A Night In The Jungle

Following on from Scout Day earlier this year, English Teacher Online invites you to use your creative writing skills to describe an amazing adventure following a night in the jungle.

A Night In The Jungle (edited from Macmillan English 2007)

After trekking all day, we stopped for the night. We put our bags down on the ground. There was a stream at the edge of this jungle clearing where we could get drinking water. Our guide lit a fire and when it was burning, we made beds from the soft moss that was growing nearby.

“We need enough wood to keep the fire burning all night,” the guide said. I jumped up quickly, “I’ll help you find it,” I relied.

We went off into the jungle to find as much wood as possible. The guide explained that we must have some larger pieces of wood. “They last longer and the fire must burn all night. We need the fire to keep away any animals that come near our camp. All animals are afraid of fire, aren’t they?”

It was almost dark by the time we had finished collecting a large pile of wood. We stacked the wood beside the guide’s bed so he could reach it easily during the night. He would be able to pick up the wood and put it on the fire without getting out of bed. We finished our supper and my guide fell asleep.

The jungle was a wall of blackness in the light of the fire. From far away in this darkness I heard the howl of a wild animal. I felt frightened and suddenly my mouth went dry. I really wished my guide would wake up and I wanted to scream. I felt my mouth open wide, ready to scream as loud as possible. I breathed deeply and was just about to scream out in fear, but I couldn’t make a sound. I could see my guide’s face in the firelight, “If I scream he will know that I’m afraid,” I thought to myself.

I clenched my teeth closely together to stop myself from screaming, lay down and closed my eyes. Immediately, I heard a thousand noises, the whole jungle was alive with creatures creeping all around me. I jumped out of bed, pulled out my knife and held it above my head. I was sure I was going to see a wild animal beside the fire. “A tiger, wild jackal, a lion or crocodile?” My mind was racing.

My guide was now laying on his side with his eyes open wide. “You can put your knife away,” he said quietly, “It’s time to go to sleep, isn’t it?” His calm voice made me feel better. I got back into bed and closed my eyes, knowing he was watching, I soon fell asleep.

Your Turn To Be Creative

The next day you wake up bright and early. You see your guide busy in camp. Use these questions to make a writing plan.

How different does the camp look in the daylight?

What does your guide look like?

What are they doing?

How do you greet him/her?

How do you help them?

Write a paragraph and share it in the comment section.

Merry Christmas Everybody

English Teacher Online would like to say thanks for studying with us this year. You are the best students in the world so our final post of 2017 is your Christmas present, a Merry Christmas Everybody reading comprehension.

Listen to the song and read the lyrics. Look at the questions below and write your answers in the comment section at the end.


Merry Christmas Everybody (lyrics by Slade)

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
It’s the time that every Santa has a ball
Does he ride a red-nosed reindeer?
Does he turn up on his sleigh?
Do the fairies keep him sober for a day?

So here it is, Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

Are you waiting for the family to arrive?
Are you sure you got the room to spare inside?
Does your granny always tell ya
That the old songs are the best?
Then she’s up and rock and rollin’ with the rest

So here it is Merry Christmas
Everybody’s having fun
Look to the future now
It’s only just begun

What will your daddy do
When he sees your mama kissin’ Santa Claus?

Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?
Are you hoping that the snow will start to fall?
Do you ride on down the hillside
In a buggy you have made
When you land upon your head, then you been slayed

Reading Comprehension

1) Where might Slade hang a stocking at Christmas?

2) What Christmas animal has a red nose?

3) What does Grandma mean in verse 2?

4) What does Slade imply with, “When he sees your mama kissin’ Santa Claus”?

5) What might happen on a hillside at Christmas?

Please write your answers in the comment section or email Steve@EnglishTeacherOnline.Org

Merry Christmas Everybody.

Myths and Fables

People enjoy listening to stories in every culture. Storytellers have fulfilled the need for a ‘good story’ since the beginning of human civilization. These stories include myths and fables.

Most people have their own favourite story from childhood and often these tales are both fascinating and frightening. What’s your favourite story and why?

What is a Myth?

A myth is a story based on tradition or legend, which ‘gives a message’ to those who tell and hear it, rather than recording a true event.

Although myths can be accounts of actual events, often details have been changed or the story has shifted in time or place.

Myths are often used to explain how human society began and can contain supernatural beings. There is great power in the meaning of these stories – a major reason why they survive as long as they do, sometimes for thousands of years.

What is a Fable?

Fables often make use of animals as central characters and through personification, they can also include inanimate objects such as trees or rocks. The objective of a fable is to teach the reader a lesson.

The Ant And The Grasshopper

One day in summer, a happy grasshopper was singing and dancing while playing his violin. He saw an ant passing by, carrying food on its tiny body to store for the winter.

“Come and play with me instead of working so hard,” said the grasshopper. “Let’s have some fun together.”

“I must store food for the winter,” said the ant, “and you should do the same.”

“Don’t worry about winter,” said the grasshopper laughing at him, “it’s still very far away.” But the ant didn’t listen and continued to do his work.

When winter came, the grasshopper was starving so he went to the ant’s house and begged for food. “If you had listened to my advice in the summer you would not be hungry now,” said the ant.

Comprehension Questions

What is the setting for the story?
Who are the characters?
How are the characters different?
What is the moral (lesson) of the story?

You can write your answers in the comment section.

And read some more famous children’s myths and fables now.

Dolch Word List and Activities

Dolch’s word list contains the 220 most frequently written English words used in the mid-twentieth century. It was compiled by Edward William Dolch and first published in his book “Problems with Reading” in 1948.

Further research resulted in Fry’s frequency word list, which now contains the top 1,000 frequently used English words, but the Dolch word list and activities are still important. English Teacher Online recommends a combination of both for young learners to become fluent in English.

Reading Revelation

Dolch’s word list represented a revolutionary moment in teaching reading. His list still has a frequency rate between 50 and 75% of all words found in library, schoolbooks, newspapers and magazines.

Dolch recognized that by learning just 220 service words, students of English could easily improve their fluency in reading English.

Many of his words are phonetic, meaning they can be sounded out, like c-a-n (can) or b-i-g (big). Other words that can’t be sounded out are called sight words. The 220 service words include pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and verbs, many of which are difficult to explain with pictures. He also identified the 95 most frequently used nouns, which are easy to teach using picture flash cards.

The Dolch list is still used in many schools around the world. The 220 service words have since been divided into grade levels so school children can learn and memorize them at the appropriate age.

Educators introduce the noun list first because it is an easy way to teach phonics.

95 Noun List by Dolch

The nouns can be taught using colourful flashcards at a very early age. Each flashcard has a picture on one side with its corresponding word on the other. The noun list contains these word;

apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, good-bye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, (kitty), leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, (Santa Claus), school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

It’s easy to start teaching the noun list at preschool level by showing a card and asking, “What is this?” As progress is made you can use the same cards to teach the phonic (pre-reading) sounds.

Phonic Sounds

Once your child can identify the nouns – start to introduce the phonic sounds associated with each noun, such as “a-a, apple” and “b-b, baby”. Use “i-i, iguana” for sounds that don’t appear on the noun list.

Some of Dolch’s nouns are phonetic words such as, s-u-n (sun) and c-a-t (cat). Nouns are concrete objects which are easier for young minds to understand – that’s why we teach them first – so your child can associate the abstract phonic sounds with real life objects. Eventually, the service words will build on and around these nouns.

Service Words

Introduce the service words when you think your child is ready to start learning sentence structures. Many of these words are abstract and can’t be taught so early.  They must be learnt through conversations rather than with pictures.

You will notice that “an” appears in the grade 1 list of words. If you feel your child is able to understand the difference between “an apple” and “a dog” at preschool level, you are welcome to try. The list was divided as a guide or reference for parents (and teachers) interested in knowing which words are usually mastered at what level.

Pre-School Words by Dolch

a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you

If you don’t want to buy the flashcards, you can have fun making them at home. Take these six cards; a, I, is, it, see, the.

Help your child rearrange the words and learn sentence patterns like;

It is a ______

I see the _____

Use the nouns to quickly create lots of meaningful sentences with preschool learners.

It is a ball.

I see the rabbit.

Play with the cards until your child can recognize all of the preschool group of words.

I run home.

We jump up and down.

Where is the big yellow ball?

Do not rush your child and remember that all children learn at different speeds. If you don’t work at the students own pace, negative thoughts about reading may emerge in the child’s mind. It is so important to keep the learning lighthearted and fun.

Kindergarten Words by Dolch

all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes

These words can be added during kindergarten. They build on the preschool list enabling students to make many more fun sentences.

I like __________. (to eat, jump, run, etc)

He ran with me.

It is my new red bike.

The box is under the tree.

Grade 1 Words by Dolch

after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, giving, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when

Children learn to socialize at school. Help your child make sentences like;

Give him the ball please.

Let her have a go.

Thank them when they are good.

Grade 2 Words by Dolch

always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don’t, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

Students start to construct complex sentences in grade two.  Help them use conjunctions like because, before and but.

I want the ball because I like to play.

I like fish but I don’t like fire.

Wash your hands before you eat.

I always wash my hands before I eat.

Grade 3 Words by Dolch

about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, nine, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm

With the introduction of this last group of words on Dolch’s list, your child will soon be able to read the most frequently encountered words in the English language.

Always remember that some students learn faster than others but these are the words children should be aiming to learn and read fluently by grade three.

As a parent, it is a good idea to identify your child’s needs and work with the teachers to keep learning on a schedule. Students often learn to read in leaps and bounds so don’t push them too hard. Work at a steady pace and keep encouraging them, especially when they overcome particularly difficult words.

“Reading needs to be a fun activity because it is the foundation stone of children who become lifelong self-learners.”

As always, we are here to help so please leave a comment or email: Steve@englishteacheronline.org