Teach English with This Week in History

This Week in History

This Week in History is a fun and interesting reading that is updated every Monday at EnglishClub. You will find it from the EnglishClub homepage. ESL learners can read about a different event that occurred in history each week. These short readings can also be printed out and used to inspire a wide range of activities in the ESL classroom. Below you will see one example of "This Week in History", along with a number of ideas on how to use this resource as a basis for various games and skill-building lessons.

NB: to help in planning for future lessons, you can find the whole year of weekly events in the This Week in History archive.

Sample from first week of August


In 1930, the first FIFA World Cup Football (soccer) Championship was held in Uruguay, with the final match being played in the country's capital, Montevideo, between the host nation Uruguay and their South American neighbours Argentina. Uruguay trailed 2-1 at half-time, but scored 3 goals in the second half to win 4-2 and become the first World Champions. The FIFA World Cup is now held every 4 years and is one of the world's most popular sporting events, with the final match regularly watched by over 2 billion television viewers.


  1. Practise writing questions: Have students write as many wh-questions as they can based on the short reading. Put students in pairs and have them answer each other's questions without looking at the text.

    When was the first FIFA World Cup Championship held?
    Where was the final match of the 1930 World Cup held?
    Which teams played in the final match of the 1930 World Cup?
    What was the final score of the first World Cup?
    How often is the World Cup held?
    How many people watch the World Cup Final each year?
  2. Key word search: Ask students to choose one keyword from the reading and do online research on it. Depending whether or not your students require speaking or writing practice, the research can be presented orally or in a written report. The length and detail of the assignment can be based on the level of your students. This may be a good time to introduce the idea of plagiarism in essay writing. Teach students how to put sentences into their own words. You may even want to introduce how to properly cite references in English. Use this exercise to encourage students to use variety in sentence structure.

    Keyword: Montevideo
    Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay. It is located in the southern region. Almost half of the country lives in this city. Montevideo is a popular tourist destination. People from Argentina love to visit its beautiful beaches. Fishing is one of the most important industries in Montevideo.
  3. Pronunciation Practice: Choose three to five words from the text and write them on the board. Time students while they try to come up with as many rhyming words as they can. Turn the activity into a contest by splitting students into two groups. The group that comes up with the most rhyming words wins. Have each group share their rhyming words out loud. People from the other group can participate by putting up their hands when they think a word doesn't rhyme.

    "first": worst, thirst, burst
    "match": catch, patch, latch
    "half": laugh, calf
    "goals": bowls, rolls, holes
  4. Spelling Bee: Choose a list of ten words from the text and tell students there will be a spelling bee based on "This Week in History". Do not tell them which words to study or when the test will be. Students can practise quizzing each other in pairs.
  5. Hot Seat: Choose vocabulary from the text. Separate your class into two. One player from each group goes to the front of the class and faces away from the board. You write the word on the board and the other students have to define the word and try to get their player to guess it. The student who shouts the word first gets a point for her team.
  6. Grammar Search: Hand out copies of the text. Have students circle all of the verbs, box all of the nouns, underline all of the modifiers, etc. Take up the answers on the board.
  7. This Week in the Future: Have students choose 5 vocabulary words from the original text. Tell them they will use the words to write a new story about the future (for example, 100 years later than the original story).

    Vocabulary: trailed, host nation, capital, popular, regularly
    In 2030, the first human flying competition was held in England's capital city. People from 4 different countries participated in the event. The host nation won the competition. A 14-year-old British boy flew all the way from the London Zoo to Buckingham Palace in half an hour. The other flyers trailed behind by more than five minutes. Human flying was one of the most popular things for teens to do in England during this year. Students would regularly fly to and from school instead of taking the bus.
Monday Madness: Save yourself time and stress at the beginning of each week by starting Monday's class with this fun and simple resource. (NB: weekly update occurs at 00:01 hours GMT Mondays. You may need to refresh the page to get the latest story.)