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

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.

Pink Bow Tie

A fourteen year old finds himself in trouble with the school Principal – again. This time, however, he has a genuine excuse, but is he likely to be believed?

Orange Juice

Children’s laureate Michael Rosen has a way of presenting vexing questions in verse.  In ‘Orange Juice’ the voice of a youngster is heard wondering how to get revenge on the thief who keeps stealing the orange juice left on the doorstep each morning by the milkman.

Journey to Jo'burg

The background of the story is South Africa during the apartheid years. Two young children are travelling alone to Jo’burg to try to find their mother who is needed back in the family village.

Fish Swimming

This is a short teaching resource kit based on the Moniza Ali poem 'Fish Swimming'. 

Chain Reaction

All seems to be going well on the cruise ship when suddenly there is a most unusual disruption. Louise Cooper’s very short story, previously unpublished, forms the basis of the latest kit for younger teens.

Bend it like Beckham

'Bend it like Beckham' is better known as a film, but Nharinder Dhami's book of the same name follows the film faithfully, even reproducing some of the dialogue. The materials in this kit are based on the pivotal Chapter 7 of the book, and also make reference to the film.

Moses's Little Brother

The story ‘Moses's Little Brother’ was writer by Ron Butlin, who is from Scotland. The activities that go with it are suitable for secondary age students.

Research and insight

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