simple reads

This is for more advanced students.  These things are from Voice of America Learning English and The Smithsonian.  The words in these stories will not be very difficult.   These are basic but not easy things to read.

You can find some history, American culture, and literature here.

The yearly National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., has come to an end. One of its final events was a huge celebration of Japanese arts and culture. The celebration is called Sakura Matsuri. Sakura means “cherry blossom” in Japanese, while Matsuri is the Japanese word for “festival.” It is the largest one-day Japanese culture event in the United States. Thousands of people attended the 58th annual Sakura Matsuri Street Festival. They enjoyed the tastes, sounds and feel of Japan. Some visitors even arrived at the festival dressed up as Japanese anime characters. The event featured sellers of Japanese foods and products. It also had performers demonstrating Japanese arts. The Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. puts on the event each year. Culinary Arts Pavilion The chance to taste special Japanese food is a big draw for visitors. The festival featured a Culinary Arts Pavilion. Here, different groups of Japanese cooks described the history of traditional foods and explained how to make them at home. Home-style cooking The Care Fund is a Japanese-American non-profit organization. It provides information and social support for Japanese and Japanese Americans. During the Sakura Matsuri festival, Care Fund members explained to visitors how to make Gyudon and Sakura Mochi at home. Gyudon, which means “beef bowl,” is a dish made of rice, beef and onion. It is eaten with soy sauce and fish sauce. Sakura Mochi is a round, pink rice cake wrapped with a cherry blossom leaf. The treat is usually eaten in springtime. Wonder of Wagashi Yoshitaka Nishino is a professional Japanese cook of sweet treats. He is the head of Matsukawaya, a famous Japanese sweets company. At the street festival in Washington, Nishino demonstrated how to make Wagashi. In Japanese, [...]
Tue, Apr 17, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Haitians are worried about changes taking place in the Little Haiti area of Miami, Florida. Little Haiti is considered “the cultural heart of the Haitian diaspora” in the United States. Many Haitians fled from their homeland and sailed to the U.S. mainland in the 1980s. Some of them established the Little Haiti neighborhood in Florida's largest city. Today the energetic neighborhood is filled with Haitian-owned businesses, including restaurants and stores selling works of art. On Saturdays, music from Haiti and other Caribbean countries fills the air outside Little Haiti's Caribbean Marketplace. People buy and enjoy tasty treats from local eateries. Farther down the sidewalk, a group of girls and women in traditional Creole clothing work on dance moves. Often there are artists busy creating paintings, and performances by musicians. Today many locals are concerned about efforts to expand and develop parts of the colorful neighborhood. They note how wealthy individuals seem to be buying up property and displacing poor people. They fear that this gentrification will lead to Haitian culture and people disappearing from the area. "Because of gentrification - it's the only thing that we have so we're trying to keep this going, said Hoppy Duroseau, who lives in Little Haiti. Born in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti, Duroseau immigrated to the United States at age four. He is now involved with marketing for the Caribbean Marketplace on social media. "We want to keep it busy all the time because if not - then we'll lose this place and we'll no longer have Little Haiti,” he said. “Little Haiti is the only one in the world. So we need to keep this." To slow these changes, some Haitians hope to see the Caribbean Marketplace operate seven days a week. They believe this would help support the community economically. Gentrification in effect Over the years, the Little Haiti neighborhood has [...]
Sun, Apr 15, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Cover of book Viking Tales by Chris Rose

Asgard is a country, which Odin, Willy and Ve made for themselves. Odin populated it with his sons, the rare inhabitants of many other worlds (Njord, Freyr and Freya from Van and Loki from the Giants). The souls of the warriors who died with a sword in their hands also came to this country. The latter live in Valhalla and wait for the last battle. The Ases are gods who send protection to the Earth for people from the giants. The Ases observe the life of mankind. One of the main differences between the Viking religion and many other ones is the existence of some negative qualities for the gods. They are no longer considered infalliable as the Christian god. They are not absolutely good like the Chinese gods. The Ases bear (though in the future) responsibility for their atrocities, in contrast to the Greek Olympians.

Total words: 10695
Unique words: 812

Words, you might not know:queen, armour, jewellery, keyhole, goodnight, chariot, lying, waking, snore, connected, salty, greedy, cloak, farmhouse, thunder, bum, veil, disappointing, blonde, fastest, goddess, necklace, skeleton, hammer, bored, castle, loudly, axis, goodbye, frighten, grind.

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Sun, Apr 15, 2018, Continue reading at the source
Our story today is called "Paul's Case." Willa Cather wrote it. Donna de Sanctis​ adapted it for VOA Learning English. "Paul's Case" will be told in two parts. Here is Kay Gallant with part one of the story. Paul hated school. He did not do his homework. He did not like his teachers. Paul's father did not know what to do with him. His teachers did not know either. One afternoon, all his teachers at Pittsburgh High School met together with him to discuss his case. Paul was late. When he entered the room his teachers sat waiting for him. He was tall for his age and very thin. His clothes were too small for him, but they were clean. He had a bright red flower in the button hole of his black jacket. One of the teachers asked Paul why he had come to the meeting. Paul said politely that he wanted to do better in school. This was a lie. Paul often lied. His teachers began to speak. They had many complaints. One said Paul talked to the other students instead of paying attention to the lessons. Another said Paul always sat in class with his hands covering his eyes. A third teacher said Paul looked out the window instead of looking at her. His teachers attacked him without mercy. Paul's eyebrows moved up and down as his teachers spoke. His smile never left his face, but his fingers shook as he touched the flower on his coat. At last the meeting was over. Paul's smile got even wider. He bowed gracefully and left the room. His teachers were angry and confused. The art teacher spoke for all of them when he said there was something about Paul that he didn't understand. "I don't think he really means to be bad," [...]
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, Continue reading at the source
The videos on Love Stories TV website have drama, romance, and beautiful clothes mixed with costly settings and highly technical camera shots. Is it Hollywood or is it real life? Sometimes the line seems to disappear. Love Stories TV shows videos of people getting married and taking part in different events leading up to the big moment: their wedding day. Many modern-day wedding videos now compete for production values with Hollywood movies. Rachel Silver is the founder and head of Love Stories TV, a website for watching and sharing wedding videos. Silver says she got the idea for the site from talking to women she worked with. They told her how they had begun to watch wedding videos with their girlfriends one night and could not stop. Silver remembers looking at some videos herself. “I was thinking this is the best content I've ever seen . . . It's real people, real stories, but professional production.” Silver says Love Stories TV now has thousands of wedding films from around the world. Some come from newlyweds. Filmmakers also offer videos to the site. The videos often include information about the videographers, food, flower providers, clothing makers and other services used. One can watch the videos just for fun. But they also can help people in planning for their own wedding day. Wedding services information is searchable on the site by subject, including place, religion, and culture. Karly Carrow got married last December. She said she had no problems sharing her video with Love Stories TV. She said it took 30 seconds to post the film. Carrow said she wanted to make things easier for others planning a wedding. She said she thinks people struggle about budgeting for a wedding video. “Hopefully,” she said “they'll be inspired to spend the money and understand the importance and the value in the long run.” So who exactly is [...]
Fri, Apr 13, 2018, Continue reading at the source