IELTS Mini-Readings, 15 of 25: One of the first great ones

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Galileo

Galileo was born in 1564 in Italy, and died there in 1642, aged 77 years old. You might not know much about him, but the great scientist Einstein called Galileo the ‘father of modern science’, and most other scientists agree with this.

So what did Galileo do? Science was very simple in those days, and no one knew much about the stars and planets. Galileo improved the telescope, and began to seriously study the stars and planets, and made many new discoveries. He was one of the first to say that the earth moved around the sun, rather than the sun moving around the earth, and to say that the laws of nature could be based on mathematics. He began using mathematics and performing experiments to make some theories about the movement of objects. He began using simple machines, and invented several new ones.

All this might sound rather straightforward now, but in Galileo’s time, superstition was rife. Almost everyone believed that God made everything, and we should never question God. Galileo was one of the first men to break this tradition. He showed that people could understand the world around them through mathematics and science, and that the church could be wrong. At that time, the church was very powerful, playing a big role in society, and its members did not like the way Galileo made them seem less important. Thus, Galileo’s life was difficult, even dangerous, and he was carefully watched. 

So, although Galileo did not make any single really great achievement, he was one the first believers in the scientific method, and he set the path for others, and for this reason he is considered one of the greatest scientists of all time.

Question Time

How did Einstein describe Galileo? ……………………………………….………………

What did Galileo use to study the stars? …………………………………………..………

What did he invent? ………………………………………………….…………….……….

How did the church feel about Galileo? ……………………………………….………….

What did they do to Galileo?  ……………………………………….………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Telescope

Law

Experiment   

Theory

Superstition

Rife

Tradition

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 14 of 25: Another famous scientists

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Leonardo DaVinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born in Italy, in 1452, and died in France in 1519, aged 67 – but in those 67 years, he showed his genius in very many ways. Many people now consider him to be one of the smartest people ever; however, Leonardo did not show his writings to anyone. He kept most of his notebooks a secret, and thus he did not influence other scientists.

Leonardo is known mostly as a painter. His most famous painting is the Mona Lisa, yet only 15 of his paintings are around today. This is because Leonardo experimented with different sorts of paints – and many of these paints were not good, and the paintings quickly lost their colours.

Many of Leonardo’s drawing remain in his notebooks. They show Leonardo’s imagination in science, engineering, and inventions – and reveal that he was far ahead of other scientists of his time. Leonardo drew flying machines, cars, and machines for making things. Almost none of these were constructed, however – they just remained hidden in Leonardo’s notebooks.

Leonardo worked in Italy in his younger days, as a painter and artist for the church, but later moved to France, where he continued his work for the king of France, and became famous there. The interesting thing is that, although we know about Leonardo’s life, we don’t know much about Leonardo the man. He never married, had no children, had no close friends, and wrote nothing personal in his notebooks, and no one really knows what he looked like. The picture above, which is often used to represent Leonardo, may not actually be him. Yes, Leonardo is very famous, but also mysterious.

Question Time

Did Leonardo influence other scientists? Why (not)? ……………………………………

What is his most famous painting? …………………………………………………….…..

Why have we lost many of his paintings? ………..……………………………….……….

Why are most of Leonardo’s drawings? ………………………….……….……………….

Do we know much about Leonardo’s personal life? ………………………..……………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Genius

To influence

To experiment         

A drawing     

Imagination  

Mysterious   

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 13 of 25: Where is the biggest one?

Khalifa Tower.jpg

The Tallest Building in the World

Many countries are building taller and taller buildings, since everyone wants their country to have the tallest one of all. So, things are always changing, but right now, the tallest building in the world is in a small country in the Middle-East, called Dubai – and the building is called ‘Khalifa Tower’ [See the picture above]. This building is 830 metres high. That’s almost one kilometre, straight up!

So, why did they construct this building? Dubai has a lot of oil, and this has given the country a lot of money to spend, but this oil will run out one day, so the government wants to generate revenue from other places, such as from business and tourists. One way to make businesses and people come to the country is to have a world-famous building – and being the tallest building in the world is a good start. However, the building cost a staggering $80 billion to construct – so it was certainly an expensive decision to make.

The tower was constructed by Samsung, a Korean Company, and there were many special problems involved. For a start, the temperature is very high (up to 50°C in the summer) and this causes problems due to the expansion of the metal material. Some of it had to be put together at night, when it was cooler, and special fans were used to blow away the dust and sand in the air. Here is another interesting thing: the building is so big, with so many glass windows, that it takes 40 people four months just to clean them all.

Question Time

Where is the tallest building in the world? ………………………………………………

How high is it, and how much did it cost? ………………………..……….………..…..

Why did this country decide to build this building? …………………………………….

Which company built this building? ……………………..……………………………….

Why did they do some of the work at night? ……………………….……………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

To construct

Oil

Revenue

To be staggering

Expansion [to expand]

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 12 of 25: Amazing structures; really!

Empire State Building.jpg

Skyscrapers

A skyscraper is a very tall building which has people living inside it. To describe these buildings, people sometimes use the word ‘supertall’ (over 300 metres), and ‘mega-tall’ (over 600 metres). One thing is certain: people are building taller and taller buildings – and in the future, we will probably be saying ‘super-mega-tall’.

Being so tall, skyscrapers need a strong steel structure, with thin (and light) walls – often made of glass, one of the lightest of materials. These buildings most also be strong enough to stand upright in strong winds and during earthquakes. They obviously must also have very good elevators, since no one would want to walk all the way to the top floor.

So why do we build such tall buildings? The answer is that skyscrapers are usually in city centres of big cities, where the price of land is very expensive – so much that it becomes more economical to build upwards instead of outwards This does create one problem: where to park all the cars of the people who stay in that building. Thus, many large buildings have underground carparks, or adjoining multi-level carparks.

Obviously, skyscraper cost a lot to build, but they also last a long time. For example, the famous Empire State Building in America [see the picture above] was built in 1931, and is still being used. Skyscrapers also cost a lot to operate, since all the water, food, and parts, have to be carried to the very top. In hot weather, they need a lot of energy to stay cool, and washing the windows is a difficult and dangerous job. Still, with the land being so expensive, we just keep building more of these ‘mega-tall’ buildings.

Question Time

What do we call buildings over 600 metres high? ………………………………..………

Why are the walls of skyscrapers often made of glass? ………………………….……..

Why do they need elevators? ………………………………………………….…..….……

Why do we build skyscrapers? ………………………………….………………………….

 Why are skyscrapers expensive to operate? ………………….…………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

To describe

A structure

An elevator

To be economical    

To be adjoining

To operate

                                                    

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 10 of 25: Boring or interesting, that is the question?

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Museums

A museum has a large collection of objects which are very important for science, culture, or history. It allows people to see them, and attempts to explain their importance. Most cities in the world have at least one big museum; however, it wasn’t always like that.

Early museums were just collections of artifacts owned by rich people. As the world was being increasingly explored, new books, animals, plants, and objects – both natural and historical – were discovered, and the wealthiest people in society often bought and collected them to show their status. They kept all the objects in special rooms to show their friends, or simply feel more educated and worthy than other people. However, many scientists also wanted to look at these objects, as did the public, who were interested in all these new and wonderful objects. Eventually the government responded, and the ‘public’ museum was invented, open to everyone to enter and enjoy.

For example, there was a rich man in England called Elias Ashmole, who had an extensive personal collection of objects. When he died, his will donated his collection to the government and so the ‘Ashmolean Museum’ opened. This was probably the first ever ‘public’ museum. In France, the first public museum was the Louvre Museum in Paris, opened in 1793. But as museums collected more and more objects, it became difficult to show them all, and they began to seem a little boring.

Modern museums are changing. Many of them have activities which allow children to play and learn. Also, with technology improving everyday, people can now see and study the objects on the Internet, or with special displays, so perhaps museums will become less important in the future. Time will tell.

Question Time

Do most cities in the world have a big museum? ………………………………..………

Who owned the first museums? ……………………………………………………..……..

Who did these people have museums? …………………………………………..….……

What was the name of the first ‘public’ museum? ………………………………….…….

How do many people see and study museum objects today? ………………….………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Culture

Artifacts

Status

Public

Extensive

A will

To donate                                

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

Idiomatic Vocabulary 3: ‘fingers crossed’

The PhrasesFingers_Crossed

  • Fingers crossed
  • Knock on wood

 

Their Definition

Something you say when you hope for something to happen.

 

Discussion

This phrase is useful because we often wish for things to happen, and in the IELTS Speaking Test, we talk about our lives, our wishes, and our future hopes. These phrases are interchangeable, but can not really be used for IELTS Writing.

These phrases are too individual and situational to be used in IELTS Writing.

 

Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “Well, one day – fingers crossed – I can get a mainstream publisher interested in my novels.”
  • “The market in China could be huge, so – knock on wood – maybe I can get some books published there.”
  • [For students] “I hope to go to an overseas university, and – fingers crossed – hopefully my IELTS mark will be good enough.”
  • [For students] “My aim is to work for a big banking companies, and – knock on wood – it may happen in the near future.”

IELTS Mini-Readings, 9 of 25: Australia has lots of cute things, you know?

Joey in pouch.jpg

Australian Marsupials

Australia has many strange animals, but most of them belong to a single type of animal, known as a marsupial. So, what is a marsupial? Well, the answer is that all marsupials carry their babies in a pouch – or bag – around their stomachs, as you can see in the picture above. The other thing is that marsupial babies are very tiny and undeveloped, and must crawl up themselves into this pouch. These babies are known as ‘joeys’ – and at the beginning they are only the size of a jelly bean. Once the joey safely gets into the pouch, it will stay there for several months. Eventually, much bigger now, it sticks its head out, and sees the world for the first time. [Again, look at the picture above.]

Some well-known marsupials are kangarooswallabies, koalas, possumswombats and Tasmanian devils. Most marsupials are in Australia, but there are some in South and Central America. The big question is: why are marsupials so different? The answer is that they evolved that way. About 50 million years ago, the first early marsupials reached Australia. Australia eventually became an island, and these early marsupials were left alone to evolve into many different types – and all possessed with that signature ‘pouch’ to show what sort of animals they are.

One interest fact is that long ago in the past, some of these marsupials were very big. Diprotodon was the largest  marsupial of all. It lived 1.6 million years ago, and was as big as a small elephant. Unfortunately, it became extinct about 50,000 years ago. Some of the earliest people in Australia may have actually seen them, and may have contributed to their extinction. Think how much meat just one diprotodon could provide to an aboriginal tribe!

Question Time

What is the first thing which all marsupials have? ………………………………………

What is the second thing? ……………………………….……..

How long does a baby marsupial stay in the mother’s pouch? ……………………….

As well as Australia, where do marsupials live? ……………………………………….

What was the name of the largest marsupial of all? ……………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

To carry

Pouch

To evolve     

signature (adj)

An island

To be extinct // an extinction

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 8 of 25: What’s the cutest animal of all?

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Koalas

Koalas are the most famous animals in Australia – probably because they look like large teddy bears. They belong to a group of animals known as marsupials. They live in a type of tree known as eucalyptus trees, since koalas can only eat the leaves of these trees. These leaves do not provide much energy, so koalas sleep for up to 20 hours a day. There, very high up, they live alone, quietly and slowly watching the world.

Koalas were once hunted as food (by the first black people of Australia), then for their fur (by the white people, who arrived later), but now koalas are protected. Being so high up in trees, they have a fair safe life – although they easily die in bushfires (since they cannot move very fast from a tree). Sometimes they fall from trees, but this is mostly the younger koalas, or when two male koalas fight. In these modern times, pet dogs sometimes catch and kill them, but the biggest problem now is that many of the eucalyptus forests are being destroyed to give land for houses and farms.

Koalas might seem to have easy lives, but they only live about 15 years in the wild, and do not die comfortably. As the koala gets older, its teeth begin to wear down (from chewing all those tough eucalyptus leaves). Eventually the older koalas can’t chew at all, and they die because they can no longer eat – that is, die of starvation, which is certainly not the nicest way to end your life, right?

Question Time

What group of animals does the koala belong to? ………………………………………

Why do koalas sleep so much? …………………………………………………….……..

Why did the white people in Australia kill koalas? ……………………………..….……

What is the biggest problem for koalas now? …………………………………….…….

What eventually kills most koalas? ………………………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Energy

To hunt

Fur     

Modern

To wear down

To chew        

Starvation

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 7 of 25: We have to live with them, right?

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Insects

What is an insect? Well, the answer is that it is small, has a three-part body, three pairs of legs, and one pair of antennae (those things sticking out from their heads). They can be somewhat beautiful, like the picture above; yet insects can also be ugly and somewhat disgusting [check the previous post]. And insects are everywhere, all over the world. Some scientists guess that 90% of all the different living things on this planet are insects. The only place you cannot find insects is in the oceans.

Most insects begin from eggs, and many can fly as well as walk. They make noises, sometimes quite loudly – for example, by rubbing their wings together. And, of course, they eat. For this reason, many insects are pests. They eat important crops, such as fruit, vegetables, and grains, and can spread diseases. Mosquitoes can be very bad in this way because they bite, and in doing so, put diseases inside our bodies. Yet insects sometimes help us. They pollinate flowers (like our lovely butterflies in the picture above), and this is very important to keep plants and forests healthy. If that is hard to understand, a simpler example is bees, which give us honey.

In some parts of the world, in native cultures, people eat insects. This is very rare in the developed world, where people have better things to eat, but still, some people see many good points of insect-eating. It is cheap, it helps the environment, and it can be healthy. Also, for many poor people in the world, in can be a good source of food. The trouble is, no one would ever say that insects taste good.

Question Time

How many legs do insects have? …………………………………………………………

Where is the only place you can’t find insects? ……………………………….……..

How do some insects make noises? ………………………………………….……….

What is the most important thing insects do? ………………………………………….

What are the benefits of eating insects? ……………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

To stick out

Oceans

Pest    

Crops

To pollinate

Environment

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

Idiomatic Vocabulary 2: ‘a real eye-opener’

The Phrase

To be a real eye-openerEye opener

 Its Definition

 An event or experience that is surprising,

and shows you sth. that you did not already know

Discussion

This phrase is useful because it can describe any very surprising thing or event or experience which you have encountered. Admittedly, many people lead quite conventional lives, without encountering really interesting things, but you never know. This phrase is often useful for when describing event when traveling to other countries. Because it involves so much personal reaction, this phrase is more for spoken, not written English.

Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “Oh, when I went into Libya it was a real eye-opener. I realised what a police-state was like, and the word ‘democracy’ finally took some meaning for me.”
  • “The poverty in South America was a real eye-opener. It’s just in-your-face, everyday, and the beggars can be really aggressive.”
  • “In Manilla, I had the opportunity to sleep one night in a slum, and I’ll tell you, that experience was a real eye-opener.”

IELTS Mini-Readings, 6 of 25: What’s the worst insect of all?

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Cockroaches

Cockroaches are those insects we all hate, right? They are considered to be pests: ugly and dirty. They like warm environments. That’s why they are most common in warm countries, and inside buildings, where it is even warmer. This also helps them to hide from other insects which want to eat them. Cockroaches are also quite strong, don’t need much food, and can run quite fast, and this all means that when they are inside a building, they are very hard to remove.

We usually see cockroaches at night, which is the time they like to come out to look for food. When you go to the kitchen, you might come around one, walking over the tables and chairs, or around garbage bins, and in doing so, spreading germs. Obviously, we would rather not have them in our homes. So, how do you fight against them? One way is to keep all food and water away, close the garbage bins tightly, and always clean your floor. Another idea is to block all the holes in the walls and floor, but this is difficult in older homes.

Yet cockroaches have a few surprises. For example, they can ‘talk’ to each other. This is not real talking, but making simple noises to other cockroaches to give messages. They also like being among other cockroaches, and will share food without fighting. It seems that they can make group decisions in some way. Yet, despite this, very few people like cockroaches.

Question Time

What sort of weather do cockroaches prefer? ……………………………………………

Why are cockroaches hard to get rid of? ………………………………….……..

What is the main problem of having cockroaches walking around? …………………..

Is it easy to block all the holes in older homes? …………………………….……….

Do cockroaches fight? …………………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Pests

Remove

Germs

Garbage

Block

Decisions      

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 5 of 25: Who’s the most famous scientist of modern times?

Albert Einstein.jpg

Albert Einstein

Okay, you all recognise the photo above, don’t you? Yes, Albert Einstein is certainly the most famous scientists of the modern era, so let’s find out a little more about him.

Albert Einstein was born in 1879 in Germany, and died in America in 1955, at the age of 76. He is the most famous for his discovery of ‘relativity’ – which was a very new way of thinking about the physical world. When Einstein was studying at university, he began to think that the ideas of Newton [see the previous post] could not be used for all situations – such as when things moved very fast, or when gavity is particularly strong. Like Newton, Einstein had to use mathematics to explain his ideas, and this mathematics became very complicated. It said that strange things could happen at high speed, or in extreme conditions – such as the gravity of ‘black holes’. Many of these things were later proven to actually happen, and this made Einstein world famous. Thus, Einstein was one of the few scientists (alongside Newton) who changed our way of looking at things.

Einstein eventually had to leave Germany, and he move to America, where he lived, studied, and taught, at Princeton University. Like Newton, Einstein did not have many friends. He married two times, but the marriages did not last. He had three children, but two of them died at a young age. However, unlike Newton, Einstein probably enjoyed his life. He liked music, played the violin, travelled, and worked with other scientists. Einstein let his hair grow long, and believed in fairness for everyone in the world. His face and hair style have been copied, and he is now seen as a typical ‘mad scientist’.

  

Question Time

What was Einstein’s most important discovery? …………………………………………

What could happen at high speed or extreme conditions? ……………………..………

Which country did Einstein move to? …………………………………………….……….

Did he have many friends? ……………………………….…………………….………….

Was he a happy man?  Why (not)? ……………………………………….………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Physical

Situation

Complicated 

Speed

Extreme

Typical          

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 4 of 25: Who’s the most famous scientists of the old times?

Isaac Newton.png

Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton was born in 1642 in England, and died there in 1726, at the age of 84. He is one of the most famous scientists of all time. This is because he was the first to realise many of the basic laws of the natural world. His discoveries, in this and in maths, changed people’s thinking, and it would take another 300 years before another scientist (Albert Einstein) could do this.

Before Newton, no one realised that the movement of the planets and stars was controlled by laws. People thought it was all done by God, and something which no one could understand. However, Newton realised the concept of ‘gravity’ – that is, that all solid things attract other things. This is why an apple falls to the earth. Newton used mathematics to work out the ideas behind motion, and used this maths with the planets and stars. He was able to make many predictions, and most of them were proven to be true.

Newton also built telescopes, and developed a theory of colour, and made many mathematical discoveries. For all this, he was given money and a good job by the government and, even in his lifetime, considered by everyone to be a great scientist. However, Newton was never a happy man. He never married, and he had no children, and he found it difficult to make friends. He sometimes behaved strangely, particularly in his later life. Maybe he was a lonely man, who preferred books and thinking – but we are lucky that he did this, right?

Question Time

Why is Newton so famous? ……………………………………………………..…….……

How long did it take for another scientist to become as famous? ………………….…..

What important concept did Newton realise? …………………………………….……….

What other discoveries did he make? …………………………….……………………….

Was he a happy man? Why (not)? …………………………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Basic

Concept

Gravity          

Motion

Prediction

Lonely           

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 3 of 25: What’s the nicest tree?

pine trees.jpg

Pine Trees

Pine trees are one of the most common trees in the northern parts of the world.  They are evergreen (meaning they never lose their sharp thin leaves), and most are very tall, with a fragrant smell. The skin of the tree (bark) is usually thick, and the branches are very regularly arranged on the tree. This all gives them a very nice appearance, and thus they are often planted in parks, gardens, and public spaces. And of course, they are famous for being used as Christmas trees.

One interest thing about pines is that they grow for a long time, sometimes up to 1000 years, or even more. In fact, the oldest living things on earth are trees. Some bristlecone pines (in the White Mountains of California) are almost 5,000 years old, and still going strong. The oldest one of these, called ‘Methuselah’, is over 4,600 years old.

The other interesting thing about pines is the cones which they produce. These cones play a role in many cultures in the Northern Hemisphere, where they are favoured by children as natural toys, or for art and craft purposes. The cones can be male (containing pollen) or female (containing seeds), even on the same tree! The seeds inside are released by birds breaking the cones open, by the wind simply blowing the seeds away, or by natural forest fires which melt parts of the cone. The cone opens up, and the seeds fall out. Wow, that is so simple, right?

Question Time

What does ‘evergreen’ mean? ……………………………………………………………

Why are they often planted in parks and gardens? ……………………………….……..

How old is ‘Methuselah’? ………………………………………………………….……….

How do children use pine cones? ………………………………………………………….

What causes parts of the pine cone to melt? ……………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Fragrant

To arrange

Famous         

To favour

To release

To melt

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 2 of 25: What’s the nicest part of a tree?

Autumn Leaves.jpg

Leaves

Leaves come in all shapes and sizes, but they are mostly always flat, green, and do not cover each other on a tree branch. Why? Well, being flat and well-spaced allows more sunlight to reach the leaf – and sunlight, together with that green stuff (known as chlorophyll) inside the leaf, need to mix together in a very important process known as photosynthesis.

But two other things are needed for the process to work: water and carbon dioxide. The water comes from the ground, and the carbon dioxide from the air. With all these products inside the leaf, the sunlight is changed into energy for the tree. This energy is stored by making a sugar – glucose – and other organic products – for example, more leaves, fruits, and vegetables. This is what we eat. And we eat animals which eat the leaves – meaning that leaves are the basis of the ‘food chain’. In other words, trees, plants, and bushes create all of the organic materials which are needed for life on Earth.

Another very nice result of photosynthesis is that oxygen, which we all breathe, is released. This is, obviously, very important, since photosynthesis keeps up the oxygen levels in the world. And because there are so many leaves, it adds up to a lot of oxygen, and a lot of sunlight changed into energy. If all the energy created by leaves were measured, it would be over three times the power used by people on this earth. Wow, leaves are important, right?

One final thing: in the autumn, many trees decide to shed their leaves as a defence against the oncoming winter. In the process of dropping these leaves, they slowly change colour from green to red/yellow/grey/brown, resulting in beautiful autumn scenes, such as the one in the picture above.

Question Time

Why are leaves usually flat? ……………………………………………………………

What is the green stuff inside leaves called? ………………………………….……..

What is the name of the sugar which leaves make? ……………………….……….

What else do leaves make which is important? …………………………….……….

How much energy do leaves make? …………………………………………………

Word-Learning Time

Do you know the meaning of the underlined words?

Flat

Branch

Carbon dioxide        

Organic

Oxygen

Released 

To shed       

By the way, you can find out more about me at www.aisielts.com .

IELTS Mini-Readings, 1 of 25: Introduction

Beginning of the road.jpg

Hi everyone.

Well, it’s been a while since I have put a post – but that’s because I have been working on a new set of posts, getting them all ready, and it has been quite a big project – 25 posts in all. In this first post, I’ll just explain it.

Many students have been asking me to teach vocabulary, and I usually say that one of the best ways to learn words is through reading. But then the students say that they are too busy, and IELTS readings are too long, hard, and not that interesting.

Hmmmm. Yes, it’s a busy world, and people often don’t have time. So, I thought, why don’t I provide a series of ‘mini-IELTS readings’ on interesting topics – that is, shorter, lighter, more interesting, and something you can easily read on a mobile phone

Hmmmm, but what sort of readings? Well, science-based readings are often used as source material for the real IELTS Reading Test, so why don’t I base all these ‘mini-readings’ on this general theme: science, but written in a more general way, for the average person, and average learner of English!

So, this is the idea. Each of the next 24 posts will contain …

1    a small piece of writing based on science, or scientific analyses of the world (with six selected words underlined).

2    five questions (‘Question Time’) to test how well you have understood the text.

3    a list of those six words (from 1) (‘Word-Learning Time’).

The texts will start from easier (Pre-Intermediate level), and then slowly get harder, ending with Intermediate level – so it should be good for the average learner.

So, this is the beginning of the road [see the picture above]. The readings all begin with the next post.