Here you can find a wide range of ideas for using stories and poems in your secondary classroom. All of the materials are based on authentic texts or stories written especially for secondary learners and are designed to engage and motivate teenagers as well as develop their understanding of important themes and encourage personal, social and emotional development. Written by young learner experts from around the world, our ideas for using stories and poems are easy to use and aim to give your students the skills and confidence they need to enjoy learning English.

Choose a story or poem


Sinéad Morrissey's poem, Genetics, gives us a wistful recollection of the poet as a celebration of the coming together of her parents. 


Gillian Clarke's poem, Lament, is an elegy, an expression of grief. 

King Rat

China Mieville's text is taken from the Prologue of his book called 'King Rat', and is the description of an ambitious rat setting off on a mission.  

The Same Earth

This extract from Kei Miller's novel, The Same Earth, tells the story of Jonathon and his supposed drowning in the river. 

The Chain

This extract is taken from Keith Gray's novel, The Chain. The extract deals with a young girl who gets engrossed in reading from a book to her father, who is dying in hospital. She is discovering the inner joy and power of books.

Stone Cradle

This extract from Louise Doughty's novel, Stone Cradle, concerns the tragedy of infant mortality, particularly in vulnerable communities where the poorest members don't have the means to bury their babies. 


A young Sri Lankan woman needs some advice. Her mother wants her to marry a rich man that she has never met, but what does her boyfriend think?

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot is the story of a boy from a coal mining family who decides to be a ballet dancer. His decision causes, perhaps predictably, a great deal of family controversy. The novel by Melvin Burgess is based on the film of the same name.

The Mystery of the Stolen FA Cup Medal

David loves football, but his mum can’t afford to take him to see his beloved United play. One day he sees something over the garden fence that doesn’t look right.

Research and insight

Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.

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