English Learner 500 Short Stories for Beginner-Intermediate: Volume 1

Mike Carlson

What animal would provide Sara’s favorite kind of breakfast cereal? What part of a man’s face means he’ll have a long life? What happened to the golf balls that Superman hit at the driving range? I wrote these 500 short stories (only 150 words each!) for English learners, primarily for beginner to intermediate levels. However, advanced learners can also enjoy the subtleties of many of the stories. The stories are for all English learners, regardless of what their first language is (even if it’s English!). Each story stems from news events, my own and others’ personal experiences, and/or my imagination. Many stories contain references to New York City, where my wife and I are lucky enough to live. ...[Teachers: The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and Flesch Reading Ease Score follow each story title. These two measures can guide learners who wish to start with the easiest stories and work their way up to the hardest stories. Teachers and parents can use these measures to guide their students and children. Grade Levels range from 0.1 to 6.5 (kindergarten to sixth grade), and Reading Ease Scores range from 100 to 62.8 (easiest to hardest). The two measures correlate inversely, and generally, with each other. Sentences are short, averaging 7.2 words for all stories.]... The stories are slices of everyday life, with fantasy thrown in here and there. Some story titles are: Hairy Ears; When 47 Equals 50; Where Did the Mustard Go?; A Dangerous Light Bulb; Superman at the Driving Range; Feel the Bananas; I Love New York City!; Till Death Do Us Part; I Hate My Name; Pink Doesn’t Mean He’s Gay; The Bi-Coastal Cat; The Cow with Two Tails; A Genie in a Bottle; A Big, Fat NYC Cookie; A Lucky Blind Person; The Dangerous Paper Clip; Smoker Seeks Nonsmoker; That “Old People” Smell; Mom the Matchmaker; and New, Improved EZ English. Just so you’ll have an idea of what the stories are like, here’s the first story: 1. Eat, Sleep, and Think Burgers 2.1, 91.3 Burger Queen flew Billy and his Bronx coworkers to its training center. After returning, Billy told his cousin about his trip. “Boy, was it great! I made tons of money in overtime. We were in training 12 days straight. We worked almost 16 hours a day. We learned how to make ten new menu items. You’ll see them on the menu next month. Everything was free! I had my own private room in the hotel. The food was fantastic. The hotel had six different restaurants. I ate all I could eat three times a day. I can’t wait to go back there again.” Jill asked, “Go back where? Where did you go?” He said, “They said we were in Texas.” She asked, “They ‘said’? Where in Texas? What city?” He said, “I don’t know. I didn’t even see a city. All I saw were the hotel and the training center.” Like many of the other stories, this one is based on fact. “Billy” loves his job. When he told me this story, he hadn’t been outside of NYC since moving here from his native country. He didn’t seem the least bit bothered that he hadn’t seen more of Texas. He thoroughly enjoyed the training, the hotel room, the food, and the money. When I asked the Brooklyn resident if he’d visited the Statue of Liberty yet, he smiled and said he was too busy. We all have our priorities and interests, which often change over the years. I think someday, after Billy owns his own “Burger Queen” or two, he might visit the Statue of Liberty—with his children or grandchildren. These stories first appeared on my website, www.eslyes.com, which contains 1,600 stories and dialogues that I wrote. Accompanying them are Exercises and/or Audio. One reason I wrote these 150-word stories is so teachers could easily print the stories onto one page. Each story is only one paragraph, even if it contains quoted conversation. I have a master’s in Education and taught ESL to adults in Pasadena, CA for 20 years. I hope these stories will become one small part of the education and entertainment of English learners everywhere. —Mike Carlson, April 2014
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About the author

I was born in 1947. As a kid, I read books. I remember reading Nancy Drew, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Sherlock Holmes. Libraries were a second home for me. Nowadays I still read every chance I get, although I read magazines and newspapers, not books. In fact, I can't even remember the last book I read for pleasure. I can tell you the one book in my life that I remember best--Catch-22. It's clever, funny, sad, and true. Of course, there are thousands of great books out there; every reader has his or her favorite. I wish I had the time to read them all. That would be heaven, wouldn't it?--turning the pages of enjoyable books, forever. I used to love the comics page in newspapers. The Sunday comics were especially lovable, because they were in "living" color. I loved Beetle Bailey, Dick Tracy, Barney Google, and Li'l Abner. I loved MAD Magazine (still do). As a kid, I wanted to be a writer. To write the Great American Novel, of course. I loved pens. Growing up, I used fountain pens, "fountain" pens with a plastic ink cartridge in them, and finally ballpoint pens. I owned several different typewriters. My favorite was a little Olivetti. My last typewriter was an IBM Selectric. That typewriter, having no keys, was as amazing as the Bic ballpoint pen years earlier. Like many others, I've seen amazing things in my lifetime. But that's part of the problem, for my own life, at least. I've been a spectator for way too long. Reading books, magazines, newspapers; watching TV; browsing the Internet. Watching, not doing. Taking, not giving. Absorbing, not creating. At some point (only a few years ago, unfortunately), I realized how little I had contributed to this amazing world. Yes, I've taught ESL to hundreds of students over the past two decades. By helping them improve their English, I've made a small contribution. Teachers do contribute, of course. Most more than I, I'm sure. Now, one story at a time, I have written this book. It's another small contribution.

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Additional Information

Mike Carlson
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Published on
Apr 8, 2014
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Education / General
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
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