A self-learning app for English vocabulary suitable for Intermediate High to Advanced (B1-B2) ESL students

Students at home and looking for new ways to improve their English vocabulary? Reading is always a wonderful way to build up passive vocabulary, but it can be daunting for mid-level students to read authentic materials if they have to look up every third word. That’s where StoryPlanet English comes into the picture.

In a nutshell, students read a new mini-story every week and can look up difficult words just by clicking on them. For the time being, this is also absolutely free! No registration required, no in-app advertising. All stories are suitable for learners aged 10 and up (roughly).

There is also a paid version of the app, which will be explained further down. For Easter time, however, why not take advantage of what’s free in the app? Plus, we’re offering free quizzes for you to share with your students, based on the vocabulary in the stories.

This Teacher’s Package has been created to make it as easy as possible for you to use this free offer. It is a simple way to motivate your students to read English and make sure they learn new vocabulary, too!

Please note: in case you or your students can’t use an app, you may also use these materials without the app, of course. Your students will not have the advantage of looking up the context-specific definitions in the app, however. They will have to look them up with a dictionary, or you can explain them.

Following is the step-by-step explanation of everything in the Teacher’s Package. You can download the individual elements in the list by clicking on them. Or click here to download all the documents at once.

1.) Your students need to download the app and read all the new stories we are publishing in it before and just after Easter. We’ve prepared a Word file called the Easter 2020 Story Reading Assignment explaining how to get the app and what your students need to do once they have it. The file is conceived to be something you can share “as is” with your students. Since it is a Word file, you may also choose to edit it, e.g. if you only want to focus on certain stories and not all four.

2.) Usually our stories can only be read in the app, but for teachers, we have created a PDF of each of the stories, so you can read them before they are published, or think about different ways that you can prepare activities based around them. The stories are copyrighted, so any commercial use requires prior permission. These are the stories and the publishing dates (click to download the PDF):

“The Hole” by Jim Peterson (March 23rd– 27th)

“The Mystery Suitcase” by David Steel (March 30th– April 3rd)

“No Place for the Greedy” by Peter Ohman (April 6th– 10th)

“Brother and Sister” by LeonoreKleinkauf (April 13th– 17th).

If your students download the app before April 10th, they will have free access to all these stories. On April          13th, “The Hole” will disappear and only be available for paying users.

3.) Tell your students that after Easter there will be a quiz on some of the boldface vocabulary in the stories. This will hopefully motivate them to read the stories more carefully! Actually, there are four quizzes, one for each story, so you can decide which to use. You can download a list of all the vocabulary that will appear in the quizzes here.

4.) Consider encouraging your students to purchase the “pro version” of the app, so they can practice all the difficult vocabulary in the stories and be ready to ace the test (“ace” is actually one the verbs they will learn in the story “The Hole”). Hopefully, this will motivate a few of them to try it out! Purchasing the “pro version” is optional, of course. Further down we’ll describe the advantages.

5.) After Easter, or whenever you see fit, distribute the vocabulary quizzes that go with the stories. These are PDFs that you or your students can print out (or do digitally, with Adobe Acrobat). The first part of each quiz features many of the sentences in the stories. There is nothing wrong with students going back to the app to find the words. The main point is that the students engage with the vocabulary in the stories again. Don’t worry, later exercises in each quiz require the students to use their brains a little more! Here are the links to download each quiz:

Quiz for the story “The Hole” (19 verbs)

Quiz for the story “The Mystery Suitcase” (11 phrasal verbs)

Quiz for the story “No Place for the Greedy” (17 nouns)

Quiz for the story “Brother and Sister” (13 adjectives)

6.) For each quiz there is also a key, which is for you to use when correcting. Alternatively, you may choose to share the quiz keys with your students or their caregivers to self-correct. Here are the links to download each key:

Key for the quiz to “The Hole”

Key for the quiz to “The Mystery Suitcase”

Key for the quiz to “No Place for the Greedy”

Key for the quiz to “Brother and Sister”

Additional activity ideas: Our stories are so short, they are great inspiration for students to write their own stories. You can give them a list of vocabulary and ask them to write a mini-story using them, e.g. use some of the same words from the stories so they get additional practice. You may also consider asking them to write a sequel or a continuation of one of the stories in the app.

Why should your students purchase the “pro version” of the app?

While reading and looking up words in the app is free, the best way to learn with StoryPlanet English is to get the “pro version” (approx. 1.99/month, depending on where you live), which allows students to do progressively difficult exercises with any of the words in bold in the stories. The simplest exercises are multiple choice. Once the student has successfully solved an exercise, more difficult ones follow, with the last exercise asking them to spell the word in its entirety. Students love it because they can use their smartphones to commit new words to memory in a playful and contextualized way.

Another big advantage of the pro version is that students get access to many more stories, i.e. not only the current ones in the broadcast.

We wish we could offer the pro version of StoryPlanet for free right now, as some other educational software providers are doing. We have actually seriously considered doing this! As a small startup, however, it would be too difficult for us to change the in-app purchase process at such short notice. That said, we feel that 1.99/month is a small price for your students to pay and they will get a lot of value out of it!

Of course, the subscription can be easily cancelled at any time. You can learn more about the app and the terms of subscription on our website: www.storyplanet.uk

In case you didn’t know, StoryPlanet English was developed by experienced language teachers and writers who founded the startup L-Pub. The company is based in Offenbach am Main, Germany’s most multi-ethnic and multi-lingual city, and the founders are from the U.S.A, Italy, France and Germany.

You can learn more about the writers of the stories here.

Would you be interested in finding out about other offers like this from the makers of StoryPlanet? We only send out e-mails when there is really something relevant to share and we do not pass your data on to ANYONE. Sign up for our secure and fully GDPR-compliant newsletterhere.

You can download the app for free here:

Enjoy using these materials and Happy Easter!

Your StoryPlanet English Team

Picture credit: Martina Vitákovávia Unsplash.com