1000 Word Challenge - Week 14

Do you want to improve your English skills using resources on the Internet? Starting this week, Dr. Heidi shows you how you can use web sites to improve your skills:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

This week we’ll focus on using web sites such as Wikipedia Simple English to read interesting content that is at the right level for you! Did you know there’s a Simple English Wikipedia article about Tetris?

Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.

Here are some web sites which will let you practice your English reading skills by offering content at different levels:

This week’s text!

Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!

I want to focus on reading first, because I think it’s just really really important and probably one of the first things you’re doing when you’re studying a language is reading in the language. I find reading easier than speaking and I find reading easier than listening that might not be true for you but I find if I can look at the word and think about, you know, how it’s spelled it’s easier for me to remember it.

So reading is extremely important and it’s especially important if your language does not have the same alphabet as English. If you are a Chinese speaker, if you’re a Russian speaker, if you’re an Arabic speaker, or a Persian speaker. If you speak Japanese or Korean or Hebrew or Pashto or Urdu or Hindi.. it’s really important for you to practice reading because you’re you’re not just learning a language but you’re also learning an alphabet. The more you read the more fluent you will be in that alphabet and the better your progress will be overall.

So first I’m going to talk about why you should read.

You should read because it will help with your vocabulary, it will help with the language structure, and it will help you to see language patterns. You’ll see patterns in how words are spelled. You’ll see patterns in how words are used and you’ll see patterns and how sentences are put together. This is all the stuff that you need to learn and understand in a new language.

There’s two things that are really important if you’re choosing something to read.

One is that I want you to pick something that you find interesting, the reason for that is that when you’re reading you shouldn’t just be reading the words but you should be reading the words and thinking about what it means, that is, the content, and if it’s something that you’re interested in, you’ll be more motivated to understand what it is you are reading. And it will also just be more fun and enjoyable for you.

The other thing I want you to do is to choose something to read that is at your reading level - not too hard and not too easy. If you don’t know a lot of the words in what you are reading, if you’re reading something and you have to stop and you’re looking up words all the time, it’s too hard it it’s too frustrating and you won’t be able to understand it. Also, you won’t be able to pay attention to what you are reading if you have to stop and look up something in the dictionary, then read, then stop and look something up… Even if you’re reading in your web browser and you have a dictionary tool that lets you look up the word right there you should still find something where you don’t have to look up too many words.

I’m gonna give you some things that you can read that are relatively easy and don’t have a lot of hard words, and that have some interesting content. This is Wikipedia Simple English. It contains a lot of the same articles in the main Wikipedia, but it’s written in basic English vocabulary. It’s got shorter sentences. It’s really great because there’s so many interesting articles.

Even if you don’t know what you want to read, just go to the front page, and they’ll always have, like, some random stuff like you can read about Tetris, if you’re interested.

One of the things is that they have pictures in there. So, if you don’t know what don’t know what something means, or if you want to learn a little more about it, just hold your mouse over it and it will show you a picture, which is really helpful.

You can learn about different cultures, history, whatever you’re interested in! If you want to learn about different parts of the world, like, different parts of the United States, you can just put it in there to read the whole article, and get information about the culture, the politics, pictures, anything you want.

I highly recommend this web site just for general reading practice. And, like I said, the important thing here is that you can read about things that you’re interested in.

But, here’s a few other resources that I found. I’ll put all the links in the description below.

So, this is called English Language Learning, esl-bits.net. And, this person, apparently, Skip, has put together a collection of stories, and then organized them by different reading levels.

So, here you can click on Intermediate level stories, and just read different… A glimpse into teenage life in ancient Rome oh there’s something pretty interesting. You can read all about just these various topics and they had some really good short stories in here that I found and some of these do have adult content they’re not stories for children necessarily but he puts he puts a warning: adult content, adult language, and so forth.

You can read something by Harlan Ellison; he’s a pretty intense writer Mark Twain he was an amazing American writer. Agatha Christie, if you like mysteries so, again, the idea is that you can read things that you’re interested in so that will keep you motivated.

The next site, which is ESOL courses dot com, and I went to the intermediate English lessons so, again this has got some good things for you to read. so you can read about different topics so, for example, here you can read about the Reverend Martin Luther King and I talked a little bit about him a few weeks ago when I talked about visiting Atlanta, Georgia where you can go and visit his his old neighborhood where he used to live. You can read about him, you can print these out.

Here’s another website I found, ESL fast dot com, and he had a funny thing in here it’s called 365 essays for language learners so you can go in here read all sorts of different essays these ones are all about holidays that are celebrated in the United States. Halloween, Veteran’s Day, other religious holidays that are typically celebrated and just kind of random things about the United States like the lotteries that we have.

So if you just want something like to read something short every day you could just go here and you can find your

And, you can find your own resources! I mean, I didn’t use a secret formula to find these; I just used Google!

I just want to give you a few more pieces of advice about your reading.

One, think about what you’re reading. Think about what it means, not so much to focus on the individual vocabulary words but just to get the main idea of what the story or article is about.

If you have the opportunity I would definitely recommend that you read with a buddy, a friend, so you could both read the same story or article and then you can talk about it.

But if you’re doing it by yourself, just to ask yourself questions. Ask yourself questions that start with W, like what was the story about? Who was in the story? Why did they do the things that they did? When did it happen? and so forth.

The other thing it can be very helpful to do is to read the same story twice. If you liked it, then, you know, in a week or so go back and read the same thing again. It will help you build up your knowledge, and the second time you read it will be easier than the first time. You’ll get more information. Also, if you looked up some of the words while you were reading it the first time, then that will be a good chance to help you remember that word.

So next week I will focus on listening.

Words for Week 14

Here are the 20 words for week 14. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.

Word Definition
picture a painting, drawing, or photograph of someone or something
stuff used to speak in a general way about something that is talked about, written about, etc.
resource a place or thing that provides something useful
dictionary a reference book that contains words listed in alphabetical order and that gives information about the words' meanings, forms, pronunciations, etc.
sentence a group of words that expresses a statement, question, command, or wish
read to look at and understand the meaning of letters, words, symbols, etc.
pattern the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done
spell used to indicate the letters that form a particular word
stop to not do something that you have been doing before; to not continue doing something
content the ideas, facts, or images that are in a book, article, speech, movie, etc.
culture the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time
topic someone or something that people talk or write about; subject
important having serious meaning or worth
speaker someone who speaks a particular language
choose to decide that a particular person or thing is the one that you want
interest a quality that attracts your attention and makes you want to learn more about something or to be involved in something
progress the process of improving or developing something over a period of time
extremely very great in degree
structure the way that something is built, arranged, or organized
first coming before all others in time, order, or importance

Use your words!

When you learn new words, it’s important to use them in order to help remember them. On the Vocab Victor YouTube Channel, you can join a conversation using these words. Type a question in the comments section using one of the vocabulary words, such as, “What is your favorite web site for reading English?” Then, answer a question someone else has given. Come back to this page later to see if people have answered your question!


Sorry, but our puzzle maker is still broken so we don’t have a worksheet this week. 😿

Download Vocab Victor

Finally, download our app Vocab Victor which is available for Apple and Android phones. This vocabulary learning software will help you build and strengthen your vocabulary. What does that mean? Build and strengthen. Build vocabulary means it will teach you new words. Strengthen means it will improve the knowledge of the words you already know. Play Vocab Victor for a few minutes every day to help improve your English! Read more about Vocab Victor at our page for students, Vocab Victor - Students.

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