Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Olympics

The Summer Olympics have started! Here’s some information about the Olympics. After you read it, take the quiz to test your knowledge!

From Simple English Wikipedia:

The Olympic Games are an important international event featuring summer and winter sports. The Games are held every two years, with Summer and Winter Olympic Games taking turns.

Originally, the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD. The first “modern” Olympics happened in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

Over time, the Olympics have become bigger. The Winter Games were created for ice and snow sports. The Paralympic Games were created for athletes with physical disabilities.

The celebration of the Games includes many rituals and symbols, such as the Olympic flag and torch, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. The first, second, and third place finishers in each event receive gold, silver, and bronze medals.

The Olympic logo consists of five intertwined rings and represents the unity of the five inhabited continents (America, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and Europe). The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, a Latin expression meaning “Faster, Higher, Stronger.”

Before each Games, the Olympic flame is lit in Olympia, Greece. A female performer lights a torch with the use of the sun. The woman then lights the torch of the first relay bearer, starting the Olympic torch relay that will carry the flame to the host city’s Olympic stadium.

This year’s host city is London, England.

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Literacy Review Video!

Last spring, we told you that three of our students – Lucy Liu, Walter Wan, and Grace Guo – had been published in the Literacy Review. The Literacy Review is a collection of writing by adult literacy students in New York City. It is published by NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. NYU Gallatin professor June Foley teaches a writing class here at University Settlement on Fridays.

In the video below, you can see many students reading from their stories at a special celebration last May at NYU. You can see our own Grace Guo at the 1:45 mark.

To read this year’s Literacy Review, click here.

To read more about NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, click here.

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Website Spotlight: VOA

VOA stands for “Voice of America.” VOA originally began as an international radio station, but now it’s also a very good website with news, audio, video, and exercises to help you improve your English. Click here or click on the image below to go to the VOA website:

And remember to check out the For Students section to find more useful websites!


Simple Present vs. Present Progressive

Ready for more grammar? Good.

This time we’re going to look at simple present tense and present progressive (also called present continuous) tense.

We use simple present tense when we talk about something we usually do or always do or never do or sometimes do. For example:

I live in Brooklyn.

She always does her homework.

They don’t drink alcohol.

We use present progressive tense to describe something we’re doing right now, at this very moment. For example:

I’m using the computer right now.

She’s talking on the phone.

He isn’t sleeping. He’s watching TV.

But be careful – there are some verbs that we rarely or never use in the present progressive tense. These verbs describe a feeling or a way of thinking. For example:

I understand the situation.   (Not “I’m understanding the situation.”)

They believe what you say.   (Not “They’re believing what you say.”)

He wants a new bike.   (Not “He’s wanting a new bike.”)

Now watch these two videos. The first one is a clear explanation of the grammar, and the second one is a rather strange demonstration of the grammar.

After you finish watching, take the quiz to test your knowledge – and then you can write some sentences in simple present tense or present progressive tense (or both) by leaving a comment!


Summertime Part 2

Here are three more songs about summer for you!

Read the lyrics below Continue reading

Website Spotlight: ELLLO

Here’s another good website for you. It’s called ELLLO, which stands for English Listening Lesson Library Online. They have many, many, many listening exercises, most of them realistic conversations. While you listen, you can also read. After you listen, you can take a quiz. As you can see on the left side of the screen, you can search by level or topic. Try it! Just click here or on the picture below:

And remember to check out the For Students section to find more useful websites!

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Yours Truly

We’ve put together a collection of letters written by Evening Class students. Some letters are to friends, some are letters to New York City, some students even wrote letters to themselves! Click on the cover below to see all of the letters.

“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”

Phyllis Theroux

Feel free to write us some letters during your summer, whether you are traveling or staying here in NYC. If you don’t remember our email, it’s

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