but you should now have a good grasp of the story. If you want to study the story in more depth you can find notes and analysis of the story at: SparkNotes - The old man and the sea
This is a good way you can try to read and understand more classics of English literature.
I hope you enjoy this classic story and find many more to read.
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Nik Peachey

50 Word Stories

Writing creative stories is a great way to practice your English and get the chance to use a wide range of vocabulary and different sentence forms. Creative writing can take a long time though.

In today's activity we look an idea from the DailyLit website. The challenge is to write a story in 50 words. No more no less. The story should still have a beginning a middle and an end.


  • If you are finding it difficult to start, you can find some great opening lines here to get your story started, just pick one. Story Starters
  • Try to write your own 50 word story. When you have finished you can post it to the DailyLit site. Just got to: and register for free. You just need to create your own username ans password.

I hope you enjoy writing your 50 word stories and post them to the site. Here can you can find 20+ more activities to improve your writing

Related links for teachers:

Nik Peachey

Listen to an American Story

If you want to develop your ability to hear and understand English, it's very important to listen to a range of different accents.

Today's activity comes from a website called Many Things that has large collection of North American short stories that you can listen to and read. This should give you plenty of practice at hearing and understanding different accents.


  • You can either listen to the story and read it on the web page, or you can download the story as an mp3 file and listen to it later.
  • There is now a regular jumping frog contest. You can watch this video and find out more about the Calaveras Jumping frog contest by watching this movie.

  • You can also learn more about the background to the story and its connection with the real event in this movie.

To find out more about Mark Twain and his work, take a look at this entry on Wikipedia: Mark Twain

I hope you enjoy this story. Come back tomorrow for more EFL ESL activities.

Related links for teachers:

Nik Peachey

Listen to a Good Book

Reading a variety of texts from fiction to non-fiction is great for developing your vocabulary, broadening your knowledge and of course developing your English. Much as I like to read, one of the great pleasures from my childhood was having someone read to me, so in today's activity you can share that pleasure using a website called PodioBooks.

This site has a wide selection of books which have been recorded. The recordings are clear and very high quality and you can listen without having to download them, or you can register on the site and get installments sent to you.

For this task I'm going to suggest two books, one for younger readers and another for teenagers or older, but you could also browse the site and make you own choice.

Task: For younger readers or the young at heart.

  • As the information says, the book is very different from the film. You may well have seen the film, and so as a listening task, try to spot differences between the book and the film.
  • If you haven't seen the film, the perhaps you would like to watch this clip and get some idea of the story.

Task: For teenage readers and older
  • Go to:
  • Here you will see some brief information about 'How to Succeed in Evil'. The book is described as,
    'Alternately dark and funny, this is a satire on corporate culture as well as the traditional comic book villain.'
  • As you listen to the book, try to make some notes about any examples of corporate greed or evil which are referred to.

I hope you enjoy these books and find the time to listen to many more. I also hope you enjoy the experience of having someone read to you.

Come back soon for more EFL ESL activities.

Related links for teachers:

Nik Peachey

5 Minutes of Daily Literature

Reading the classics of English literature is not only good for your reading skills and vocabulary development, but it can also help you learn about the culture and literature of the English speaking world and it can also be very enjoyable.

Today's task uses DailyLit a site that will supply you with 5 minutes of reading everyday for free. You just select a book and each day you will be emailed a 5 minute installment of the book.


  • You'll need to have an email address but you don't have to add any other information.
  • Once you have registered you'll get a confirmation to your email address. Click the link and then you'll be able to select a book. I recommend a book by Charles Dickens, select him from the list of popular authors.
  • Then select the book 'A Christmas Carol'.

  • Once you have done this you'll be able to decide what time each day you want your reading installment sent to your email address.
  • Once you have done that, agree to the terms and then click on 'Submit'. Then go back to your email account and you should have a message with a confirmation link. Click on it and then just wait for your first installment of the book to be delivered.

  • Each time you finish your five minutes of reading, you'll be able to either request another five minutes of the book or just wait until the next day.
  • Hope you enjoy the book. A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite books by Dickens and one of the best Christmas Ghost stories ever written. It's not too scary either. If you enjoy the book you can also get involved in a book forum and discuss the book with other visitors to the site.
I hope you enjoy it. Come back for more EFL ESL activities tomorrow.

Related links for teachers:

Nik Peachey