ESL short stories for beginners

cute monkey from one of Shelley's preschool stories

Vocabulary and language overview for short stories 1-10

This series of ten ESL short stories for beginners is the perfect curriculum for kindergarten teachers. Lesson plans, story activities, and flashcards are included to save teachers time. Check out the contents here, and get a free sample.

Story 1. I’m Hungry


This story covers greetings and animals.

Lion from ESL short story for beginners I'm HungryAnimals: Ant, spider, snake, bird, cat, fox, and lion.

Greeting: Hello, how are you?
I’m fine, thanks.

Verbs: Eat

Phrases: I’m hungry.
I am going to eat you.

Extra vocabulary for version 2: What are you doing? Look for, look, find, gobble up, pop out, unfortunately

Story 2. Anna goes to the zoo


This story introduces counting from one to ten. It also revises animals from story one and introduces new ones.

Animals: Revision: Lion, spider, snake, bird, and ant
Numbers: 1-10

New animals: Elephant, giraffe, bear, duck, and monkey

Nouns: Daddy, zoo

Verbs: See

Phrases: At the zoo

An option is to revise colours, deliberately getting them wrong, for example:
“At the zoo, Anna sees two elephants.  There they are, two green elephants,” and let the children spot the mistake – they will soon be calling out the right colour.

Extra vocabulary for version 2: The text proposes a variety of verbs to describe what the animals are doing and animal body parts.  Repeat the same verbs more often if you need a simpler version, but not as simple as the basic one.

Walk, stick out, say, spray, eat, think, chew, dance, rest, swim, lie down, monkey around, play, and sit.
Tongue, trunk, back, webbed-feet, beak, head, and body.
Hot, hungry, and meal.

Story 3. Archie and his pony 


This story revises counting and introduces colours.

Pony jumping from short story for beginners on countingNumbers: Revision: 1-10

Colours: Black, blue, green, yellow, brown, red, white, orange, pink, purple

Nouns: Pony, jump

Verbs: Jump

Phrases: Here is, it is, well done! Yippee!

Extra vocabulary for version 2: Excellent, mischievous, very good, good, OK, naughty, crazy, really crazy, groovy, cool

If there are too many of these adjectives, use fewer and repeat them.

That was, don’t
Look, eat, drink and stay on

Story 4. Hide & seek


This short story revises animals and introduces some nouns from nature.

Greeting: Revision: Hello, how are you? I’m fine, thanks.
Numbers: Revision: 1-10
Colours: Revision: yellow, green, blue, red
Animals: Revision: Giraffe, bird, spider, monkey, snake, lion, and ant

Nouns: Path, bush, pond, grass, flower, head

Verbs: Hide

Phrases: Is that you?  No, it’s me.

Extra vocabulary for version 2: Counted, found, searched, thought, saw, move and said, coming, stepping, popping, flying.  Watch out! silly

Story 5. The marching ants


This story revises much of what has been covered so far, notably counting, colours, and words from nature.

Numbers: Revision: 1-10
Colours: Revision: white, yellow, red, brown, orange, green, blue, pink, and purple
Nouns: Revision: ant, path, bush, pond, grass, and flower
New nouns: Field, garden, bed, teddy bear

Verbs: March

Phrases: Feels tired, falls asleep

Other: Little

Extra vocabulary for version 2:

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, last
They have been working
Marching, working, looking, take back, notice
Anthill, nap

Story 6. Volka and the pink ball

dog chasing a ball from ESL short stories for beginners Volka and the Pink Ball

Nouns: Revision: path, grass, bushes, pond, and garden    

New nouns: Ball, doggy, lady

Verbs: Walk, throw, chase, catch, run, give, swim, and shout

Phrases: This is,

Other: Good, bad, whoops!

Extra vocabulary for version 2:

But he threw it further this time, much further, even further, absolutely miles
I had better be careful
It wasn’t her fault

Story 7. Volka and the ducks

Nouns: Revision: path, grass, bushes, pond, duck, garden, lady
Verbs: Revision: walk, run, jump, swim, and shout
Phrases: Revision: feels tired
Other: Revision: little, yippee

New verbs: Bark, hear, stop, look for, and cry

Phrases: Lucas has gone

Extra words for version 2:

Master, dog food, allowed, I really want, taste, get back, quack at, and remember, even though, especially when, see if, until, nicer than, bigger than, cheeky, naughty, worried)

Story 8. The bear and his teddy bear

A bear in pyjamas from my esl short stories for beginnersNouns: Revision: bear, teddy bear

Other: Revision: little

Nouns: Story, song, music, milk, kiss

Verbs: Read, sing, play and give (optional)

Phrases: I’m tired, I’m not tired, go to sleep, good night

Extra vocabulary for version 2:

Can we play a game?  
I want to run about, jump up and down, play hide and seek, dance and jump, run all over the house.
That was a nice story/song.
Your violin sounds funny, and you need a new one.  I don’t need a new one.

Story 9. Hetty and the lion

Greeting: Revision: Hello, how are you? I’m fine, thanks.

Nouns: Revision: lion, milk
Other: Revision: little

Nouns: Orange, apple, banana, pear, ice cream

Verbs: Drank, ate    

Phrases: Would you like some…? Oh yes, please.

Extra vocabulary for version 2:

Tea party, house, friend, invited
Adjectives: big, surprised, shocked, annoyed, cross.

Story 10. Gerard, the giraffe was hungry

Nouns: Revision: giraffe, ice cream, orange, apple, banana, pear, milk, grass
Numbers: Revision: 1-6
Verbs: Revision: ate, drank
Other: Revision: hungry, fine

Nouns: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Phrases: The giraffe was hungry. He was still hungry

Extra vocabulary for version 2:

First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth.  
It’s so boring eating grass.
I know I shouldn’t. I’m getting fatter. That’s too bad.

Order ESL short stories for beginners 1-10


The complete teaching kit contains; stories, lesson plans, flashcards, and story PowerPoint movies. Then, add on the songs, masks and the worksheets (if teaching writing).

For reviews on my ESL short stories for beginners please visit this page: Preschool resources reviews.

And for my story books in paperback, please visit my Shelley Ann Vernon Amazon Author Page.

4 thoughts on “ESL short stories for beginners”

      1. Hi,My name is Laarni. I have just received the hard copy of the book but there’s no copy for lesson plan and flashcards. It says here I could download for free. May I know how? Thank you. My email address is xxx deleted for privacy by Shelley.

        1. Dear Laarni,
          Hello there, thanks for your message and for choosing my book – I am emailing you now on your Gmail to send you the lesson plans. Speak soon on email !
          Kind regards

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