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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


A Scottish PE teacher has invented a new fitness craze, which is rapidly catching on. The Highland Hustle is a mix of Scottish Highland dancing, ceilidh steps and muscle toning exercises.   Of course, it is also accompanied by fast funky music. At present, there is only one class, in Scotland, but there are several workout videos that can be downloaded from the official website. The routines, which last just half an hour, are designed for busy people with any fitness level. The workout promises to improve your level of fitness, but it will not teach you to be a highland dancer.

Would you like to try this workout?



Listen below

Read by Elizabeth (Scottish accent)

Study the words

PE- physical education
Craze- obsession, trend
Catching on- becoming popular
Ceilidh steps- dance steps typical of a traditional Scottish social event
Muscle toning- makes the body firmer
Funky- rhythmic
Workout- exercise routine
Downloaded- transferred to your computer
Last- have a duration of

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

Do the takeaway test: Let’s all do the Highland Hustle



A woman accidentally deleted every digital photo she had ever taken. Amy Molloy lost 2,600 pictures, including those of her late husband. It happened when she transferred her pictures from her ex boyfriend’s laptop to a hard disc. She only discovered months later that the disc was empty. By that time, her ex had deleted all of the original pictures. Surprisingly, she was not totally devastated. In fact, she thinks that looking at old photos can keep us stuck in the past. In the days before digital cameras, photographs naturally aged, faded and wrinkled, just like people, and Amy thinks that maybe it’s better that way.

How would you feel if you lost all of your photos?


Listen below

Read by Angelica Pegoraro (U.S accent)

Study the words

Accidentally- by mistake
Late- dead, passed away
Laptop- portable computer
Devastated- desperately sad
Stuck- trapped, unable to move
Aged- became old
Faded- lost colour
Wrinkled- became crumpled, not smooth

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

Do the takeaway test: Woman accidentally deletes a lifetime of photos.

Original article from the Guardian


Image: Wikepedia

The city of Salzburg has refused to renew a licence for a silent disco after complaints that it was too loud and wild. At a silent disco people listen to music on wireless headphones, broadcast via a radio transmitter. If you don’t have headphones, it just looks like a room full of people dancing to no music. However the Mayor of Salzburg, Heinz Schaden, said it was still too loud for residents who like to sleep with their windows open in summer. They are upset about young people coming and going, late at night.  If the city refuses to renew the licence, the owner says he will organise a “silent demonstration”.

Do you agree with the Mayor?


Listen below

Read by Tina Williamson (Australian accent)

Study the words

Licence- permit
Complaints- individual protests
Loud- noisy
Wild- crazy, with a lot of activity going on
Wireless- without wires or cables
Broadcast- transmitted
Upset- annoyed
Owner- the proprietor of the disco
Demonstration- a group protest

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

Do the takeaway test: Silent Disco is too loud for Salzburg

Original article from The Local, Germany

 Screenshot 2014-04-11 21.20.36

Traditionally, authors use words to create emotions in their readers. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a new ‘wearable’ book to enhance this experience. It allows the reader to feel the protagonist’s emotions physically. Using a combination of sensors, the book triggers vibration patterns through a special vest. The vest also contains a personal heating device to change skin temperature and airbags, which tighten or loosen it. It’s the first ever book that can give the reader a virtual hug.

Do you need a hug from a book?


Listen below

Annette (Scottish accent)

Study the words

Wearable- that can be worn
Enhance- to make something more pleasant
Protagonist- main character
Trigger- to activate
Tighten- to constrict
Loosen- to relax
Hug- embrace

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

Do the takeaway test: Wearable Books

English: Pancake in frying pan.

English: Pancake in frying pan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Happy Egg Co, which specializes in free-range eggs, has invented an automatic pancake machine just in time for Shrove Tuesday.  The device consists of a range of household objects including an old gramophone, an electric mixer and, of course, a frying pan.  The process starts when the hen lays an egg.  The egg is then carried along a conveyor belt.  Next, it is cracked open and mixed with the other ingredients.  Finally, the mixture is poured into the pan, cooked and flipped onto a plate.   The device is not for sale: it’s going to be exhibited at London’s Design Museum in the near future. In any case, pancakes are fun and easy to make by hand.

Do you know how to make pancakes?  You can find out here and download a recipe.


Read by Elizabeth Wyke (English Accent)

Study the words

free-range– from animals which are not kept in cages
household– domestic
gramophone– old-fashioned record player
mixer– machine used for combining ingredients
frying pan– flat-bottomed pan used for frying food
lays– produces
carried– taken
conveyor belt–  moving platform
cracked– broken
poured– dispensed
flipped– quickly thrown
device–  machine
exhibited– displayed
in the near future– soon

Do the takeaway test: The Automatic Pancake Machine

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to itunes podcast) here

The internet is rife with cat videos.  Now another feline has become an internet sensation.  This time, the amazing pet can do a typical magic trick – to guess which cup contains a bell, even after they are mixed up at top speed.  We have seen cats that play the piano, surprised cats, fat cats, talking cats and even cats with i-pads.  Dogs, however, are catching up.  They can do tricks too, like walking on two legs and playing dead.  The latest star is a clever dog that taught a puppy how to go safely down the stairs.  There’s no doubt that both cats and dogs are clever and cute, and maybe sometimes we prefer them to people.

What’s your favourite cat or dog video?


Read by  Annette (Scottish Accent)

Study the words

Rife– very common, numerous
Sensation– star
Magic trick– playful deception
Guess– deduce
Mixed up– placed in a different order
At top speed– very quickly
Catching up– reaching the same level
Playing dead– pretending to die
Puppy– young dog
Doubt– uncertainty
Cute– sweet, adorable 

Do the takeaway test: Cats and Dogs Online

Listen on audioboo (and subscribe to itunes podcast) here

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