Selected Stories for English Language Study

This collection of anecdotes refer to incidents in the life of the author of this website, Max Neil Maximchuk.
On this page you can access a suggested lesson plan and direct links to the featured story, either in written or spoken form.
Also provided are a variety of worksheets (vocabulary, text-based questions and discussion themes) that you can use while presenting the story.



It’s interesting when one takes steps towards reaching a goal.  Reality steps in and those initial expectations are not immune to the consequences.  Sometimes those hopes and desires change in their value or are transformed into new directions and perspectives.  This is a story in which a young man goes out on two dates with two different people with two different scenarios.  Expectations and reality mix together, showing him a few of the many glimpses of what life has to offer.

SUGGESTED APPROACH to using the stories in class

Click here if you’d like to see a suggested step-by-step plan on how to use the stories in class


This links you directly to the webpage where you can access the stories in written form


This links you directly to where you can hear the stories narrated by the author




The main idea is for the students to work on their English through interacting with the story, whether it is presented as a listening or a reading.  Below are the materials provided and some suggested steps (see SUGGESTED APPROACH for more details) to follow but feel free to modify them to better adapt the activities to the students you have and your teaching style.

SETTING THE SCENE Students become orientated to the story by extrapolating from its title, listening to a brief forward, looking at some new vocabulary and for a short time explore a few questions that lead into the narrated account.
QUESTIONS The questions focus on extracting specific information as well as acquainting the students with some of the new vocabulary presented.  They can accompany the reading or the listening form of the text.
THE STORY The story can be given as a listening or a reading activity.  See the links above for the manner of presentation you prefer.
LANGUAGE LOOK This is a worksheet that contains 4 phrasal verbs, a look at how the language can be used and an expression or two.
DISCUSSION THEMES After having gone through the story, the students speak about the events in the story and some of the issues that were brought up.


Different activities to accompany the story as well as their corresponding handouts and worksheets


SETTING THE SCENE features preliminary work that can be done prior to presenting the story such as pre-teaching some vocabulary and getting the students acquainted with the coming story.

The document contains

  • a brief overview of the story to orientate the students
  • 6 words or expressions that appear in the story and can be pre-taught before reading or listening to the story
  • suggested lead-in question(s) which can prepare the students for what is to follow

This document can be printed and handed out to the students or projected onto the board/screen.
Or, the teacher can simply refer to it while s/he briefly tells the students what the story is about, elicits the meaning to the vocabulary (which could be written on the board) and has the students respond to one or more of the lead-in questions as a class activity or small group discussions.


TEXT-BASED QUESTIONS features a brief overall description of the story to orientate the students (in case it wasn’t presented previously) and 5 questions which the students must answer after reading or listening to it.

(See the Suggested Approach for some ideas.)

ANSWER KEY TO QUESTIONS is provided to help the teacher check the answers spoken by the students when going over the questions.  It is recommended to go beyond the questions by encouraging the students to make comments or explore some aspect further (as can the teacher).  Preceding the answers are some suggestions on how to approach the reading or the listening.


WORKSHEET FOR STUDENTS (LANGUAGE LOOK) is a one-page worksheet with 3 sections:

  • 4 Phrasal Verbs
    Students must determine their meaning from the context of how they were used in the text.  There are further examples supplied and a definition which can be referred to at the bottom of the worksheet if necessary, but the students still must explain how it was relevant (used) in the story.  For ex:  sb took sb else up on st           Who took whom up on what?
    There is also a section of gap-filled sentences which the students complete, using the appropriate verb tenses and pronouns.
  • Use of English
    Students have a look at some aspect of the language such as how native speakers may not always follow the rules while speaking with friends or how one can change a sentence to add further emphasis.
  • An expression or two
    One or more expressions are briefly looked at (meaning elicited) and encouraged to be used in the forthcoming discussion(s).

ANSWER KEY TO WORKSHEET contains the answer keys to the Language Look exercises for this story.


DISCUSSION THEMES has four or five topics that students can explore, some are based on events in the story and others address issues beyond the story.

CHULETA (pronounced choo LEH tah) is a Spanish word which normally means ‘cheat sheet’ but it can also affectionately mean a reference sheet that helps you in some way,  like a paper prompting you to remember the steps in scanning and sending a document from the office photocopier.  In this case it is a reference sheet offering a variety of categories and examples of ‘higher level’ structures and vocabulary that can be used while exploring the themes.  It is a two-page handout format and you can ask the students to concentrate on one or more particular areas, or they can choose for themselves.  The principle objective is to get the students to incorporate these structures into their natural speaking repertoire by using and becoming more familiar with them.


on the stories and materials used in the Harvey Skidoo Tree Series

How did the stories and activities go in your classes?
Let me know, I’d love to hear what you have to say.


Any questions or comments about the story or materials can be sent from here.