AwesomeStories: Lessons for an Advanced Level ESL Classroom

I have used AwesomeStories with my Advanced Level ESL students in place of a reading textbook, vocabulary textbook, humanities textbook and conversation textbook.  The site works as a reading textbook because the stories are written clearly and at the level my students need. Many of the stories have an audio accompaniment.  This helps students with reading fluidly and reinforces correct pronunciation.  With each story I used, I selected key vocabulary words and tied them to vocabulary lessons, writing exercises and quizzes.  Because the stories are based on primary sources and many are historical events, they relate to the study of human culture—a topic that is of great interest to Advanced Level ESL students.  Finally, each story is stimulating and encourages discussion, giving a voice to the students to help them advance in their English fluency.

After I select a story, I create a lesson plan that covers one to two weeks, depending upon interest, length and depth of the topic.  I pre-teach the story on Day 1, reading one or two pages of the story and key passages aloud for pronunciation practice.  Then I divide the remaining story by chapters, and assign two to three chapters (or pages) of reading per day. I create two types of reading assignments: in class reading assignments and homework reading assignments. In addition, I create a writing assignment, partner work activity, and discussion questions. Finally, I create a quiz which students take on the last day of the AwesomeStories lesson for that particular week.

Here’s an example of my lesson plan for the AwesomeStories multi-chapter story America Attacked. The story has twelve chapters. Day 1 we read pages one and two in class. Each day, for six days, the students read two pages a night for Reading Homework. In addition, students have an in-class reading assignment about United Flight 93 on Day 3 and Day 5. They do partner work throughout the week, and we address one discussion question per day. On the last day, students review the story, write a draft for the writing assignment, and take a quiz. The assignments are posted on my blog, https://sandielinn.wordpress.com/awesome-stories-lessons/  under AwesomeStories Lessons.

If there is a movie that ties into the lesson, I show twenty minutes of the film at the end of each class session.  For the AwesomeStories lesson on America Attacked, the students watched the film United 93. The film tie-in with the researched-based AwesomeStories narrative keeps the students engaged in the lesson. Some educators might describe using AwesomeStories in the classroom as a good example of inquiry-based learning. I call it the one-stop online site for twenty-first century Advanced ESL students and teachers.

Original Release: Nov 08, 2015

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

1) Stephenson, Neil, Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning, Teachinquiry.com, Nov/03/2015, Nov/03/2015, http://www.teachinquiry.com/index/Introduction.html
2) Bond-Upson, Deborah, What Educators Say, Awesome Stories, Oct/30/2015, Nov/03/2015, https://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/What-Educators-Say-Awesome-Stories-101

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"AwesomeStories: Lessons for an Advanced Level ESL Classroom " AwesomeStories.com. Nov 08, 2015. Dec 10, 2019.
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