L1 – Beginner

Stories for beginner-level students, equivalent to CEFR A1-A2.

The Turnip Princess

A young man called Arran hates eating his vegetables. One day, his mother locks him out. Arran finds a house with a strange old woman inside, and a dog that talks. Will he find his way home, and will he discover the secret of the house?

Read More

The Very Hungry Dragon (Beginner)

She flew down and took the roof off the cart. The people with the cart saw her and ran away. Grella laughed, and picked up the cart in her hand. She emptied it into her mouth, eating all of the jewels in one go.
Grella understood now. Her mother had been right. Jewels were amazing. They made her feel wonderful inside, like there was a party inside her stomach.
Grella flew off to find more food.

Read More

The Tattoo

‘I know you think you don’t want it,’ said Gary’s girlfriend, Claire, ‘but just think. When you turn 18, most of your friends will have their tattoos already. People will want to see yours. Look, you can tell them that you’re getting it later, that you couldn’t book an appointment, but how long can you lie? One day, you’ll look around and think, “God, why don’t I have a tattoo? Everyone else does.” ’

Read More

One-Eyed, Two-Eyed, Three-Eyed (Beginner)

Suddenly, the goat started changing. It grew long and square, and became a big white table. And on the table were all kinds of food: bread, cheeses, jams, pickles, tomatoes, olives, and so on. The girl was hungry from the work, so she ate lots and lots of food, and when she was done, she said, ‘Little goat, little goat, it’s time to go.’

Read More

Have You Seen This Woman?

She was singing. She was drunk, I think, the way she sang. Maybe she had drunk a big glass of vodka. But her singing was good. She sounded sad, but the music was good. We were all so surprised to see her there.

Read More

The Tightrope Walker

The people began to shout and cheer: ‘You can do it!’ ‘He’s three quarters of the way across!’ ‘Just a bit more!’ Everyone’s hearts were open to the tightrope walker. They did not imagine him dying now. They imagined him making it to the end. They imagined the feeling, when he would make the last step, and everything would be OK.

Read More

Misty the Snake

Why could nobody understand it? I loved Marmite, and so did my pet snake, Misty. Well, she wasn’t my pet. She was my ex-boyfriend’s. But I loved her more than him.
And she loved me, too. As soon as that letter had come through the door, I knew it. I was her real owner. Not my ex.

Read More

Big Peter and Little Peter

As Little Peter rode his horse, he held the basket so that the priest could not get out.
‘Help! Help!’ shouted the priest.
‘Shh!’ said Little Peter. ‘Do you hear that?’
They were by a river, and the priest listened to the water.
‘Most baskets do not talk, so if you can talk, you must be a magic basket. And I don’t like magic. I think I’ll throw you in the river!’

Read More

Why You Must Read (Introduction to my new book)

‘Why do I need to read in English?’
My students often ask me this. They think, ‘I go to classes, I do my homework, I watch films in English. Why should I read books?’
Actually, reading is the best way to improve your English. I will tell you why.

Read More

The Tooth Fairy

‘Can you replace it this time?’ said Alex. ‘I know you did it last time, but I’m so tired.’
‘I didn’t do it last time,’ said Kayla.
‘Huh?’ said Alex. ‘You did! Last time, I went and looked under the pillow, but the tooth had already been replaced.’
‘I’m telling you, I didn’t do it!’ said Kayla.
‘I don’t understand,’ said Alex. ‘If I didn’t do it, and you didn’t do it, then who did? The Tooth Fairy?’

Read More