King of the Pumpkins
25

"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.

Two Peas in a Pod
17

Edie and Evie are identical twins. Identical in appearance, but their personalities are not at all identical. Things get very weird when one of them pretends to be the other...

Poetry as a Foreign Language
5

In this poem by Mike Ramsden the author says that he is in a big hall with a crowd of people who are standing and clapping. Sometimes understanding is not just about linguistics…

Stories: Elephants, bananas...
150

I looked at my watch and saw that it was going backwards. “That’s OK” I was thinking. “If my watch is going backwards, then it means that it’s early, so I’m not late for work at all…” and then I woke up. Again.

Mountain Fable
8

In this fable – written by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, poet, and leader of the Transcendentalist movement – a squirrel and a mountain have an argument!

Stories: Scarlett
380

Scarlett is twelve years old and is trying to understand the world around her. She asks questions about everything, all the time. She also says that she already knows five languages…

Address to the Haggis
6

This famous poem by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns is regularly recited during celebrations throughout the world, whenever Haggis makes an appearance on the menu.

Stories: The broken mirror ...
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: The Interesting Most Boring Man in the World
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.

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.

a bunch of daffodils
53

'…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.

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
4

"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.

Quotes about the United Kingdom
7

Read what young people in countries around the world think about the United Kingdom. Compare their opinions, work with the vocabulary and let us know what you think about the UK.

Story: April Fool's Day
45

Danny Applewhite was developing into a rather arrogant young man. He was among the top five achievers at his school, but would he be smart enough to avoid being a fool on April 1st?  

Poem: The Tay Bridge Disaster
3

"Alas! I am very sorry to say | That ninety lives have been taken away". Lines from the most famous poem from William Topaz McGonagall, who is regarded as one of the worst poets in the English language!  

The Birth of a Star
16

Henry is an astronomer. He is very excited because he thinks he might have discovered the beginning of a new star. But then he gets even more exciting news... he's going to be a father!

The Golden Boys
40

Mr and Mrs Hamilton had two sons, Richard and Philip, who were both taller and friendlier than me. My parents liked them a lot. “Why can’t you be more like Richard and Philip?” I hated them.

No
4
No

Thomas Hood wrote at the start of the nineteenth century, but he sounds surprisingly modern. In this poem, Hood takes a look at winter in a cold, urban climate, expressed with a nice sense of humour.

The Stone Cutter
5

Once upon a time there was a stone cutter who set out to become the most powerful thing in the land. This fascinating tale from Asian mythology has a very powerful message.

Poems: English Lesson
60

"We are doing Chapter 6: Hobbies, I like doing..." Robert Seatter has been an English teacher, an actor and a journalist. This poem takes us into part of an English lesson for adult learners.

Climbing equipment
12

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

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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