King of the Pumpkins
23

"Deep in the middle of the woods”, said my mother, “is the place where the King of the Pumpkins lives." A young boy and his cat try and find out what - if anything - is true about his mother's stories.

A Wall in Naples
12

This poem by Andrew Motion was inspired by a Thomas Jones painting in London's National Gallery in which Motion reflects upon the enduring value of artistic creation.

A Game of Go
42

Two people sit down to play a game. One is an old man who has spent all of his life playing this game, which is called Go. The other is a young woman. She has only been playing Go for three years.

The Bright Dresses
6

This poem is about teaching English and conveys powerful emotions through observation of small, almost banal details: shoes in shoe shops, bright dresses, the artificial language of an English lesson.

The Dinosaur in Jake's Garage
17

One morning, Jake found a dinosaur living in their garage. He went to tell his dad..

The Blind Boy
3

"O say what is that thing call'd Light, | Which I must ne'er enjoy"
In this short poem, Poet Laureate Colley Cibber describes the feelings of a boy who has never been able to see.

Fairy lights
98

Five people, whose lives interrelate, live the build-up to Christmas in different ways in different places. A sudden blackout changes their lives forever...

The Flatulence Tax
2

"Abandon the flock and abolish the herd". This funny poem explores what would happen if we stopped farming sheep and cattle and started cultivating beans instead!

Red dice
48

When James Milner lands a job in his uncle's bank he rides his luck for a while and even earns himself a huge bottle of vintage champagne for one transaction. But how long can his luck last?

The Sick Child
8

"O mother, lay your hand on my brow! | O mother, mother, where am I now?" In this sad little poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, a mother spends the night at her sick child's bedside.

a bunch of daffodils
52

'…That floats on high o'er vales and hills…' This famous poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was inspired by the spring flower, the yellow or golden daffodil.

To Autumn
4

Autumn (or "Fall" in American English) often arouses feelings of loss and melancholy. But to John Keats, we should celebrate the end of summer for the wonderful fruitfulness of nature about to decay.

A Visitor to The Star
24

Anna Winter pulled on her Gucci sunglasses and sprayed herself with extra-strength mosquito repellent. How could she be an award-winning journalist if she had to stay in bad hotels and eat bad food?

Three jokes
15

Have you heard the one about the chicken and the frog? How about the one about the firing squad? And the one about the parrot who didn't want to talk? See if you can 'tell' the jokes yourself.

Stories image
315

My friend is afraid of spiders. This isn’t very unusual; a lot of people are afraid of spiders. But my friend isn’t just afraid of spiders, she is totally, completely and utterly terrified of them….

A big fake nose and glasses
77

It is the 22nd century and the world is very different. With new technologies, people can have the bodies that they want. See what happens when Mr. Smith decides to change his body. 

Man holding camera
68

People often said that Thierry Boyle was the most boring man in the world. Thierry didn’t know why people thought he was so boring. Thierry thought he was quite interesting.

The Einstein and the Eddington
4

This nonsense poem was written by Dr. W. H. Williams for a faculty club dinner on the eve of the physicist Eddington's departure from Berkeley in 1924.

The Fix
7

The four judges must agree on who will win the four awards in the important Global Music Awards. But there is a problem. They must all agree on each winner. If they can’t all agree, nobody will win.

It wouldn't do
15

"But, She said, I suppose it wouldn't do For everyone to be the same now, Would it."

Climbing equipment
12

Have you ever done any extreme sports? Are you an adrenaline junkie? Read this story about one man facing his fear.

The White Room
13

This lovely short poem was written by a learner of English, Irene Soriano Flórez, a student at the British Institute for Young Learners in Madrid.

Stories image
79

Nikos was an ordinary man. One thing that he did not believe in was superstition. But when so many things that are meant to cause bad luck started bringing him good luck he began to wonder...

Town & Country
2

In 'Progress', Osbert Sitwell provides negative images of the city and conjures up fond memories of the country. In 'The City', Charles Hanson Towne does the opposite.

Stories image
59

Alberto took one look at his new neighbours and knew that his life was going to get more difficult. There they were, two of them, as big and as noisy as their car, and smelly and stupid as well.

Pages

Poems image
23

In this poem some words have been substituted by homophones - words with the same sound but different spelling. It proves that computer spelling checkers are not infallible!

A tree on a white background
34

"O you shaggy-headed banyan tree standing on the bank of the pond, have you forgotten the little child, like the birds that have nested in your branches and left you?"

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