Resource: True Stories In The News
True Stories In The News, along with its sidekicks More True Stories In The News, Easy True Stories In The News, and others, is a resource to look out for. Stories are adapted from – as the title implies – true stories in the news, and usually have some unusual, unbelievable or bizarre focus: the woman who drove to work with her cat on top of her car; the man who invented a bed that yells at you and throws you on the floor if you don’t wake up; babies switched at birth in Brazil. My personal favorite has to be Dear Mr. Andropov, the story of Samantha Smith, the American girl who wrote a letter to the Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Andropov in the early 80’s discussing peace between the US and USSR and received a personal invitation to the country (damn, I think I’m too old to do this, but it was a good idea!).
Here at the TEFL Logue, the natural comparison for these books is of course Breaking News English, the (unrelated) website which provides several adapted current news stories per week, along with a wealth of discussion questions, a listening, and vocabulary exercises. Both have their own advantages – clearly if you’re online reading this post, you have internet access and the website will likely be more accessible than the book. BNE is both more current and more extensive – both in the topics of articles and accompanying activities. True Stories In The News differs in that while the level of the articles varies, they tend to be lower in level – so if your students aren’t yet at a level high enough to read BNE, this may be a good substitute.