Sunday, September 28, 2014

IELTS Reading - Free Online Course - October 11 & 18

Registration is now closed! 

Thank you to those who registered. I'm looking forward to doing an amazing course with you! Please check your email regularly until we start on October 11. 

If you're still interested in taking this course, then please leave your email on the course website

Okay, I just opened up registration for WHAT'S THE QUESTION?, my free online IELTS Reading course. 

CLICK HERE to register

I'm taking a maximum of 20 students, so please don't delay. 

Here's the link for my free course WHAT'S THE QUESTION

Hope to see you there!

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

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Friday, September 26, 2014

US Bill of Rights - IELTS Worksheet

Hello, and thanks for visiting!

Today's worksheet is an IELTS practice worksheet about the United States Bill of Rights. I've included a little bit of history and simplified the first ten amendments to make them easier for ESL students to understand.

You'll need to download the worksheet to view it and use it.

Just a reminder that I'll be doing a free online IELTS Reading course very soon. I'll be teaching it live and I want to make it as interactive as possible. Spaces are limited to 20 students. If you're interested in improving your IELTS Reading score in the next few weeks, visit my blog this Tuesday (September 30) for registration!

Thank you for visiting and have a great week!


Marble statue of James Madison in a corridor

After the United States of America was formed, some people were worried that the new American government would become as strong as other governments in the world. They wanted to make sure that individual rights would be protected and that people would know about their rights. Many American leaders wanted to include a list of specific rights that each citizen must have, rights that the government could not take away. Thus the Bill of Rights was formed, under the leadership of James Madison, in 1791. At t this time ten new rights were added to the Constitution. They are explained here in plain language.

1. You can choose your own religion. You can express your thoughts and opinions freely through speech and writing. If you are unhappy with the actions of the government, you are allowed to meet to discuss your feelings and ideas.

2. You are allowed to carry a weapon to defend yourself, if you have a license.

3. You do not have to allow soldiers into your house unless the government passes a law that requires it. If this happens, Congress must set rules to protect you.

4. You have a right to privacy of your home, your papers and your body. The government cannot search these things unless they can prove that there is a need to do so.

5. If you are arrested, you cannot be convicted of a crime unless you are tried in court by a jury. A jury must hear both sides and decide whether you are innocent or guilty. If the jury declares you innocent, then the government cannot try you again for the same crime.

6. You have a right to a public trial, so that people know what is happening. You have the right to your own lawyer. If you are arrested and cannot afford a lawyer to defend you, the government must provide you with a lawyer.

7. If you have a civil case with another person, then you have the right to a trial also.

8. If you are arrested, the government must set a reasonable bail. Your bail cannot be too high. The government cannot torture you or inflict cruel or unusual punishment.

9. The rights listed above are not the only rights that you have. You have other rights than those listed in the Bill of Rights.

10. Anything that the Bill of Rights does not mention that Congress can do should be left to individual states and the people to decide.


Complete the summary below. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

The Bill of Rights promises several specific 1 .......... to people. People have the freedom of 2 .......... and can choose whatever faith they wish. One also has the right to 3 ........... oneself using a licensed weapon if necessary. The right to a fair 4 .......... is also mentioned; a person cannot be tried in secret government proceedings. There are many other rights that a person is entitled to, not all of which are 5 .......... in the Bill of Rights. However, these can be specified by 6 .......... as necessary and then implemented into law.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

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

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Downtown Abbey - ESL Worksheet - IELTS

Hello, and thank you for visiting!

I've been away for a long time - much longer than I wanted to be, but am back in business. I'm actually working on an IELTS-related project which I hope to talk about soon. Today's worksheet comes out of that and I hope I will have more such pages for you in the future!

This worksheet is about Downtown Abbey, an extremely popular British television show. You'll need to download the worksheet to view it and use it.

I'm excited to announce that I'll be doing a free online IELTS Reading course very soon. I'll be teaching it live and I want to make it as interactive as possible. Spaces are limited to 20 students. If you're interested in improving your IELTS Reading score in the next few weeks, visit my blog this Tuesday (September 30) for registration!

Thanks again for visiting and have a great week!

Painting of a mother and daughter

At first glance, Downtown Abbey is nothing more than a quietly charming television show. Look closer, however, and you will find it is much more than that. In fact, it seems that this British television drama series has taken the world by storm since it started in 2010. At least 200 million people have watched Downtown Abbey at least once. You will find devoted fans all around the world, in countries such as the United States, China and Sweden. More than 100 countries have broadcast rights.

For those who are new to Downtown Abbey, it is basically an elegant "soap opera" set in the early 1900s. It is about the aristocratic Crawley family. Downtown Abbey's success is a pleasant surprise to the producers and actors, but should one really be surprised? When the right elements come together, success must follow. Downtown Abbey has all the ingredients to make it a popular show.

The main reason for Downtown Abbey's success is, of course, the actors. They are experienced, controlled and possess enormous skill. Watching them, you feel as if you are watching actual events. For example, when Branson the chauffer tells Lady Mary Crawley that her sister Lady Sybil was hurt in a riot, Lady Mary's shock and concern are played just right. There is just enough emotion, but also the restraint that was expected of women in Lady Mary's class at the time. Other characters are also memorable. Lord Grantham behaves like the gentleman he is expected to be and the Dowager Countess can be sharp at times. The actors are as convincing as they come.

For those who need more than just a well-told story, the costumes and scenery provide as much entertainment as the plot. The clothing is gorgeous - historically accurate and elegant. Lady Mary looks like a princess and Lady Edith Crawley's figure and costume are flawless. The English countryside is breathtaking. The exterior and most of the interior shots are of Highclere Castle in Hampshire. Highclere's library is peaceful and befits a gentleman - a perfect refuge for Lord Crawley. The homes and gardens in the village are quaint. Everything is a treat for the eyes, from start to finish.

Many films can boast great lines, beautiful actors and marvelous clothes. However, not many compel millions of viewers to gather each week to watch them. The true secret behind Downtown Abbey's success is that it sells a lifestyle, an experience, that is out of reach and yet is fascinating to people everywhere. The Crawleys live an upstairs-downstairs way of life. The staff, who live in the basement, serve the aristocratic family who inhabit the home. The Crawley family members have their share of problems and heartache. Yet they suffer in the midst of luxury and privilege. These things share universal appeal to people around the world, regardless of nationality, financial background or social status. Many people want to be rich, elegant and respected. Downtown Abbey provides a glimpse into a fantasy world where people enjoy such advantages.

Thank you for visiting!
Faiza Raintree

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

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