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Listen&Learn: The Hobbit

22nd July 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • fantasy: a fiction genre that involves magic
  • protagonist: the main character of a story
  • recruit: to convince someone to help with an important task
  • quest: a journey to accomplish a specific goal
  • defeat: to beat someone in a battle
  • trilogy: a series made up of three books

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Hobbit is a classic fantasy children’s novel by English author J.R.R. Tolkien. The novel was published in 1937, and over 100 million copies have been sold since then. The protagonist of the book is named Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is a hobbit – a small, human-like that lives underground. One day, a wizard called Gandalf recruits Bilbo to go on a quest to find some valuable treasure. This treasure once belonged to a group of dwarves, who are determined to get it back. Together, Bilbo and Gandalf set out to help the dwarves find their treasure – but first they have to defeat Smaug, the dragon who guards it. Tolkien originally wrote this story for his own children, but it quickly became a huge . This inspired Tolkien to write a sequel trilogy: the famous Lord of the Rings , which takes place 60 years after the events of The Hobbit.

Comprehension questions

1. Bilbo Baggins is a

Correct! Wrong!

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit.

2. The treasure Bilbo and Gandalf are looking for originally belonged to

Correct! Wrong!

The treasure Bilbo and Gandalf are looking for originally belonged to the dwarves.

3. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings series because

Correct! Wrong!

J. R. R. Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings series because The Hobbit was extremely successful.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Many of the imaginary elements that Tolkien used in his books, such as wizards, dwarves, elves, and dragons, are common across the fantasy genre. Some fantasy books with similar elements (like the Harry Potter series) have been just as successful as Tolkien’s stories. Why do you think books with these themes are so popular?

Transcript

The Hobbit is a classic fantasy children’s novel written by English author J.R.R. Tolkien. The novel was published in 1937, and over 100 million copies have been sold since then. The protagonist of the book is named Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is a hobbit – a small, human-like creature that lives underground. One day, a wizard called Gandalf recruits Bilbo to go on a quest to find some valuable treasure. This treasure once belonged to a group of dwarves, who are determined to get it back. Together, Bilbo and Gandalf set out to help the dwarves find their treasure – but first they have to defeat Smaug, the powerful dragon who guards it. Tolkien originally wrote this story for his own children, but it quickly became a huge success. This inspired Tolkien to write a sequel trilogy: the famous Lord of the Rings series, which takes place 60 years after the events of The Hobbit.

Listen&Learn: The Library of Discarded Books

15th July 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • sanitation worker: a person whose job is to collect garbage
  • salvage: to save something before it is damaged, lost, or thrown away
  • discard: to get rid of an unwanted item
  • resident: someone who lives in a certain area
  • donate: to give something to a fund, charity, or other public cause
  • abandoned: deserted; left alone

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

In 2017, a of sanitation workers in Ankara, Turkey began to collect books that had been thrown away. Their goal was to create a small supply of books for other to borrow from. The workers would salvage any discarded books they found while collecting garbage, in order to make sure that other people would get to read them. While this collection began as a supply for the sanitation department’s workers, the story of the discarded books was brought to the attention of the . Soon, residents of Ankara began donating their books to the sanitation department’s collection, instead of throwing them away. As the once-small book collection started to grow, the sanitation workers decided to open a public made up of unwanted books. Today, this library is located in an abandoned brick factory, where there are now chairs and tables so that people can sit and read. It contains thousands of different books, both and non-fiction. In fact, the library has become so successful that schools in Ankara now borrow books from it to use as learning materials.

Comprehension questions

1. The people who originally started collecting books were

Correct! Wrong!

The people who originally started collecting books were sanitation workers.

2. The collection began as

Correct! Wrong!

The collection began as a supply of books for the workers to borrow from.

3. The library is now located in

Correct! Wrong!

The library is now located in an abandoned factory.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. What is the meaning of the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? How is this related to the article?

Transcript

In 2017, a group of sanitation workers in Ankara, Turkey began to collect books that had been thrown away. Their goal was to create a small supply of books for other employees to borrow from. The workers would salvage any discarded books they found while collecting garbage, in order to make sure that other people would get to read them. While this collection began as a supply for the sanitation department’s workers, the story of the discarded books was brought to the attention of the public. Soon, residents of Ankara began donating their books to the sanitation department’s collection, instead of throwing them away. As the once-small book collection started to grow, the sanitation workers decided to open a public library made up of unwanted books. Today, this library is located in an abandoned brick factory, where there are now chairs and tables so that people can sit and read. It contains thousands of different books, both fiction and non-fiction. In fact, the library has become so successful that schools in Ankara now borrow books from it to use as learning materials.

Listen&Learn: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

17th June 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • protagonist: the main character of a story
  • cyclone: a type of tropical storm
  • fantastical: strange and unrealistic; something out of a story
  • request: something that is asked for
  • quality: a trait or feature that someone has

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children’s novel written by American author L. Frank Baum. The story’s protagonist is a girl named Dorothy who lives in Kansas with her aunt, her uncle, and her dog. One day, a cyclone Dorothy’s house off to a magical land known as Oz – a place populated by witches, flying monkeys, and other fantastical creatures. Dorothy seeks the of a witch, who informs her that Oz is ruled by an all-powerful wizard who can send her back to Kansas. Eager to return home, Dorothy begins a journey to meet the wizard. On the way, she makes a few friends: a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion. Each one has a different request for the wizard – the scarecrow wishes for a brain, the tin man wishes for a heart, and the lion wishes for courage. The wizard, however, is not what they expected, and each character must gain the quality they wish for by finding it within themselves. Dorothy’s request is more , but with the help of a witch, she is eventually able to return home.

Comprehension questions

1. Dorothy lives with her aunt and uncle in

Correct! Wrong!

Dorothy lives with her aunt and uncle in Kansas.

2. The character who wishes for a heart is

Correct! Wrong!

The character who wishes for a heart is the tin man.

3. Dorothy returns home with the help of

Correct! Wrong!

Dorothy returns home with the help of a witch.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. What do you think the most important message is in this story? Why is that message important to have in a children’s book?

Transcript

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a classic children’s novel written by American author L. Frank Baum. The story’s protagonist is a girl named Dorothy who lives in Kansas with her aunt, her uncle, and her dog. One day, a cyclone carries Dorothy’s house off to a magical land known as Oz – a place populated by witches, flying monkeys, and other fantastical creatures. Dorothy seeks the advice of a witch, who informs her that Oz is ruled by an all-powerful wizard who can send her back to Kansas. Eager to return home, Dorothy begins a journey to meet the wizard. On the way, she makes a few unusual friends: a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion. Each one has a different request for the wizard – the scarecrow wishes for a brain, the tin man wishes for a heart, and the lion wishes for courage. The wizard, however, is not what they expected, and each character must gain the quality they wish for by finding it within themselves. Dorothy’s request is more complicated, but with the help of a witch, she is eventually able to return home.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

8th April 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • iconic: very famous, influential, and well-known
  • behead: to kill someone by cutting their head off
  • moral: a lesson included in a story
  • contrast: a difference between two things
  • adaptation: a movie or television show that is based on a book

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an iconic children’s novel by British Lewis Carroll. The story follows a young girl named Alice, who dreams about jumping down a rabbit hole and discovering a land. In this strange world, there are talking animals, cakes that can make Alice grow or shrink, and an evil queen who wants to behead her. The of Alice was based on a real girl named Alice Liddell, who Carroll originally told the story to. The book was published in 1865, and while children at the time loved the story, many adults were confused by it. At the time that the novel was published, most children’s books included morals. In contrast to this, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a fun story that had no clear , and that was why children it. Many adaptations of this book have been made, and the story is still loved by both children and adults today.

Comprehension questions

1. In Alice's dream, she discovers Wonderland after

Correct! Wrong!

In Alice's dream, she discovers Wonderland after jumping down a rabbit hole.

2. The character of Alice was

Correct! Wrong!

The character of Alice was based on a real girl.

3. Children loved the book because

Correct! Wrong!

Children loved the book because it was fun and had no clear meaning.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published over a century ago. Why do you think that the themes and characters of this book are still so widely known today?

Transcript

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an iconic children’s novel by British author Lewis Carroll. The story follows a young girl named Alice, who dreams about jumping down a rabbit hole and discovering a magical land. In this strange world, there are talking animals, cakes that can make Alice grow or shrink, and an evil queen who wants to behead her. The character of Alice was based on a real girl named Alice Liddell, who Carroll originally told the story to. The book was published in 1865, and while children at the time loved the story, many adults were confused by it. At the time that the novel was published, most children’s books included morals. In contrast to this, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a fun story that had no clear meaning, and that was why children enjoyed it. Many adaptations of this book have been made, and the story is still loved by both children and adults today.


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