Interactive English: Reception

Reading and Listening

Critical Reading

In order to comprehend and retain information, it is important to be active while reading or listening. In the next class we will practice one way of actively reading: critically reading. To practice a bit of critical thinking, please choose one of the quotes from below and in the comments please tell us what it means to you and your opinion of the quote.

1. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt ~ Bertrand Russell

2. The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human. ~ Aldous Huxley

3. Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in their readiness to doubt. ~ H. L. Mencken

4. It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

5. The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

*Readings and questions are due on 10/27 – so this week start looking for an interesting reading!


Magazine Articles


One of the activities next week will include summarizing and skimming four short magazine articles. Look at all four titles below. Choose one, think about it, then in the comments tell us what kind of information you think we might see OR what background information you already know.

Article 1: “What’s in a Name: South Australia”

Article 2: “Lost Youth: Middle East Urban Affairs”

Article 3: “War Reporters”

Article 4: “Book Truck: Tokyo”

Also, these vocabulary words will be important next week: regional identity, to quadruple, informal accommodation, shelter deprivation, mass transit, a hundred square meters, a target customer


Final Class


For the last lesson, we will go over our Achievement Checks together.

Please remember to do the Readings/Questions titled “Work From Home?”

See you on July 7th!

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Achievement Check 2

On June 30th we have our second Achievement Check. During the check we will listen to a radio program from the series called This American Life. This radio series tells true stories that are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always unique and interesting. The story we will listen to is about a woman named Sandra who finds out a very surprising and kind of funny secret about her strict father.

The reading for the check is an article from the music magazine Spin. It is written by a 45-year-old reporter who goes to a Goth music festival.

In the comments, please answer ONE of the questions:

1) What do you think Sandra’s father’s secret might be?

2) What do you think the reporter will write about the Goth music festival?


Listening to Fiction


In the next class we will listen to an author read a short story by another author that influenced him. After he reads the story, we will listen the fiction editor of the New Yorker, Deborah Treisman, interview him. Have a look around the New Yorker Fiction website HERE and in our class blog comments, tell us something you find.

These vocabulary words will be important: the theme of a story, a story based on someone’s life, autobiography, “puppy love”, “hero worship”, ironic, impermanence


Speed Reading

We are going to practice speed reading in the next class. Please watch this VIDEO then, in the comments, tell us something you learned.

These vocabulary words will be important: to eliminate, to skip something, a block of words, comprehension


Longer Listenings

In the next class we will listen to an episode of the podcast called Budacast. It is a podcast made by an American man living in Budapest, Hungary. Check out the wikitravel website for Hungary HERE and in the comments tell us something interesting you find.

Also, these words will be important: a podcast, Budapest, Hungary, an eggplant



In the next class we will practice the skill of predicting. This will help prepare your schemata and provide information with which to check your comprehension. Please read the passage below then in the comments predict what you think will happen in the story.

“Dear ____,

I’m here at my uncle Tommy’s beach house. It’s about nine o’clock at night. I’m upstairs, by myself. I’ve got my pen, my spiral notebook… I don’t know how to start. I don’t even know if I can do this. But I will try. It can’t make anything worse… Outside it’s raining and dark…”


Also, these vocabulary words will be important: to make a prediction, comprehension, the plot of a story, the tone of a story

While you read this week’s reading and questions, you can listen to the song by clicking HERE.


“Fat and Thin”

In the next class, we will listen to and read a short story called “Fat and Thin” by one of the world’s greatest short story writers, Anton Chekhov. In the story, which is set in Russia in 1883, two friends from childhood unexpectedly meet at a train station after many years of not seeing each other. Choose ONE question from below and answer it in the comments.

1. How will the friends react at first?

2. What will they talk about?

3. How do you think they have changed since childhood?

4. What will happen at the end?

5. This is a Russian story from over 130 years ago. What kind of cultural references or old-fashioned terms might we hear?


*These words will be important in the lesson: unexpectedly, to predict / a prediction, socio-economic



Achievement Check 1



On May 19th we have our first Achievement Check. The word “paprika” will be important for the listening and the word “Twitter” will be important for the reading. Think about these words and in the comments please share what you think we might listen to and read about.