Lockdown Learning with English Short Stories

As a language learner myself, I know how hard it can be to prioritise developing my skills. Life has a funny habit of getting in the way, leading me to put my language goals to one side.

Unfortunately, learning a language is particularly challenging today. In many parts of the world (including where I live, in the UK), travel restrictions, limits on social gatherings, and closed language schools, make it even harder to dedicate our time and energy to something that we truly value. Instead, we must find new, exciting ways that motivate us to keep going.

If you are looking for a new way to practice, and improve your English, then I hope my book series will help you.

English Short Stories is a book/eBook series, with stories ranging from Intermediate (B1) to Advanced (C1) levels. The stand-out feature of these stories is that they are original, and specifically written for adults. Each book includes a variety of stimulating comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and writing exercises:

Learn however suits you: All books are available in both paperback and eBook format, and can be purchased from your Amazon store.

Good luck with your continued language learning—and don’t give up.

Rob Averies, author of English Short Stories


5 ‘lockdown’ websites for English learners

Looking for new ways to use and expand upon your English knowledge? Would you like to pursue your interests in English, but not sure where to go? Here is a list of 5 useful and interactive websites that English learners can make the most of during lockdown.

  1. TED: ideas worth spreading. If you have an inquisitive mind and like learning new things, then this is the place to go. Educational talks across a wide range of fields means that anyone can find something of interest. What’s more, subtitle options and specific English-learner content make it an excellent tool for language learners.
  2. Conversation Exchange – language learning with native speakers. This is a website that I have used lots on my travels. All you need to do is create a simple profile and search for a language partner that can provide you with written or face-to-face (e.g. via Skype or Zoom) practice. The sky really is the limit, as you can find language partners anywhere in the world. And it’s free!
  3. LyricsTraining. If you are anything like me, then you would go crazy without music during lockdown. On this free website, you can search from a wide range of English songs, before selecting a difficulty level. Then, karaoke-style, you listen to the song and fill in the blanks (the higher the level, the more the blanks!). As a competitive edge, you can represent your country by entering your score into the international leaderboard.
  4. Breaking News English. This is another excellent, free educational tool. Filter by your English level, select an article that you would like to read and then download the ‘Mini Lesson’ PDF with additional exercises. The articles are great reading and contain additional online activities alongside those attached to the lesson PDF. What’s more, this site is committed to uploading stories that come from all over the world, and do not necessarily make headline news.
  5. The Conversation. Up for a linguistic and intellectual challenge? Then this website may be right for you! The articles on this site are written by academics all over the globe and provide evidence-based, in-depth insight into a topic of your choosing.

Which websites do you use to support your English learning? Share in the comments box below!

Looking for a new book to read? English Short Stories: The Cat and the Ghost (CEFR Level C1+) is available now!

‘The Cat and the Ghost’: OUT NOW!

What would a human think if they saw a ghost in the street?
What would they do?
What time would be given to a ghastly, frightful, unworldly creature such as a ghost?

English Short Stories: The Cat and the Ghost

In this edition of the English Short Stories series, the reader will come across a city in decay, a dire warning, mysterious lands and a child beyond her years, as they all form part of a story that poses questions about identity and perceptions in society. As you read this book, you will learn that it is not your ‘typical’ ghost story ….

Find out more about the latest book in the English Short Stories series here, and read the first chapter for free!

‘The Blink of an Eye’ (B2+): Free Kindle download this Easter weekend!

Reading is one of the best ways to keep our brains healthy and engaged during these difficult times. For this reason, ‘The Blink of an Eye (CEFR B2+)’ has been made available for free download until midnight on Sunday (UK GMT).

The Blink of an Eye is one in a series of short stories for English language learners, designed to give students the opportunity to learn while reading graded, thought-provoking stories.

Follow the link here to grab your own free copy!

New eBooks FREE this weekend!


To celebrate the release of three new ‘English Short Stories,’ all Amazon customers will be able to download the eBook versions for FREE this weekend. Just follow the link(s) below:


English Short Stories: A Turn for the Worst (CEFR Level B2+)

English Short Stories: The Blink of an Eye (CEFR Level B2+)

English Short Stories: The Boy That Runs (CEFR Level B2+)


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The paperback versions of each book are also now available.

Please note: this is a one time offer!



OUT NOW: 101 Very English Idioms

101 Very English Idioms: Learn to Speak Like a True Brit is an easy-to-use guide to some of the most important idioms in English, along with examples of idioms in context, exercises, and even some idiom origins.

“Hello and welcome to 101 Very English Idioms! If you enjoy the complexities of the English language then I hope this book will be your cup of tea, although be warned that some of the expressions you’ll read are not simply a piece of cake, and can leave some people feeling blue…

Hopefully though, with the help of this book you’ll be full of beans and able to show your true colours when expressing yourself in English.

But before we start…”


Get it Now on Amazon!