24 January 2016

Why run for president?

The next U.S. President will be elected in November, 2016. But the race is already packed with candidates. There are more than two dozen major candidates who are seeking the job as president. Running for president is difficult and exhausting, so why would so many people want to run? There are many reasons, both legitimate and delusional. Without an incumbent president, a lot of people think they have a chance to win this election. Some candidates hope to bring attention to their message and some to cash in on their new celebrity. Listen to hear about this race and the reasons so many people are running for President this year.
Listening Comprehension Questions: 

  •  How many people are running for President?
  •  What are the reasons this Presidential race has so many candidates? 
  •  What do candidates hope to gain by running? 
  •  How are candidates able to push an agenda?

21 January 2016


This animated short about literacy introduces us to Meena, a young girl who hates books even though her parents love to read. Books are everywhere in Meena's house, in cupboards, drawers and even piled up on the stairs. Still, she refuses to even open one up...


PD James is one of Britain's most admired and best loved writers. Long considered the queen of crime and the doyenne of detective novelists, she has a large readership beyond the confines of the genre. In this interview with Jennifer Byrne, PD James discusses her amazing career and her two big interests - the detective novel and Jane Austen.

20 January 2016

Sir David Attenborough: an interview with the Wellcome Trust

In the time that Sir David Attenborough has been making natural history programmes, the world's population has tripled. In this short film, he explains why he thinks this rapid growth is the source of the major environmental problems facing each one of us today. While environmental change manifests itself in different ways in different parts of the globe, Sir David argues that the major issues -- including how to produce enough power to support the population, and ensuring everyone has access to clean water and sanitation -- affect us all.

Sir David concludes with his thoughts on the Wellcome Trust, an organisation that has as one of its five research challenges 'Connecting environment, nutrition and health'. By committing to this research in this area, the Trust will explore what role it can play in helping to relieve the strain that our planet is under, be it related to food and nutrition, water or the health impacts of climate change

18 January 2016

Sean Penn breaks his silence on controversial "El Chapo" meeting

The actor is speaking out about his secret trip to Mexico to meet notorious drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Mexico recaptured the cartel leader a week ago. Penn made headlines the following day when Rolling Stone published his account of visiting the kingpin in hiding last October. In an interview for this Sunday's “60 Minutes,” Penn spoke to “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose in Santa Monica to talk about his seven hours with Guzman.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States honouring the achievements of Martin Luther King, Jr. - the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement to end racial segregation. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is close to January 15, the King's birthday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most influential of African American civil rights leaders during the 1960s, he was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
The bill established the holiday was signed by the President Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1983. The first observance nationwide was in 1986, but some states opposed to observe it as a paid holiday for state employees. As of the year 2000 all of the states officially recognize the holiday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the only three people who have national holidays in the USA, the other two are Christopher Columbus and George Washington.

New MLK Recording Discovered 
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a famous speech at the March on Washington in 1963, known as the "I Have A Dream" speech. The year before, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech in Rocky Mount, N.C that anticipated the famous speech. A recording of the first known version of the "I Have A Dream" speech was recently discovered by a professor at North Carolina State. Listen to hear about this speech and the memories of someone who heard it first as a high school student in 1962. MLK’s Son
 On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we remember this icon through the eyes of his eldest son, Martin Luther King III. From childhood memories of a segregated amusement park to forging his own path while honoring his father’s legacy. This public radio story features audio from the civil rights era and Martin Luther King III himself.

14 January 2016


These are some more examples of six-word stories:
Chainsmoking Scot, made living from death
Andrew McKie, Telegraph obituaries editor
Five novels; two kids; insufficient sex
Louise Doughty, novelist
Everyone who loved me is dead
Ellen Fanning
Fifteen years since last professional haircut
Dave Eggers, novelist
I like big butts; can't lie
Dave Russ
They attacked, we survived; let's eat
Charles Hollander
Can that really be the time?
Alex Clark, deputy editor, Granta
We're bound to meet again soon
Christopher Howse, Sacred Mysteries columnist
Bad brakes discovered at high speed
Johan Baumeister
Foetus, son, brother, husband, father, vegetable
Dick Hadfield
Liars! Hysterectomy didn't improve sex life
Joan Rivers, comedienne
I am trying, in every regard
Lionel Shriver, novelist
Fancied self as haiku. Was clerihew
Sam Leith, Telegraph literary editor
Still breathing, too early to tell
Simon Heffer, Telegraph columnist
Bad reputation, such a good girl
Erin Oldroyd
I still make coffee for two
Zak Nelson
Fourteen years old; story still untold
David Gidwani
Wasn't born a redhead; fixed that
Andie Grace
Kissed the boys, made them cry
Bryony Gordon, Telegraph columnist
Scored way too many own goals
Jim White, Telegraph writer

12 January 2016

The most important English Proverbs

What are proverbs?

Every culture has a collection of wise sayings that offer advice about how to live your life. These sayings are called "proverbs".

How can you use proverbs to learn English?

It's good to know the really common English proverbs because you hear them come up in conversation all the time. Sometimes people say the entire proverb to give advice to a friend. More often, someone will say just part of a proverb like this:

You know what they say: when the going gets tough...
(Read #5 below to learn the rest of this proverb and what it means.)

Learning proverbs can also help you to understand the way that people in English-speaking cultures think about the world.
Proverbs can also give you good example sentences which you can memorize and use as models for building your own sentences.
This is a list of some of the most important and well-known English proverbs. Below each one, there's a simple explanation.
The meanings of some of these phrases have shifted over the years, so a proverb might have originally had a different meaning than the one I explain. READ MORE...