“Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home.” - Paul Bowles
In On the Read, our short holiday series of blog posts, we set off on an adventure across continents and oceans, getting to know the places we travel to deeply. We embark on a long, slow journey through stories and virtual maps that extend our steps not only in space but also in time. Let’s travel around the world inspired by classic and original fiction from the Helbling Readers series. We are going to visit six major destinations, take a glimpse at their natural and man-made landscapes, learn a bit about their culture and get some travel tips.
Travel tip: if you cannot do this project over the holidays, plan it for the next semester or year, as a reading club or extensive reading project.
This journey takes time, as being a traveller does indeed mean slowing down and getting to know our destinations very well. But worry not, we will be coming too, to guide you along with the help of some of the greatest authors of all time. So, let’s get started.
Destinations - the travel plan
We are going to visit six places starting off in London. Then we’ll go to Italy and visit Rome and Venice. From here we’ll head east to India and Nepal for some real adventures. Heading further east, we will fly over the Pacific Ocean and land in the United States where we travel from the West Coast to the East Coast with a short trip to the Midwest en-route. And we will end our journey in Africa, the continent that gave birth to humanity.
1 What do you need for the journey?
Let’s start by packing our imaginary backpack.
When you go on a trip like this one, you need to be prepared in many different ways. Tell your students the rough plan of the journey. Then, tell them to think about the following questions and make some notes for each destination.
- How will you get from one destination to the next?
- Which cities will you fly from and to?
- What kind of clothes will you need?
- What is the local currency at your destinations?
- What languages will you need to know?
- How do you say “Good morning”, “Thank you” and “Goodbye” in the local languages?
- What are the top three sights to visit at each destination?
2 Get ready to travel through some stories
When you talk about reading, it’s fun to discuss how and where students will read the stories. Talk about reading habits. Share your funniest reading positions and locations with your students.
- How do you like to read? Sitting? Standing? Lying on your side?
- What is your most comfortable reading position? And the least comfortable?
- Do you read easily when you are travelling? What do you need to be able to read on a train or a flight?
- How can you make reading easier on the beach or on a train?
- Do you need a special light to read? In what situations is it a good idea to have a small reading lamp?
- How many books do you read at the same time? One? Maybe more?
- Do you take notes when you are reading?
- When do you check the meaning of an unknown word?
- Who do you talk with about your reading experiences?
- Do you check the locations on a map or in real life?
Now it’s time to choose the books to take to London, the first stage of the journey.
- Moony goes on Holiday by Dilys Ross (Level d Cambridge YLE Movers) What happens when Moony leaves the quiet of the moon and goes to London?
- The Blue Egg by Gavin Biggs (Level 1 A1) Tom, a poor street child, travels from London in 1880 to the London of the present day.
- The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain, adapted by Alex McLeod (Level 1 A1) A prince and a poor boy meet and swap places in 16th century London.
- Dan in London by Richard MacAndrew (Level 2 A1/A2) Join Dan and Sue as they travel around London in search of two bag thieves.
- Sherlock Holmes and the Stolen Jewels by Arthur Conan Doyle adapted by Geraldine Sweeney (Level 2 A1/A2) Get to know Victorian London with Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as they investigate two exciting crimes.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Elspeth Rawstron (Level 3 A2) Join Scrooge in his journey through his life and see the London of the time.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, adapted by Jennifer Gascoigne (Level 4 (A2/B1) See London with Pip’s eyes as he travels to the great city in search of success.
- The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, adapted by Donatella Velluti (Level 4 A2/B1) Mr Verloc is a spy in London in the early 1900s. Together we discover a city that is often hidden from public view.
- The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Les Kirkham and Sandra Oddy (Level 5 B1) Join respectable Dr Jekyll on his journey to becoming the terrible Mr Hyde in the London of the late 1880s.
- The Right Thing and A Single Shot by Scott Lauder and Walter McGregor (both Level 5 B1) Friends Josh, Trish and Suzi get caught up in a thrilling mystery in contemporary London (and Paris).
- Father and Son by Frank Brennan (Level 5 B1) Pop star Nic Wild and his son Andy travel between London and Paris in a journey towards each other.
- The Mystery of the Three Domes by Elspeth Rawstron (Level 5 B1) Sibel Karaman’s great-uncle Ismail leaves her a letter with a riddle that takes her from London to Venice to Istanbul.
Enjoy your story. Next time we will share some reading and travel tips about London, plus some fun language development tasks.