Read, listen & learn a littleEnglish

Your Own Book Shop for a Week- Read, listen and learn a little English!

By MichaelMaggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever dreamed of running a bookshop? You can have a go for a week at the Open Book Store in Wigton, Scotland. In fact, if you book a holiday at the self-catering flat on Airbnb, you also have to work for 40 hours in the bookshop downstairs. A week in the flat costs £150. You won’t get paid for working, but you can use your own creative ideas to sell books and gain valuable experience. Wigton is Scotland’s national book town and this new venture is attracting interest from all over the world.

Have a conversation:

Would you like to run or work in a Book shop? Why/ why not?                                                                                         

Listen below or listen on i-tunes here

Read by Helen Mitchell (from Lancashire, England)

Study the words

running- managing

have a go- try

gain- obtain

self-catering flat- a holiday apartment with a kitchen

venture- project


Spend an Evening in Prison- Read, listen and learn a little English!


Few people would choose a prison as the location for a special evening out. However, Italy has launched its first restaurant to be located in a real jail.  At the Ingalera Restaurant in Bollate prison, Milan, there are four prisoners working as waiters and five others cooking in the kitchen, headed by a professional chef and a maître. It is a ground-breaking project, which allows prisoners to be gradually included into society. The reataurant has had great reviews: everyone says the food is worth going to prison for.

Have a Conversation:

Have you ever been inside a prison?

Would you like to try this restaurant?

Listen below or listen on i-tunes here

Read by Ines Reynoso (from Mexico).

Study the words

Few- not many
Lauched- started
Jail- prison
Waiters- people who serve in a restaurant
Headed- led
ground-breaking- innovative
gradually- slowly
reviews- evaluations by customers
worth going to prison for- so good that you don’t mind going to prison
Read about this story in The New York Times

Female Elephants Need their Grannies- Read, listen and learn a little English!

Grannies are very important for female elephants. A Behavioural Psychologist at the University of Stirling has been studying elephant herds in Kenya for decades. Her studies have found that the survival of female elephants and their success at reproducing is helped not only by having a mum but also by having a grandma. Female elephants support each other and protect and care for calves as a group and the grandmothers play an important role.  Elephants and girls should never forget their gran.

Have a conversation:

What do you know about elephants?

Do you think grandmothers are important for girls?  Why?                                                                                              

Listen below or listen on i-tunes here

Read by Annette (Scottish accent)

Study the words

grannies- grandmothers (informal)

female- girls/women (not male)

herds- groups of animals

decade- ten years

reproducing- giving birth

calves- baby elephants

gran- grandmother

Leo Has Won at Last – Read, listen and learn a little English!

By Christopher William Adach from London, UK

Leonardo DiCaprio has finally won his first Oscar after six nominations. DiCaprio received a standing ovation as he picked up the award for his role in The Revenant. He said the film was “about man’s relationship to the natural world”. He used the opportunity to raise awareness about climate change, a subject he is passionate about. “Climate change is real – it is happening right now,” said DiCaprio. “It is the most urgent threat facing our species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” He added: “Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.”

It is 22 years since he was first nominated for an Academy Award, as best supporting actor for the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Have a conversation:

Which Leonardo Dicaprio movies have you seen?

Which was your favourite?

What do you know about Leonardo Dicaprio?

What do you think about climate change?

Listen below or listen on i-tunes here

Read by Annette (Scottish accent).

Study the words

Picked up- collected
Raise awareness- inform people
Threat- danger
Take for granted- fail to appreciate
Supporting actor- actor not in the leading role

Be Happy with Less Stuff – Read, listen and learn a little English!

A recent survey by the National Association of Professional Organizers reveals that 54% of Americans feel overwhelmed by clutter and 78% have no idea what to do with it. According to psychologists, people accumulate things because they are unhappy but having too many posessions brings stress and more unhappiness. Minimalists say you can live better if you focus only on what’s really important and get rid of your excess stuff. You can donate things you don’t need to charity. Minimalism is not new. Some of the ancient Greek philosophers were advocates, as were Mahatma Gandhi and Leo Tolstoy. There may be more joy in owning less than in constantly accumulating more.

Do you have too much clutter?

Would you like to get rid of it?

New: Conversation Class & resources 

Listen below

Read by Christine Leedy (U.S. accent).

Study the words

Reveals- shows
Overwhelmed- inundated (when there is too much of something)
Clutter- a lot of useless objects
Accumulate- collect
Get rid of- give or throw away
Stuff- things
Donate- give away for free
Advocates- supporters
Joy- happiness

Recipe for a perfect conversation Class (FREE!)

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Download the Takeaway Test Be happy with less stuff

Don’t Set Goals: Use Systems – Read, listen and learn a little English!

Have you already set your goals for the New Year? Do you want to lose 10 kilos, run a marathon or speak fluent English? Some experts believe that you need systems, not goals. A system is something you do on a regular basis. This means focusing on what you can control (your actions) rather than what you can’t (the unpredictable). For example, don’t focus on losing 10 kilos, focus on shopping for healthy food and cooking something light every day. Don’t focus on the marathon; focus on the training schedule. Invent a system to improve your English, one step at a time. Good luck!   

Do you usually set goals?

What are your goals for the New Year?

Do you think you need a system?

What regular actions are important to improve your English?

New: Conversation Class & resources 

Listen below

Read by Annette (Scottish accent).

Study the words

Set your goals- identify your aims, objectives
On a regular basis- every day/ every week
Rather than- instead of
One step at a time- gradually

Recipe for a perfect conversation Class (FREE!)

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Stressed Workers Pay to talk – Read, listen and learn a little English!

Workers in Australia, have a new hotline they can call when they feel stressed and overworked.   The new counselling service, called Talk2Me, will charge its users $2,97 per minute to talk to a counsellor who promises to “just listen” to their work complaints.  Of course, the service offers more than just a friendly ear: the counsellors have special skills.   It’s not the same as  just talking to a friend.  For one thing,  they do not interrupt with their own tales.  Just make sure you don’t talk for too long, otherwise you could end up more stressed when you get the bill.  Would you use this service?                                                                


Listen below

Read by Tina (Australian accent).

Study the words

Hotline- telephone service
Stressed- under stress
Overworked- working too much
Launched- started
Charge- ask for payment
Complaints- problems, criticisms
End up- become (in the end)
Bill- invoice
Friendly ear- a kind person to listen to you
Skills- abilities
Tales- stories



Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to i-tunes podcast) here

Do the takeaway test: Stressed Workers pay to talk


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