Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Head Start With Books - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday!
I apologize for not posting last week's article! I couldn't get to blogger due to some strange problem with our compound's Internet firewall. However, I finally gave up and got my own provider. We'd been having problems ever since we arrived, so it is wonderful having real Internet again!

I hope you enjoy this week's article and worksheet. Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

A smiling boy with an open book on his head

We all want smart children. We want them to be successful and happy in life. There are many things you can do to help your children learn. One of the best things you can do is read to your child.

There are many benefits to reading with your child. One important benefit is developing strong ties. 

Your children will develop a good relationship with you. They will enjoy sitting together and spending time with you. They will remember your times together with joy.

Another benefit is that your child will have excellent vocabulary. She will know words from different subjects. She will learn about science and geography. She will know how to learn from books. Your child will not be bored by books. Instead she will see books as her friend.

Children who read a lot can speak and write well. They learn how to communicate with people. Your child will learn how speak about different subjects. He will know interesting facts and even jokes and stories. This will help him at work and other places, when he is an adult.

Your child will see books as a tool. If she has a question, she will know where to get an answer. If she is bored, she will use books to have fun. Your child will see the library as her friend. She will have an easier time doing research or even fixing something.

If you are not sure how to start reading to your child, start with the tips below. You can start with babies as young as three months. Babies enjoy looking at pictures. Choose books with large and simple pictures. Show your baby the picture and talk about it. Hug and kiss your baby from time to time. This will help your baby enjoy books.

Read to your child for ten minutes every day. Choose books and subjects that your child enjoys. Read to your child in a language that you both know well. If you do not know the language of the book, talk about the pictures together. Choose many kinds of books, such as comics, magazines and poetry. This will make reading interesting for your child.

Read to your child at bedtime. Make this a ritual. This way, your child will have fond memories of books. Smile and laugh at the funny parts of books. Talk about the pictures. Make bedtime reading an enjoyable time for both of you.

Children like to pretend read. They like to look at pictures and act like they are reading. This helps them to build reading skills. If your child wants to pretend read, let her do so. Listen to her and respond to her reading.

Read your own books and let your child see you reading. Children copy what they see.

If your children enjoy cartoons, give them books about the characters they love. Choose topics that interest your child right now. For example, if he enjoys building with blocks, get books about building. If he enjoys painting, get a child's book about painting.

If you want to learn more about reading to your child, visit the website below for more information. You can download a booklet on how to read to your child. It is written in different languages.

Reading with your child  - a booklet in different languages

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

Download Link for PDF - A Head Start with Books

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Festivals Around the World

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article is about festivals around the world. I like to discuss the purpose of festivals and leisure activities, as well. This article complements the article in Unit 4 in Q Skills for Success Intro - Special Edition: Celebrating with Food.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

Hot air balloon and rainbow

There are many kinds of festivals around the world. Some of them are very old and some are new. People around the world love to celebrate. They do so with different festivals. Here are some interesting festivals around the world.

Night of the Radishes

People in Mexico celebrate radishes. Yes, radishes! A radish is a small, red vegetable. It is very spicy! Farmers carve radishes into different shapes. They make art with it. The festival lasts only a few hours. People come to enjoy the radish art. They also buy a lot of vegetables. Farmers make a lot of money at this festival, and people have a great time! Night of the Radishes is a new festival. It was started not too long ago.

International Balloon Festival

This Balloon festival is held in New Mexico, in America. People and companies make all kinds of hot air balloons. A hot air balloon is filled with heated air. The air in the balloon is hotter than the air around it. This makes the balloon rise. There is a basket attached to the balloon. People ride in the basket. The hot air balloons at the Balloon Festival are different shapes and sizes. People pay to ride in these balloons. Thousands of people come to watch them float in the air. They have picnics while they watch. Others buy fun snacks to each while they watch. People film the balloons with their cameras. People also buy T-shirts and other things to remind them of the festival.

Las Fallas Festival

The Las Fallas Festival is held in Spain. It is an old festival, from 500 years ago. People create puppets to poke fun at others. They often make puppets of famous actors and figures. The puppets are more than 20 feet tall. They are very big and different colors. The puppets are on display for many days. On March 19, men stuff the puppets with fireworks. They set off the fireworks to burn the puppets. One puppet is saved for the Museum. Las Fallas is a very noisy festival!

Ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Harbin Ice Festival

This ice festival is held in China. It is the largest ice festival in the world. It starts in January and lasts about one month. People make artistic sculptures from ice and snow. They use lasers and lanterns to carve them. There are sculptures of flowers and artistic shapes, as well as other kinds. The artists leave them out for a month for people to see. More than a million people come to see the sculptures. It is very cold and everyone must wear jackets and hats. At night, the sculptures are strung with lights. People from around the world come to look at these brilliant ice sculptures.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree
To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Rules of the Game - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article is about good sportsmanship and what it means to be a true athlete. Not everyone is interested in sports, however, so it may be a good idea to go over some sports vocabulary first. I've found that most of my students either love or hate sports.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!


What does it mean to be a good sport? Good sportsmanship is about respect for the game. It means respecting the players, the rules and the officials. Sportsmanship is  also about enjoying the sport for its own sake. Throughout history, people have enjoyed sports for its own sake. However, sportsmanship has suffered a major blow in the last fifty years. Things began to change after large amounts of money was pumped into sports.

Today, sports is more about money and winning than anything else. 

Many are more interested in corporate contracts than the game itself. Also, there is too much idolizing of the winners in a game. Sports is not only about winning. It is about playing fair and playing by the rules. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win. However, winning is only one aspect of sports. There is also camaraderie, discipline, hard work and respect for each other.

As modern athletes become wealthier and more popular, they lose focus of what it means to be an athlete. Nowadays, you see famous athletes practicing risky and crude behavior. Every day we read about players getting arrested for drunk driving or possession of drugs. Some athletes are written about in the newspapers for hitting their wives or others. Others use steroids or other drugs to become better players. All of this makes the  younger generation feel that it is okay to do such things and still be successful. It makes young people forget that bad habits never lead to true success. Being a famous athlete is a great responsibility, and athletes need to take their role seriously.

Athletes themselves do not always get good training from their parents and coaches. 

Young athletes need to learn more about the true sportsmanship from their coaches and role models. We have heard of college and high school students who are passed just so they can play in games. Some high school athletes can barely read, yet they have high school diplomas. Their teachers are sometimes forced to give them good grades so that they can play in games.

However, all is not lost. There are things that parents, teachers and coaches can do. First, enjoy simple games with  your child in your backyards, such as Frisbee. Kickball is also a great sport for young people. They enjoy it immensely. If your child is interested in playing sports, enroll him or her in a little league team. However, make sure that the team has a coach who knows what sportsmanship is. 

Do not pressure your child or the coach to win at all costs. 

Teach your child how to be a team player. This will help him for life.

If you are a teacher, remember that your students are students first and athletes second. Combining good grades with good athletics will make it easier for your students to get into college. If you are a coach, encourage your players to work together and support each other. Remember, it is about them, not about you. Work with your players' teachers to make sure the students are doing well in school. Also, speak to parents about any major problems your students face. Support your team even if they lose, whether you are a parent, teacher or coach. Build teamwork and life skills in your students through sports.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Manners Around the World - ESL Worksheet

Good Morning & Happy Monday!

Today's article is about customs and etiquette around the world. ESL students come from around the world, obviously, and often meet students from other countries. They will hopefully enjoy reading about customs in other countries, as well as sharing their own customs and traditions.

This article complements a reading in Q Skills for Success 2, Special Edition, a popular ESL textbook series in the Middle East.

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!

Small teacup and saucer and a small plate of dates

Manners Around the World

People behave differently around the world. What is considered polite behavior in one country may be rude in another. Before you travel, you should learn about the customs of the country you visit. Egypt, Brazil and Germany are popular countries to visit. Read on to find out more about some customs in these countries.


Most people in Egypt are Muslim. For this reason, many customs and traditions revolve around Islam. Family and honor are also very important in Egypt . People in Egypt are expected to dress as well as they can. It is important to make a good impression by wearing nice clothes. Dressing in sloppy clothes may cause the people around you to feel awkward. Personal grooming is also important. People shake hands with each other when they meet. Handshakes are limp, but people shake hands cheerfully. Hospitality is very important. It is part of Egyptian tradition to serve guests tea or coffee. If you are invited to someone's home for a meal, you should bring good quality chocolates or sweets. Respect for elders is a must. For this reason, people greet the oldest people first. Egyptian society is organized by social class. Class and family are more important than how much money you have. For this reason, people avoid socializing with those of a different group.


Family and social class are most important in Brazil. People dress according to their class in Brazilian society. You are expected to dress well and wear good quality accessories. People are judged by how they look. Time is seen as something outside  of one's control. Relationships are more important than sticking to the time. If you are invited to a dinner party, try to come 30 minutes late. Brazilian culture is a group culture. Avoid doing anything to embarrass anyone. Criticizing a Brazilian in front of others may cause problems for you. It will also make everyone feel awkward. Try to find a polite way to deal with disagreements. Men shake hands firmly when they meet. Women kiss each other lightly on the cheek. Brazilians take time to greet each other. It may take a few minutes to ask each other about their health and their families. People from Western cultures may find this frustrating because they are in a hurry. However, it is okay in Brazilian culture because Brazilians are more informal. For this reason, it is not rude to interrupt someone when they are talking.


People in Germany tend to be reserved and a bit formal. Time and space are very important in German culture. Germans value their privacy. For this reason, it is bad manners to ask Germans about personal details such as age, income and personal beliefs. This includes politics and religion. Always knock and wait for permission to enter. It is important to be on time in Germany. If you have an appointment at 1:15, you should arrive at 1:15 and not a minute after. It is better to be one or two minutes early, if possible. Only close friends and family are invited to one's home. It is important to be neat and tidy at all times. People tend to look down on those who are not organized or behave casually. One must never litter in Germany, but throw out trash in a bin.  You are also expected to clean up any mess you make right away. Shake hands with everyone, including children. If you are invited to take part in a meal in someone's home, arrive on time. Also, keep your elbows off the table at dinner. Written communication is important. It is polite to send thank you notes if you receive a present or are invited to a meal. It is typical to greet strangers in elevators and at tables, but not open spaces.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

To download the worksheet for this article, please click below.

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