simple reads

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

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

More than 90 years have passed since Hollywood's official film organization first proposed plans to build its own museum. Those plans are finally becoming a reality, with the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures set to open in 2019. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is building the museum. The organization presents the yearly Academy Awards ceremony, also called the Oscars. The Academy includes more than 8,000 members, including actors, directors and other professionals in the film industry. Museum officials say visitors will be able to "experience the magic of cinema" by learning about all parts of the film-making process. The almost 27,000-square-meter complex is expected to cost $388 million to complete. The project is underway at the site of an historic Los Angeles department store built in 1939. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has used the building since 1994. The Academy Museum will include a 1,000-seat theater inside a huge addition with a rounded glass cover. This so-called “Sphere” will provide extended views of the Hollywood Hills. Film historian Kerry Brougher has been named director of the museum. He told VOA the museum will open as Hollywood continues to seek new ways to entertainment audiences beyond the movie theater. "Film is expanding," Brougher said. "It's in the theaters still, but it's also projected onto buildings. And it's also on your iPhone, it's on your computer." He added that movies often cross over into the art world too, with major exhibitions including film subjects. Brougher says the museum will include areas showing the Academy's collection of 12 million photographs and 80,000 screenplays. The collection also includes props, costumes and other objects from famous films, such as "Casablanca," "Psycho" and "The Ten Commandments." Special collections will also be shown from many film greats, such as Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and [...]
Sun, Dec 03, 2017, Continue reading at the source
We present the first of three parts of the short story "Benito Cereno." It was written by Herman Melville. Here is Shep O'Neal with the story. Captain Benito Cereno hurried aboard his ship. It was ready to sail. A bright sun and a soft breeze promised good weather ahead. The ship's anchor was raised. And the San Dominick -- old but still seaworthy - moved slowly out of the harbor of Valparaiso, on the west coast of Chile. It was carrying valuable products and slaves up the Pacific coast to Callao, another Spanish colonial port near Lima, Peru. The slaves, both male and female, slept on deck. They were not chained, because their owner, Don Alexandro, said they were peaceful. The San Dominick moved steadily forward under a clear sky. The weather showed no sign of change. Day after day, the soft breeze kept the ship on course toward Peru. Slave traffic between Spain's colonial ports in this year of seventeen ninety-nine had been steady. But there were few outbreaks of violence. What happened, therefore, on board the San Dominick could not have been expected. On the seventh day out, before daybreak, the slaves rose up in rebellion. They swept through the ship with handspikes and hatchets moving with the fury of desperate men. The attack was a complete surprise. Few of the crew were awake. All hands, except the two officers on the watch, lay in a deep untroubled sleep. The rebels sprang upon the two officers and left them half dead. Then, one by one, they killed eighteen of the sleeping crew. They threw some overboard, alive. A few hid and escaped death. The rebels tied up seven others, but left them alive to navigate the ship. As the day began to break, Captain Cereno came slowly, carefully up the steps toward the chief [...]
Fri, Dec 01, 2017, Continue reading at the source
As soon as the Thanksgiving holiday is over, Santa Clauses start appearing everywhere – in shopping centers, supermarkets and other places. It takes more than red clothing and a white beard to be a professional Santa. In fact, many aspiring Santas attend special classes. The CW Howard Santa School is in Midland, Michigan. It is the longest continuously running Santa Claus School in the world. This year, it is celebrating its 80th anniversary. VOA recently visited the school. More than 250 Santas have gathered at the school to prepare for their seasonal work. Charlie W. Howard was the Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for 17 years. He started the school in 1937. Tom Valent is the school's current leader. "At that time, there was a great need for good Santas, better Santas. Santas didn't portray the image that we want. Santa Claus stands for all good things and some of the gentlemen that were portraying that image weren't up to par then." The three-day Santa workshop teaches people “Santa sign language,” facts about reindeer and clothing and make-up style. The future Santas also learn about the newest wish list toys, gain interview experience for radio and television and even get advice on how to do their business taxes. Robert Davis has played Santa for 30 years. He has attended the school several times. "I think no matter how good you are at whatever you choose to do, you can always be better. And not only does the school teach you so much, but when you interact with 250 fellow people who love the same thing you do, you learn something new every year." The student Santas' headquarters is the Santa House. Tom Valent designed the house in 1986 to look like those made of gingerbread, a Christmas tradition. Conservative estimates [...]
Fri, Dec 01, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Cover of book Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Holly Golightly is an unbelievable young woman. Her way of life and manners are not always objective. She just follows her heart and not mind. She wants some things and tomorrow she will be interested in some other feelings or ideas. Holly wants to live in wealth and luxury. She manages to reach this goal. Despite of a quite young age she can charm almost everyone who spoke to her. Her behavior can be interpreted in different ways. Someone thinks Holly is a dishonest woman. One can say there is nothing wrong in her attitude towards men. Holly's nature doesn't let her stop and settle in a certain place. Her life is one big endless journey, which corresponds to the inscription on her mailbox: “Miss Holiday Golightly. Travels”.

Film version: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Total words: 17652
Unique words: 1604

Words, you might not know:underclothes, windowed, skinned, boathouse, fatherly, stork, unsigned, mag, mailman, trawler, smartly, housework, raincoat, shyly, lawful, playfully, lying, organizing, tulip, doorbell, childish, cameraman, racing, brandy, packing, portuguese.

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Fri, Dec 01, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This is the video for lesson eight of my Everyday English for ESL course, which is available on Udemy. In this lesson a couple order a meal at a restaurant. You can see the course description below, and find the previous seven videos on my Animated English YouTube channel.

COURSE DESCRIPTION
Do you already have a basic knowledge of English, but want to improve your ability to communicate in real-life situations? And do so in a fun, enjoyable way? Then Everyday English for ESL is just the course for you!

Each lesson begins with a fully-animated dialogue, which presents the vocabulary, grammar, and expressions you need to know in order to communicate successfully in English in a wide range of everyday situations.

The situations include:

• ordering food in a fast food restaurant
• checking-in at the airport
• making an appointment on the phone
• returning goods to a shop

The dialogue is presented with and without speech bubbles, and is followed by:

• a listen and repeat activity to help you improve your pronunciation and intonation
• a listening comprehension passage related to the topic of the lesson
• a series of questions for you to answer about the lesson topic

All the audio material has been recorded by professional voice actors with British or American accents, and each lesson comes with a ten-page downloadable PDF, which contains:

• a full transcript of the lesson
• language notes, explaining key grammar and vocabulary points
• a word list
• a series of language exercises
• a crossword,
• a word search puzzle

Several of these activities can also be done online, and the extra resources include Quizlet flashcard sets featuring the vocabulary used in each lesson.

At the end of the course, there's a Final Quiz, to test what you have learnt.

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Fri, Dec 01, 2017, Continue reading at the source