Unsupported Browser

ESL Library may not function properly in Internet Explorer. We recommend using Google Chrome or Firefox instead.

Unsupported Browser

ESL Library may not function properly in older browsers. We recommend updating yours to the latest version for the best experience.


True Grammar Stories: Designed for Blended Learning

July 30, 2020

We’ve launched a new reading section for low-level readers! True Grammar Stories is a blended-learning section with extra digital-only activities that you can assign for homework and online class work. The first five low-intermediate lessons (15 stories) are now available, and some beginner-level lessons are coming soon. Most of these stories are suitable for all ages, but please preview the stories to make sure the content is suitable for the age group and level you teach.

Printable Lessons

The printable versions of these lessons include:

  • 3 illustrated theme-based stories (e.g., friendship) per lesson focusing on a simple grammar tense or target (e.g., simple past tense)
  • 3 downloadable audio recordings of the stories
  • 3 comprehension question sets

Screenshot of 2 pages from Simple Past – Friendship (Dan and Norah)

Digital Lessons

The digital versions of these lessons (requires Plus plan) include:

  • warm-up questions that cover the related theme of the stories
  • vocabulary preview and review tasks for each story (Vocabulary Preview A goes with Story A, etc.)
  • grammar preview and/or review tasks for each story
  • a read and listen task for each story (free for Standard plan users)
  • a comprehension task for each story
  • discussion questions that cover the theme

You do not need to assign all of the stories and tasks in a lesson. Only the final Discussion set in each digital lesson requires knowledge of all three stories. The suggested teaching order follows the same order as the digital tasks.

Screenshot of a digital task from Simple Past – Friendship

Screenshot of a digital task from Simple Present – Indigenous People

Grammar Review Videos

For your convenience, we’ve added some grammar videos to this section to help you review or introduce the grammar target. We’ll be adding more videos as we add more stories on new targets.

Screenshot of a grammar video task

Teaching Tips

We recognize that every teaching scenario is different, especially during a pandemic! Here are some tips for using True Grammar Stories in different teaching scenarios.

Blended Learning Classes (requires Plus subscription)

  1. Choose a target or theme that you want to cover with your class (e.g., Simple Past). Introduce the target by broadcasting or assigning a grammar review video to your students. You can also use a lesson from our Grammar Practice Worksheets or Fun Grammar Lessons to introduce and practice the target. If you prefer to introduce the target by having your students read it in context, you can also teach or review the target later with a related grammar video or lesson.
  2. Choose the True Grammar Stories lesson you want to try. You can begin your live (online or traditional) class with the Warm-Up questions from the digital task.
  3. Next, have your students preview the vocabulary from the reading. You can do the digital Vocabulary Preview task together as a live class or you can assign it for homework.
  4. Some lessons also have a Grammar Preview task. Your students can demonstrate their knowledge of the target at this point.
  5. Many students will enjoy having a paper version of the actual stories. You can print the story and comprehension set and hand it out (or email it if you’re teaching online and your students want to print it out). You can also download or stream the audio. After you read the story out loud (or play the recording), have your students take turns reading it. Challenge them to spot the target in the reading. You may want to assign Story A, B, and C for homework so that your students have a digital reference too.
  6. You can assign the Comprehension questions for homework. Some students will prefer to do these questions on paper. You can also put students in groups for this task or do it orally if your students need more spoken practice than written practice. You can type digital feedback and ratings or ask students to submit their paper versions for marking. Take note of common errors your students are making so that you can go over them in your live class. You can also take these questions up in a live class together to give your students more practice using the target.
  7. The digital Grammar Practice tasks can also be assigned for homework or individual class work. You may want to use these follow-up tasks for assessment purposes.
  8. After reading all three stories and doing all of the tasks, have a class discussion using the digital Discussion task. Alternatively, use this task for additional written practice. This task can be used for assessment as well.

One-to-One Classes

If you’re teaching one-to-one, you can teach in a similar way as you would for a blended-learning class. The one-on-one attention will help your student master the target and learn a lot of new words.

  1. When you see your student face-to-face, give your student a chance to read the stories out loud. Focus on any pronunciation problems your student has.
  2. If your student shows an interest in one of the themes, look for other readings and lessons that you can work on together using the same topic.
  3. You may want to assign the Vocabulary Preview and Grammar Preview/Practice tasks for homework. Encourage your student to keep a word bank of new words.
  4. The Comprehension sets can be worked on orally and/or in written form together using the digital or printable versions. Help your student find his/her written errors, but focus mainly on the grammar target from the story.
  5. Challenge your student to make and share personal connections with the stories.
  6. Search for related ESL Library lessons on the same grammar target if your student needs more practice. Consult our Teaching Order reference to find out which targets to focus on next.

Traditional Paper-Based Classes

The meat of our True Grammar Stories lessons is available in the print-only versions.

  1. Read the stories together one by one and make sure your students understand the key (bold) vocabulary from each story. Students can also take turns reading the stories out loud in small groups or as a class.
  2. While reading, have your students circle the grammar target every time they see it in context.
  3. For grammar review, your students can use the target orally and in written form by answering the comprehension questions.
  4. If you want to practice listening comprehension, play the audio (download or stream in class) and give your students the question sets only. You can also wait a few days after doing the reading and then play the audio and hand out the questions.
  5. If you want to extend the learning without the digital tasks, you can create your own vocabulary review, warm-up, and review tasks to do with your class (preview our digital tasks for inspiration). You can also challenge your students to write their own stories using the same theme and target.
Not an ESL Library member?

Get unlimited access to 1,000+ lessons and 3,000+ flashcards.

Sign Up

Comments (9)

Silvia G.(Teacher)

Excellent material! I'll definitely try them, thanks a lot!

Reply to Comment

Tammy W.(ESL Library Staff)

So glad you're excited about them. Let us know if you've tried them by now, Silvia :)

Darla H.(Teacher)

I would like to see some true grammar stories in the high intermediate to advanced levels. Thank you!

Reply to Comment

Tammy W.(ESL Library Staff)

Hi Darla,

I'm so happy you are finding these valuable. I'll pass along your comment to Tara and let her know you'd like to see some higher-level materials in the same vein!

Happy teaching :)

John O.(Teacher)

Great work! Thank you so much.

Reply to Comment

Giovana N.(Teacher)

Excellent material! I have a suggestion, maybe we can make a Simple Past & Present Simple material. My brazilian students have trouble differentiating these tenses so it would be really helpful!

Reply to Comment

Tara Benwell(Author)

Hi, Giovana. We're happy to hear that you like this section. Thanks for the request. We'll add this to our to-do list!

Reply to Comment

Behnaz A.(Teacher)

Great lesson! My students really enjoyed it.

Reply to Comment

Lei Kayanuma(Author)

Thanks, Behnaz! We're happy to hear that!

Leave a Comment

Log In to Comment Reply

Comment Reply as a Guest
  • **bold**_italics_> quote

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Thinking of joining ESL Library?

    Complete this form to create an account and stay up to date on all the happenings here at ESL Library.