50-minute English Lesson
In this ESL active listening exercise, find clues and guess the name of the mystery woman.
Read the story
This is a true story about Joanne.
Born in England, she liked to tell stories when she was young.
After growing up, Joanne worked in an office. She wasn’t happy because she wanted to write.
One day on a train to London, she had an idea. It was a story about a special boy. When she got home, she started to write. She wrote about it every day.
A few years later, Joanne moved to Portugal. Later, she met a man, got married and had a girl. Joanne continued to write.
There were problems in Portugal, so she returned to England with her girl. Joanne had no job and life was difficult, but she didn’t stop writing.
Five years after starting, her book was finished. Now she wanted to sell it. She sent the book to many book companies. No one wanted it. Then she sent it to a man named Christopher Little. He liked her book and took it to a company called Bloomsbury. They made the book.
The book was a best seller. Kids around the world loved reading about Harry.
Do you know who she is? She is J.K. Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter.
Listen without reading
Here is the listening file for this lesson.
Audio file: 1:25 min
Story length: 198 words
Quiz: Mystery woman
Did you understand the story?
Let's check with a True-False quiz.
English listening lesson: Gap Fill
Listen to the story again and fill in the blanks.
This is a ________ story about Joanne.
Born in England, she liked ____ ________ stories when she was ________ .
After ________ up, Joanne worked in an office. She wasn’t happy because she wanted to ________.
One day on a ________ to London, she had ________ ________ . It was a story about a special boy. When she got home, she started to ________ . She wrote about it ________ day.
A few years later, Joanne moved to Portugal. Later, she met a man, ________ ________ and had a girl. Joanne ________ to write.
There were ________ in Portugal, so she returned to England ________ ________ ________ . Joanne had no job and life was difficult, but she didn’t ________ writing.
Five years _______ _______ her book was finished. Now she wanted to sell it. She sent the book to many ________ companies. No one wanted it. Then she sent it to a man named Christopher Little. He liked her book and took it to a ________ called Bloomsbury. They made the book.
The book was a ______ ________ . Kids around the world loved reading about ________ .
Do you ________ who she is? She is J.K. Rowling, the ________ of Harry Potter.
ESL discussion questions
Talk about the esl story.
- Where does the story mostly take place?
- Before the first book was published, how would you describe her character?
- Where, do you think, did her ideas come from?
- Why, do you think, so many book companies rejected her book?
- Have you read any Harry Potter books?
- Are the Harry Potter movies better than the books?
MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.
5. no job
c. out of work
e. carry on
ESL listening activity: anagrams
MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE ESL active LISTENING STORY.
Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.
- sell / wanted / she / Now / it / to
- happy / wanted / wasn’t / to / write / She / she / because
- Kids / world / reading / the / loved / Harry / about / around
- had / London / on / train / to / One / an / a / idea / she / day
- Bloomsbury / and / called / took / to / He / book / liked / a / her / company / it
Another ESL active listening story
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Watch a video and take notes
Did you like this ESL active listening activity?
It’s hard to believe but there are eight Harry Potter movies. The first one, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was released in 2001. The last one, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 2, was released in 2011.
Here’s a famous clip from a Harry Potter movie: Harry kills Voldermort.
- Watch the video.
- Take notes.
- Write down at least eight facts.
Get the worksheet
Want to print out these ESL listening activities? Click to download the PDF worksheet.
Click to see the answers for this ESL active listening story.
This text and audio file are copyrighted. They may be used for non-commercial educational purposes. They may not be used or adapted for any commercial purpose.
The image used in this active listening lesson is owned by Daniel Ogren. Its use here complies with the terms in the Creative Commons license.