English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 2
Audio file: 1:49 min
Story length: 248 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



Most people don’t think about erasers unless they need to change something on their paper. Erasers have a long history, but the one on your pencil has been around for a short time.

The history of the modern eraser begins in the 1700s.

It starts in South America where people collected water from rubber trees. They made many things with it. A man from France visiting the area saw this material. He thought it was special, so he sent some to friends in Europe to study.

Some of it went to a man in England. His name was Edward Nairne. One day, Edward was writing at his table and needed an eraser. Instead of using a piece of bread, a popular eraser at the time, he used a piece of rubber that was on his table. He was surprised. It worked better than bread. That’s when Edward had an idea.

Soon, he was selling rubber erasers. He called them rubbers because of the movement. When people erase, they rub paper with an eraser.

How do erasers work? They work like glue. When we write on paper, small pieces of graphite stick to paper. Graphite is the black material inside pencils. When you move an eraser on paper, it becomes warm. When it’s warm, graphite sticks to it and words come off the paper.

Good erasers are hand held. If you want a great product, get an art eraser. It removes the black marks and won’t damage the paper.

More Practice

Here’s a gap fill exercise. Download the Erasers printable worksheet (pdf file). Listen to the story and fill in the blanks.

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