50-minute English Lesson
In this English for Listening and Speaking lesson, ESL students learn about Amazon, the popular online store that sells more than books.
Read the story
English for Listening and Speaking: Amazon story
Amazon is one of the world’s biggest shops. How did it become so large?
The history of Amazon begins in 1995.
Jeff Bezos was working in New York. He had a good job but wanted to do something different. He stopped working, moved to Seattle and started a business.
At first, he didn’t know what to sell. He liked books because they didn’t cost much. Some people said that was a bad idea, but he could see bookstores had a problem. They were too small and didn’t have many books. Jeff created a store with a million books and called it Amazon.
Jeff’s business started small. He wrote the computer program for Amazon himself. The office was in a garage and the table was made from an old door.
A few months after opening, Amazon was selling 100 books a day. Four years later, it was selling $600 million per year. People liked the easy to use web design and large number of books.
Today, Amazon sells books and other things like music and toys. In 2015, Amazon sold $1.5 billion and had 200,000 workers. That’s 20 years after starting in a small office with a table made from an old door.
Listen without reading
English for Listening and Speaking: Amazon bookstore
Here is the listening file for this lesson.
Audio file: 1:35 min
Story length: 202 words
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.
Amazon is one of the world’s __________ shops. How did it become so __________ ?
The history of Amazon begins in __________ .
Jeff Bezos was __________ in New York. He had a good job but wanted to do something __________ . He stopped working, __________ to Seattle and started a business.
At first, he didn’t know what to __________ . He liked books because they didn’t __________ much. Some __________ said that was a bad __________ , but he could see bookstores had a problem. They were too small and didn’t __________ many books. Jeff __________ a store with a million books and called it Amazon.
Jeff’s business started small. He wrote the __________ program for Amazon himself. The office was in a garage and the table was made from an old __________ .
A few months after __________ , Amazon was selling __________ books a day. Four years later, it was selling $ __________ million per year. People liked the easy to use web __________ and large number of books.
Today, Amazon sells books and other things like __________ and toys. In __________ , Amazon sold $ __________ billion and had __________ workers. That’s 20 years after starting in a small office with a table __________ __________ an old door.
ESL discussion questions
Talk about the Listening story.
- Have you ever used Amazon? What was the experience like?
- What problem launched the Amazon idea?
- Summarize the rise of Amazon.
- Compare and contrast Amazon and other online stores.
- What are the pros and cons of online shopping?
- Some people say Amazon is too big. What do you think?
MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.
ESL listening activity: anagrams
MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE English for Listening and Speaking activity.
Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.
- wanted / job / but / had / something / do / good / different / a / He / to
- too / didn’t / have / books / small / many / They / and / were
- a / with / store / called / million / it / Jeff / books / a / Amazon / created / and
- The / made / was / was / the / old / from / and / office / a / an / door / table / garage / in
- easy / of / use / People / and / design / to / number / large / web / books / liked / the
Another ESL listening story
Ready for more English for Listening and Speaking lessons? Try this English listening comprehension lesson about the printing press.
Reading and note taking
Did you like this English listening and speaking lesson about Amazon? Watch a short Amazon TV commercial and practice taking notes.
- Watch the video.
- Take notes.
- Make a list of at least seven facts.
Get the worksheet
Want to print out these English class lesson activities? Click to download the PDF worksheet about Amazon.
Click to see the answers for the actiities in this English class lesson about Amazon.
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