for English language learners
Football History
Young Learners
Strange News
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Nov 2008
Feb 2009

lawn chair

I've just posted a new strange news story: man flies in a lawn chair. It's accompanied by a video and some activities and should be a lot of fun. One word of warning - the life story of the central character ends tragically with his suicide, which was largely unrelated to the events described.
I wasn't quite sure how to deal with this and a similar scenario in
Lightning Strikes. To ignore it (as I did with LS) seems disrespectful but so does a casual mention at the end. Advice welcomed.
I've also finished re-editing
Raining Cows, which now has an accompanying video news clip. I've switched to present tense narration for greater immediacy and ease of comprehension.

Let it snow

Big excitement in Bristol today - heaviest snow since 1963. Now weather-wise it's true that we're no Chicago. In fact three snowflakes counts as a blizzard around here. Perhaps that's why they've closed my college.

Not that I'm complaining.

Strange News

The Strange News/Did that really happen? section of the site is particularly suitable for classroom use. It's based on a series I wrote in 2007/8 for Ming Pao Daily and consists of short (200-400 word) articles on bizarre topics. A titles should give a flavour: $64 Million Trousers, Elevator Ordeal, Flying Monkey

Most of the stories are true or partly true. A few are invented. The initial hook is to reader try and spot the false stories, though the old adage about truth being stranger than fiction very much applies.

There are accompanying activities and some watching/listening activities.


Site of the Month Award

I am pleased to announce that ESL Reading has won the Site of the Month Award. is one of the most visited and respected ESL sites and it is an honour to join its distinguished roll of award winners.

Over the last few months I have been renovating the site and it is pleasing to know that this has been rewarded with increased traffic and this award. ESL Reading receives no subsidies or institutional support so any help is greatly appreciated.

You can support this site by a) using the ad links to make your normal purchases. b) sending me suggestions, comments and materials. I am happy to consider anything for publication (but not payment, alas!) c) pointing out broken links and other glitches. I do my best but it's difficult to spot everything.

Football History

I've not had time to add much material over the last year or so but I've recently made a few improvements. The World Cup History now comes with (very short!) video highlights of every tournament in the period covered 1930 - 1990. I'm currently adding more activities and exercises - please let me know of any of the more obvious mistakes, broken links.

Many boys love football more than reading and YouTube more than is sensible. I've tried to link up the materials with possible learning activities without getting to preachy about it.

The Beatles

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube I have been able to add video clips to most of the pages on The Beatles Story. I've also added a number of activities and made various other improvements.

Not exclusively aimed at language learners but plenty of materials of interest, I hope