suggested reading for teenagers and young adults

This is a list of books for children, teenagers and young adults, by no means comprehensive, which could be used as reading material in the English classroom, or as recommendations for independent reading:

Further suggestions (year 4 secondary and upwards):

Roald Dahl’s short stories:



Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Last week (12th March) it was the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, invented by (now Sir) Tim Berners-Lee. If you would like to know more about him and his groundbreaking invention, you can listen to any of these shows/podcasts:

You can also read this article that Stephen Fry wrote some years ago about him and his invention.

Finally, Stephen Fry also narrates what this video about what the world would be like now (at least for some people) if the world wide web hadn’t been invented 30 years ago (a good exercise to practise mixed conditionals):


Lesson plan on appearance: petition to Parliament to make it illegal to require women to wear high heels at work

This is a lesson plan I came up with some time ago about appearance and dress codes. It is based around a controversy involving Nicola Thorpe, a (then) aspiring actress and temp worker, who was forced to wear quite high heels to work, or else lose her job. She felt something needed to be done, and started a petition to Parliament to make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work.


Watch Nicola Thorp’s interview. Then, in pairs, answer these questions:

  1. What was Nicola’s job?
  2. What shoes was she wearing on the day she was sent home?
  3. What option did the company give her before sending her home?
  4. What did the employment hotline say to Nicola?
  5. Why don’t many companies follow the dress code laws?
  6. What were Nicola’s duties at work?
  7. What’s Nicola’s opinion of female workers who want to wear high heels?
  8. What were high heels originally designed for?
  9. When was Price Waterhouse Coopers, the company that hired Nicola, aware of the controversy?

2. Watch this second interview now. What is the host’s reaction to Nicola’s petition? What expressions does the host use to support his view / agree or disagree with Nicola?


This is what Parliament finally ruled:

WRITING: Write a comment on Nicola Thorp’s Fakebook page giving your views on her petition and whether or not you agree with the points she made about gender equality in the workplace.


C1: Read the text below. Then, for questions 1 to 12 choose the best option from the list (a-l) to complete the missing information.

Click on the screenshot to see the exercise

Link to exercise

Link to self-grading version of exercise- GoConqr

Now, summarise the main ideas and contentions in the article. To what extent do you agree with them? Discuss with your partners. Try to use expressions showing your opinions.

B2: Read the text and drag and drop the words to fill in the gaps

Screenshot 2019-02-03 at 11.39.45

SPEAKING. Discuss these questions in pairs:

  1. How do you feel about Nicola Thorp’s story? Do you share her views on the subject?
  2. Should women have to wear heels at certain jobs? If so, which? Why?
  3. Is there a dress code for teachers in Spain? What do you know about other countries?
  4. Should there be a dress code for teachers? Why? Why not?
  5. What clothes would you choose to be your workplace uniform?

LISTENING COMPREHENSION: Listen to the clip below, and fill in the gaps with no more than four words. 


  1. According to Lucy, …………………women wear high heels in traditional offices.
  2. She is terrified by the ………………………………………………in senior women gatherings.
  3. Apparently, each of these senior women has spent 20 minutes in her daily ……………………………….
  4. All women journalists at the BBC look a bit ………………………………………
  5. Shahidha is wearing black ……………………………………at the time of speaking.
  6. She needs the heels to ……………………………… the lectern.
  7. On the tube she was wearing ………………………………

Should Googling in exams be allowed?

Read this text and fill the gaps with one of the words on the list. There are more words than gaps.


Open the form in a new tab

Original source


Reading practice

If you want to practice reading for your reading test, you may visit these websites:


How to improve your English (year 1)

Now that the second term is almost over, maybe we can have a look at this list of activities, apps and resources you can use to improve your English, and particularly some skills that might be more complicated to you. All my recommendations are free, or at least have some functionalities which are free.

Using a dictionary: 

At this level, you should really be using an English-English dictionary, and only use a Spanish-English dictionary from time to time.


These are my recommendations for online dictionaries:

  • Oxford dictionary: English-English dictionary, with definition and pronunciation of the word. You can also use the thesaurus, if you want to find synonyms (and you really should).

  • Cambridge dictionary: English-English, Spanish-English dictionary, with definitions, pronunciation of the words (British and American), and phonetic transcription.
  • Macmillan dictionary: English-English dictionary, with definition, pronunciation, and very good thesaurus.


Spelling City– On this website you can create your lists of words you know you have to learn. They may come from our literacy classes, or from Social /Natural Science. Then, click on “play game”, and you can practise the words you wrote but playing games, not just memorising. It will be easier for you to remember both spelling and pronunciation.

Tutorial on how to register with Spelling City and create lists to play games.

In any case, reading is what is going to help you the most. (More about reading later)


  • For most words, go to any of the dictionaries I mentioned above.
  • For countries and place names, people, (and for all other words) you can visit this website: FORVO. Real native speakers (not computers) have recorded themselves pronouncing these words and names for you.

Type the word or name you need, then look it up:

Then you can choose if you want to listen to a British person pronouncing the word, or American, or Australian…



Apart from the books I recommended at Christmas, there are some books in English you can borrow from the school library. You have quite a few by Roald Dahl, for example. Please visit the library. You will get a Class Dojo point if you tell me examples of books in English you could borrow from the library (because you’ve had a look there).

Reading books, comics, articles online…is going to help you understand better, but it will also help you with your writing and spelling. 


In the English Department there are some films you can borrow, and that can help you improve your English. Please ask me.

You can also visit the British council Learn English section on listening. Choose exercises for A2 level, and if that’s too easy, take B1.

recommended reading- year 1

I know holidays are a time to have a rest and have fun. However, you may have fun reading books in English as well. That is why you may find some suggestions below:

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. (nice, lots of useful vocabulary)
  2. The Twits, by Roald Dahl. (easy, short, funny. Do you remember the spaghetti story?)
  3. The BFG, by Roald Dahl. (nice story, lots of invented words, good if you like playing with language)
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. (funny, easy)
  5. The London Eye Mystery, by Siobhan Dowd. (thriller-suspense)

As an optional activity, you may also write a short book review that may be published here on the blog. You may follow these instructions:


Answer in sentences to form paragraphs under the following headings rather than numbering your answers or using bullet points. Your review should include:

  • The book’s title and author
  • The genre of the book (suspense, romance, comedy, fantasy, …)
  • A brief summary of the plot that doesn’t give away too much (no spoilers)
  • Was the story written in the first or third person? ( ‘I’ or ‘he / she’) How important was this to the story?
  • Comments on the book’s strong points and weak points (aspects you really liked and aspects that you didn’t like that much). For example, mention a scene you really enjoyed, or a moment you found especially boring.
  • Your personal opinion: would you recommend it? To what specific kinds of readers?

Whether you simply read one of these books or you decide to write a review, there are further instructions in our Edmodo group. Please have a look.