ESL Reading Exercises and Worksheets

Welcome to “Elementary to Pre-Intermediate Reading Comprehension Exercises”, now a multi-media collection of PDFs, videos, listening activities, and reading comprehension exercises designed to engage, inform, and challenge students with topical issues that shape our ever-evolving society. This unique multimedia journey will offer students a window into the fascinating worlds of cultural phenomena, technological advancements, urban development, careers, fashion, and emerging trends.

1 San Francisco – a tale of a city

his is a reading/listening comprehension exercise about a bellwether city, San Francisco. It’s a more advanced reading exercise focusing on social issues related to the development of cities and technology in the 21st century.

(download PDF)

See video on YouTube

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2 The Intern

This is a reading/listening comprehension exercise about a day in the life of an intern and contrasts it with university life.

(download reading PDF)

(download listening/speaking PDF)

(see the video on YouTube) NEW VIDEO!

3 Lipstick

A short history of lipstick. This is a reading/listening exercise which is useful practice for teaching the past tense. It’s also pretty interesting as a history of popular culture.

Lipstick (PDF)

(see the YouTube video)


4 The Influencer

This is reading comprehension exercise about a day in the life of an online influencer.

The Influencer (PDF)

(see the YouTube video)

Instagram influencer

5 Dall-e: the revolution will be visual!

This is a reading listening comprehension exercise about the new artificial intelligence text to image application Dall-e.

(download PDF)

(see the video on YouTube)

6 Shein: the best, and worst, of fast fashion

The fast fashion industry has become quite topical recently. I think it’s really interesting on many levels. I hope the vocabulary in this exercise is not too difficult but it’s unavoidable with a topic like this.

(download PDF)

7 The Experiment

This is a reading exercise about a scientist or researcher conducting an experiment in a lab. It’s great for any kind of medical/science students learning English, but I think it’s good for English language learners generally.

(download PDF)

The Experiment

8 The Huggy Wuggy Chronicles (pre-intermediate and up)

The exercises in the PDF below are based on the fascinating story of Huggy Wuggy, the bizarre and adorable monster that has taken the world by storm. This set of exercises explores the world of Huggy Wuggy, focusing on vocabulary, critical thinking, comprehension, and listening. Get ready to dive into a journey of terror, laughter, and cultural phenomena!

Download PDF

See the video on YouTube

9 The History of the T-shirt

The t-shirt is one of those topics that just about everyone can relate to.

(download PDF)

The History of the T-shirt

10 A day in the life of an online shopper

A fairly elementary reading comprehension exercise about an online shopper.

(download PDF)

A day in the life of an online shopper

11 Learning a New Language

Learning a new language has a lot of benefits for the learner.

(download PDF)

(see the video on YouTube)

12 The Digital Classroom

The digital classroom is the classroom of the future. This reading explores some of its impacts.

(download PDF)

(see the video on YouTube)

13 The Weekend Market (with answers)

This is an English language reading comprehension worksheet about  a visit to a weekend market.  It is an experience that almost every student in the world can relate to and so it’s extremely suitable for an English language class.  Click on the link or the image to download the PDF file. 

Weekend Market (PDF)

( see the YouTube video of “The Weekend Market”)

The Weekend Market

14 Air Tags

This is a reading comprehension about Apple’s latest innovation, Air Tags.

Air Tags (PDF)

Air Tags

15 Inventing a mRNA vaccine to save the world

Katalin Kariko and the story of mRNA

This is a reading comprehension exercise about the people who invented a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Inventing an mRNA vaccine (PDF)

Inventing a vaccine

16 Online  shopping assistant (with answers)

An online shopping assistant takes online orders and walks around a supermarket or department store and collects items to packed and delivered. This exercise is about the daily activities of a supermarket employee in this  line of work on the age of the coronavirus.  

Online shopping assistant reading comprehension

Online shopping assistant reading comprehension (PDF)


17 Autonomous vehicles reading comprehension (with answers)

The arrival of autonomous vehicles is a topical issue of our times. It’s a great way to to engage in a discussion about the impacts of new technologies. 

Autonomous vehicles reading comprehension lesson

Autonomous vehicles reading comprehension (PDF)


Autonomous vehicles

18 First Day at University (with answers)

I have found that another easy-to-teach topic is a student’s  first day at university. This is a an experience that university students can identify with and  works smoothly in the classroom.

A first day at university reading comprehension exercise for English language learners.

First Day(PDF)

First Day at University

19 High School vs University (with answers)

This  reading exercise  focuses on the differences between high school students and university students.

High school vs university reading comprehension

High School vs University (PDF)


High School vs University

20  Christiane Amanpour (with answers)

This  reading  worksheet is  about the journalist Christiane  Amanpour.

A reading comprehension exercise for English language learners about the journalist and reporter Christiane Amanpour.

Christiane Amanpour (PDF)

Christiane Amanpour

10 opinion and argument writing worksheets

8 comparison/contrast templates and exercises

10 cause/effect writing activities

3 kinds of exercises for teaching transitions

6 memorable narrative essay writing practice exercises (PDF)

6 delightful descriptive paragraph and essay writing exercises  (PDF)

11 essential exercises for elementary writing students (PDF)


21  What effect has technology had on our lives? (with answers)

This is an English language reading comprehension worksheet about the effects of technology.  It is an excellent complement to any lesson focusing on technology and society. It also works well in a class  when the teacher is trying to determine students’ knowledge of computing and internet vocabulary. I used it in a class with Thai ICT students and I could quickly asses the different English language abilities of the students.

Effects of technology reading comprehension worksheet for English language learners.

What effect has technology had on our lives? (PDF)

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