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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 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.

Anne of Green Gables

13th May 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • classify: to put something into a certain category
  • fictional: created for the purpose of a story; not real
  • adopt: to take in and raise someone else’s child
  • imaginative: creative; having a big imagination
  • orphan: a child whose parents have died
  • inspire: to influence the creation of something

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Anne of Green Gables is a novel written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The novel was published in 1908, and is classified as children’s literature, though it is by people of all ages. The story is set on a farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, where Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert live. The siblings are hoping to adopt a young boy to help them out on the farm. Instead, they are given an imaginative orphan girl named Anne Shirley, who has never had a real home. After learning how Anne grew up, Matthew and Marilla feel sorry for her and decide to keep her. The story continues to follow Anne as she gets older and forms with other children in Avonlea. The book has sold over 50 million and has been translated into 36 languages. After writing Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery published seven additional books about Anne’s life. These novels have inspired several film and television adaptations, and Anne’s story is still loved by children and adults alike.

Comprehension questions

1. Matthew and Marilla originally wanted to adopt

Correct! Wrong!

Matthew and Marilla originally wanted to adopt a young boy.

2. Anne got to stay with Matthew and Marilla because

Correct! Wrong!

Anne got to stay with Matthew and Marilla because they heard how she'd grown up and felt sorry for her.

3. The book "Anne of Green Gables" sold

Correct! Wrong!

The book "Anne of Green Gables" sold 50 million copies.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Anne Shirley has been called “the dearest, most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice” by author Mark Twain. If you’ve read “Anne of Green Gables”, what do you think makes Anne so lovable?

Transcript

Anne of Green Gables is a classic novel written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The novel was published in 1908, and is classified as children’s literature, though it is enjoyed by people of all ages. The story is set on a farm in the fictional town of Avonlea, where siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert live. The siblings are hoping to adopt a young boy to help them out on the farm. Instead, they are given an imaginative orphan girl named Anne Shirley, who has never had a real home. After learning how Anne grew up, Matthew and Marilla feel sorry for her and decide to keep her. The story continues to follow Anne as she gets older and forms friendships with other children in Avonlea. The book has sold over 50 million copies and has been translated into 36 languages. After writing Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery published seven additional books about Anne’s life. These novels have inspired several film and television adaptations, and Anne’s story is still loved by children and adults alike.

Summary: Little Women

4th March 2020 by Jaksyn Peacock

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • publish: to release and sell a book to the public
  • volume: a book that is part of a series
  • accomplish: to achieve; to complete
  • expectations: beliefs about what certain people should and should not do
  • oppose: to be against a certain idea
  • independent: not controlled or told what to do, free to make one’s own decisions
  • adaptation: a film or book that is based on another original work

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

Little Women is a classic by author Louisa May Alcott. It was originally published in two volumes – the first in 1868, and the second in 1869. The story the lives of four sisters growing up in a poor house during the time of the American Civil War. The main is Jo, the second-oldest sister. She wants to become a writer, which is difficult for her to accomplish because of the expectations for women at the time. She spends most of the story opposed to the idea of love, as she wants to be independent and put her own first. The character of Jo is based on Louisa May Alcott herself. This book is still loved by many today, and a recent movie adaptation won several for the script, acting, costumes, and music.

Comprehension questions

1. The first volume of Little Women was published in

Correct! Wrong!

The first volume of Little Women was published in 1868.

2. Out of the four sisters, Jo is the

Correct! Wrong!

Out of the four sisters, Jo is the second-oldest.

3. Jo spends most of the story opposed to the idea of

Correct! Wrong!

Jo spends most of the story opposed to the idea of love.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. Books like Little Women are considered “classics” because they were published a long time ago, but the themes are still interesting and relevant today. Have you read any books that are considered “classics”? What did you think of them?

Transcript

Little Women is a classic novel by author Louisa May Alcott. It was originally published in two volumes – the first in 1868, and the second in 1869. The story follows the lives of four sisters growing up in a poor house during the time of the American Civil War. The main character is Jo, the second-oldest sister. She wants to become a writer, which is difficult for her to accomplish because of the expectations for women at the time. She spends most of the story opposed to the idea of love, as she wants to be independent and put her own career first. The character of Jo is based on Louisa May Alcott herself. This book is still loved by many today, and a recent movie adaptation won several awards for the script, acting, costumes, and music.


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