ESL Magazine

ESL Magazine

Ease into English with EnglishClub’s ESL Magazine.

Here you’ll find short readings in easy English. From real-life news, to recipes, reviews, bios and fun facts – there’ll be something for everyone. Flip through our magazine – and join the discussion by leaving your comments!

8 Oct 2014 by Editor | Filed under ESL Magazine

This quiz is based on The Countries Song video
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23 Jul 2011 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

English Club +1

Why use Google+?

1. convenient for gmail users
2. share content and thoughts with specific circles of people
3. try something new
4. have group video chats
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2 Dec 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Are you claustrophobic?

When Grandma said she was buying a scooter, we thought she meant the kind that you ride on. The typical mobility scooter is similar  to an electric wheelchair.

We were surprised when Grandma asked if the kids wanted a ride in her new scooter. Didn’t she mean a ride on her scooter? When we got to the parking garage, we understood what Grandma meant. Her new scooter was more like a car! It even had its own parking spot. The kids fought over who got to have a ride with Grandma first. Everyone took a turn, except me.

Why didn’t I want a ride in Grandma’s Mr. Bean car?
Read on »

28 Nov 2010 by Natalie Gordon | Filed under ESL Magazine

The TOEFL iBT (Internet based TOEFL) has a speaking section. The speaking section accounts for ¼ of your total TOEFL score. The section will take you 20 minutes to complete.

There are six tasks that you will record speaking responses for. The first two are Independent tasks. For these you will be asked to speak about a familiar topic. You have 15 seconds to prepare and 45 seconds to speak. An example question is “Would you rather watch a movie or read a book in your free time? Include details to support your opinion”.
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17 Nov 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine


How do you soothe a crying baby?

The crying began when she was about three weeks old. I said to my doctor: “What happened to my happy baby?” My doctor answered, “She woke up!”

For the first few days or weeks of a newborn’s life sleep is the main event. Then one day the baby wakes up and realizes she is out of the womb. “Put me back!” my baby cried. She could not get comfortable. No matter what we did, we could not soothe her.
Read on »

10 Nov 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine


Do animals get jealous?

The children were gathered around the petting zoo admiring the ponies and goats and llamas. Then along came King and Weston. The ponies went berserk when they saw the mounted police on their turf. The parents and children wondered what the ponies were thinking.

Did the ponies want the horses to come closer? Did the ponies want the horses to go away? Did these miniature horses wish they were as big and beautiful as the animals that roamed free on the other side of the chain link fence?
Read on »

3 Nov 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

When all else fails, improvise!

A childhood pal of mine gave herself the Mommy of the Year Award after leaving pumpkin shopping to the last minute. She drove all over the city and could not find any pumpkins for her little ones to carve. This friend is a very busy woman and always makes time for everyone in life, including her clients, her husband, her children and her friends. This juggling act takes a lot of talent and I am always amazed by her energy. When she sarcastically gave herself this award on Halloween day I had to laugh. I was sure she would come up with something interesting. She did not disappoint.
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6 Oct 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Today’s Wordle Wednesday theme is Halloween! Will you accept this week’s Wordle challenge?

Your Task

  1. Create a list of words and phrases about Halloween in a document on your computer.
  2. Use ~ to keep phrases together. (Type a word more than once to see it bigger.)
  3. Open Wordle. Click Create.
  4. Paste your list. Click Go.
  5. Change the colour, font, and format of your Worlde until it is just right. You can use Randomize or design your Wordle manually.
  6. Save your Wordle to the Public Gallery. Use the Title: Halloween. Use the Username: EnglishClub1 (one word, no spaces, capital E and C). This will keep all of our Wordles together.
  7. Come back to this post and share a link to your Halloween Wordle! (You can also take a screenshot of your Wordle and share it on MyEC. To get a fun Halloween border like the one below, try

How to Use Wordle

1 Oct 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Your written English doesn’t have to be perfect for people to understand you. It does need to be tidy. You will get your point across more easily if your presentation looks neat.

Here are 3 secrets for tidying up your written English:

1. Use proper capitalization.
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22 Sep 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Thank you to all of the friends who participated in our first Wordle Wednesday last week! September is a special month, isn’t it? This week we are going to create Wordles about our countries.

Your Task

  1. Create a list of words and phrases about your country in a document on your computer.
  2. Use ~ to keep phrases together.(Type a word more than once to see it bigger.)
  3. Open Wordle. Click Create.

Read on »

10 Sep 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

How to Use WordleOn the official website, Wordle is defined as a “toy for generating word clouds”. Wordle is useful for:

  • brainstorming or reflecting
  • remembering vocabulary
  • studying for an exam
  • summarizing a chat or discussion
  • adding a visual element to a blog post
  • sharing thoughts or notes on a certain subject
  • exploring colour palettes or fonts
  • creating fun thank you notes or greeting cards for friends or loved ones
  • displaying creativity
    Read on »
7 Sep 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

They say laughter is the best medicine. It can help you get through an illness. It can help you grieve a loss. It can even cure depression. A laugh a day keeps the doctor away, but can it also help you learn English?

Imagine an English class that was completely based on comedy. Is this laughable? It might go something like this:

9:00: Enter class. Read joke of the day on the board. Laugh a little. It wasn’t that funny, but you
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25 Aug 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“Are the eggs fertilized? If so, the babies will arrive soon.”

The winning caption was submitted by James Hawkins.

Read on »

23 Aug 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

This month’s burning question came in from a member of My English Club.

Q: I really would like to join an audio challenge but I don’t know how to record my voice. Would you please tell me how?

A: It looks like you’ve already answered your own question here and participated in the challenge here. Others may find some general instructions for all operating systems helpful. If you do nothing else in August, create your first English recording!

Instructions for recording and uploading your first MP3 in English:
Read on »

18 Aug 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“Your life is so dull, ladies and gentlemen.”

Thanks for all of your captions! The winning caption was submitted by MyEC member Rosenmaiden.

This image for this week’s WW was submitted by Natasha Yankovskaya. Do you want to submit a photo to ESL Magazine for Wordless Wednesday? Upload your photo to the MyEC photo gallery and send a message to Tara with a link to your photo. Please submit photos that you took with your own camera. You can also play Wordless Wednesday on your own blog on MyEC. Don’t forget to submit your photo to the official Wordless Wednesday site. Thanks for playing! Check out all of the Wordless Wednesday #8 images on MyEC.

12 Aug 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

In English, a word can have many different meanings. This video offers an excellent opportunity to explore some of these words. Can you figure out which words are being portrayed in each segment? Choose your favourite frame from the video and describe it in words. (Be sure to include the exact time of the frame you are describing.)

4 Aug 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“What did you expect? Extensions?”

The winning caption was submitted by Mira Šeatović-Wranka.
Read on »

21 Jul 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

You have to see it to believe it.

Niagara Falls is one of those places where you can truly say the photos don’t do it justice. On the other hand, many people say “once you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it”. In other words, you may want to take other people there, but you’ll never experience it in the same way. However, if you’ve only seen the Falls in daylight, it’s worth a second trip to see them at night. You’ll understand why Niagara Falls is the honeymoon capital of the world!

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Niagara Falls:

Where is Niagara Falls?
Niagara Falls is located at an international border between Ontario (province), Canada and New York (state), US. You can fly into Toronto, Ontario (125 kilometres from Canadian side) or Buffalo, New York (41 kilometres from US side). You can then rent a car or take a tour bus to the Falls. See Map. The fresh water that flows over the Falls comes from the Great Lakes.

How big is Niagara Falls?
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14 Jul 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“I will be right back!”

The winning caption was submitted by Carlos Augusto.
Read on »

14 Jul 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

writing-challenge-21Did you know that English learners practise writing on MyEC? There are many different ways to do this, including participating in chat rooms, joining group discussions, and writing blogs. You can also join the Monthly Writing Challenges.

This month is a great month to join the writing challenge. We’re creating an EnglishClub Fashion Show. Are you interested in joining in on the fun?

You will need:
a) A MyEC page. Not a member? Join today. It’s free!
b) A photo of a person in interesting clothing.
c) An hour or less to read the instructions and complete this month’s assignment on your own blog.

Why participate in the Writing Challenges?

1) You’ll make new friends from all over the world.
2) You’ll find instant readers for your blog posts.
3) You can practise English with real English teachers. If you have a question, just ask! All levels welcome.
4) You’ll learn many new words and phrases.
5) You’ll discover that writing is fun!

7 Jul 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“Every black cloud hides a pack of brilliant beams.”

Winning caption submitted by Magic Meemo.
Read on »

7 Jul 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

This Wordle was designed by using words written by English learners and teachers in the comments of the MyEC discussion World Cup Stuff for English learners.

Choose at least one word from the image above and create your own sentence about the 2010 World Cup in the comments below.

*You can also create your own World Cup Wordle and share it in the Wordle Gallery or add it to your own blog. Don’t forget to share a link with us!

30 Jun 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“Stones, stones, stones… Where are my icebergs?? I wanna go home!”

Winning caption submitted by Ilona Wolnik

Read on »

28 Jun 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

This month’s burning question came via a follower of @EnglishClub on Twitter. This friend used 3 pleases, so it must be an important question.

Question: “A bad habit is smoking cigarettes.” Is this sentence wrong?

Answer: Learners sometimes request a second opinion if they disagree with an Answer Key or a teacher’s mark on a test. In many cases the construction of the usage in question follows a simple rule. It looks right, and the learner cannot understand what the problem is. Sometimes the problem is related to ambiguity. This is just a fancy word that means that a word or phrase could have two or more meanings.

Here are some sentences that are ambiguous:
Read on »

23 Jun 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

“Don’t believe everything the boys tell you!”

Winning caption submitted by LaurieJeanne Brown.
Read on »

29 May 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

We received this question many times this month due to a few changes to our MyEC settings. Hopefully this post will help all of our members understand why we are now moderating photo uploads on MyEC.

Question: I uploaded many photos to MyEC and only one or two were accepted. Why don’t all of my pictures appear in the photo gallery like they used to? Why do I have to wait to see them?

Answer: We are manually moderating photo uploads on MyEC now. That means we look at each one and approve it or delete it. Why do we delete some images? Because our members are here to learn or teach English and we want to help them do this. What happened before the rules?
Read on »

6 May 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine


The word “jeans” likely comes from the Italian sailors of Genoa who wore uniforms made out of a sturdy type of fabric in the 16th century. The modern denim blue jeans with the rivets on the pockets were patented in America by Levi Strauss and his partner Jacob Davis. The first Levi’s overalls were used by miners during the California the Gold Rush. These pants sold for less than two dollars per pair! Blue jeans became fashionable for Hollywood stars and American high school students in the fifties. By the sixties and seventies blue jeans had become fashionable in many parts of the world.

Shades of Denim

Traditional jeans are dyed with “indigo” blue. Other colours of denim (green, red) go in and out of style, but blue jeans are always “in”. Here are few shades of denim:
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29 Apr 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Each month receives many questions from English learners and teachers. Some questions come in our forums or Facebook discussions. Other questions arrive via email, MyEC wall posts, or even Twitter. This one came from a new member on MyEC. Please help us answer it by leaving your own ideas in the comments.

Question: I feel bored when I’m learning English. What can I do to make learning English more fun?
Read on »

8 Apr 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Did you grow up with music in your home? What kind of music did your parents, aunts, or siblings listen to? Most of us end up loving or hating our parents’ favourite music. Sometimes it takes a long time for us to appreciate our parents’ musical taste. The video game The Beatles: Rockband is popular because this music has been passed on from a previous generation. The whole family can enjoy the music together.

Which songs and artists are on the soundtrack of your childhood? The most interesting childhood soundtracks come from homes where the family members have different musical tastes.
Read on »

31 Mar 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Each month we answer a new question from an English learner. Did you know is also for teachers? Many teachers have burning questions as well. One of those teachers is our very own founder, Josef Essberger. This month he has a burning question for you. Please take a moment to think about Josef’s question and leave a response.

Q. Are automatic spellcheckers a good thing?
Read on »

20 Mar 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Have you read J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series? Let me ask this again. Have you read the Harry Potter series in English? Many English learners on MyEC name Harry Potter as their favourite book. The 7 part fantasy series has attracted millions of readers of all ages from all over the world.

Why do so many people love Harry Potter?
Read on »

1 Mar 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Kim Yu-na, already a celebrity in South Korea, set a world record when she received 150.05 in her figure skating free skate on Day 14 at the Olympics. South Korea had put tremendous pressure on the 19-year old to win the first figure skating gold in the country’s history. Anyone who watched the performance knows that Kim Yu-na did not disappoint.
Read on »

25 Feb 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

The founder of EC himself has already answered an important question this month (How long is a question?); however, we didn’t want this burning question on vocabulary to go unanswered.

Question: What are some ways to improve my vocabulary other than reading books and newspapers?

Answer: Many learners refuse to believe that they can learn to enjoy reading in English. The truth is, if you don’t learn to love reading in general, you will have a more difficult time improving your vocabulary long-term. Instead of giving up on books and newspapers you may need to find ones that are more appropriate to your level.

I will never forget a Japanese student I had who came to school an hour before all of his peers to read all of the newspapers he could find.
Read on »

27 Jan 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Recently we asked our EnglishClub Facebook fans, tweeters, and chatters to share the English words they find most difficult to pronounce. We posted the first 25 most difficult words along with audio practice right here on ESL Magazine.

Some of you loved the first 25 words and enjoyed practising these with us. A handful of you felt the words were not difficult enough. Many of you shared other words that you (or your students) find difficult.

Here are the first 25 words.

Here is the second batch (compiled based on comments from learners and teachers via EC, Facebook, and MyEC).
Read on »

21 Jan 2010 by Tara Benwell | Filed under ESL Magazine

Do you do yoga? Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India. It is now a common method of relaxation in the Western world. People take yoga courses to create a balance of mind, body, and spirit. The word yoga means union. After learning the poses, you can do yoga at home on your own time.

In one Indian state, prisoners are being rewarded for taking yoga courses.
Read on »