skip to main content

Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

This I Believe: Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day


Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, Mobile devices for students

Activity Description

Screenshot of Lesson titled Tomorrow will be a better day
Source: Screenshot of Lesson titled Tomorrow will be a better day (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])
 If you listen to NPR radio, you may hear both famous and unknowns discussing their core values and beliefs on weekly broadcasts of the radio spot “This I Believe,” a take-off on Edward R. Murrow’s original 1950s radio show. The site is an archive of all the modern broadcasts accompanied by the original print essays and contains a searchable database of thousands of other essays on numerous topics ranging from patriotism to family, to sports. Each short essay that has been broadcast on NPR has a “listen now” link to hear the authors read their essays, which provides a listening component for the ABE student. The audio can be the basis for exercises on note-taking, listening for main ideas, supporting details, and cloze (listening for missing words). New stories and materials are added regularly.


  1. Be sure you have all the necessary equipment.
  2. Preview site.
  3. Listen to/read essay on freedom (see Web Site Example above).
  4. Print assignment sheet (see example document above).


  1. Introduce the "This I Believe" series.
  2. Discuss 'personal values' as a class.
  3. Read/listen to the Web Site Example URL (above), "Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day."
  4. Open the Example Document 1 (above) and teach the 2 vocabulary words if necessary.
  5. As a class, go through the questions on the worksheet.
  6. Writing assignment. Writing Assignment: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future we will leave your children?
  7. Teach the writing process.
  8. Have students write and edit on computer using a Word Processing program such as Word.
  9. Share and publish work on a blog or a wiki or in print format.

More Ways

For a one time donation, the site provides downloadable (.pdf) Educators’ Guides new window for use with Middle/High School and College students, both of which are applicable to and easily modified for use with adult literacy students or older adult programs. The guides’ curricula include discussion guides, pre-writing activities and prompts, and sample essays. The purpose of the guides is to assist instructors in planning lessons with the objective of students writing their own “This I Believe” essays. The curricula “help students understand the concept of belief, explore their own values, and craft them into a well-written essay.” Students can submit their essays to the site for online publication.

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Diploma


  • Low
  • Intermediate
  • High
  • All Levels

Lesson Plan


Begin a Discussion: What is happening in the news? Turn you your neighbor and share one current event. Share with the whole group.


Discussion: How do people handle what they hear in the news?

  • In small groups come up with two- three ways people deal with news stories/events.
  • As a whole group make a list of ways people share stories, express concern, cope with events, take action etc. Create a chart that lists ways people address news events in column #1 so that everyone can see it, and add to it.
  • In your group discuss cause and effects of different ways discussed.  Add these comments in column #2


  1. Introduce NPR series of spoken/articles titled: This I Believe.
  2. As a class, or in small groups depending on your setup  listen to the aritlce Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day. 
  3. In pairs discuss how this article relates to our class discussion.
  4. Share ideas with the class. Add them to the chart. Point out that some methods dealing are positive and others are negative. Does the author deal with world events in a positive or negative way?
  5. In pairs, look at the other actions people take in response to current events. Decide why and how they are positive or negative. As a class gather to fill in the final column; add why each method is positive or negative.
Engagement Enhancement

As pairs, listen/read again to the audio Tommor Will Be a Better Day. Fill out the handout.


As pairs, using what you have written, discuss the writing assignment. Take notes. 

Write a three paragraph essay. Use the following outline:

  1. Summarize the article.
  2. How did the author handle current events? Was it positive or negative? Explain your answer.
  3. in one paragraph explain how you handle discussions about current events.
Engagement Enhancement

In pairs, share the essays. Discuss how each other deal with current events.

As a class share what you learned.

Students turn in their essays. Essays are evaluated on current writing lesson criteria. It may include, essay was on topic, essay was developed, paragraphing skills, full sentences, grammar, spelling usage etc.

Engagement Enhancement Extension

Go back to the list of ways people deal with current events. Focus on the positive methods. 

As a followl up application student groups take a method (ie mindfullness, meditation, volunteerism, anxiety etc) research it, write about it, create a presentation using method of choice (slides/PowerPoint, written discussion wall, video discussion wall, website, oral presentation etc)


  • TomorrowNPR.pdf - Essay questions with link to the Tomorrow Will Be a Better Day essay


  • English Language Arts
    • English 1-4
  • Language Arts - Reading
    • Comprehension
    • Inference and Interpretation
  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Language Facility
    • Organization of Ideas
  • Reading
    • Critical Thinking/Decision Making
    • Vocabulary
  • Reasoning Through Language Arts
    • Essays
  • Writing
    • Paragraph Skills


  • Reading Foundational Skills
    • RF.4 - Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. (Fluency)
  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    • CCR Anchor 3 - Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
    • CCR Anchor 6 - Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
  • Writing
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.


reading, writing, I Believe, listen and read, main idea, pre-writing, prompt, publish, supporting details, text reader, thisibelieve, values, word processing, writing on computer, writing process, audio assist, audio-assisted reading, cloze activity, critical thinking, future

Creative Commons License

CC BY-NC-ND:This license allows reusers to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.


You may copy, download one copy on a single device, and print a limited amount of content for your personal, non-commercial use only, provided that (a) you include without modification all copyright and other proprietary notices contained in the content, (b) you do not modify the content, (c) you do not use the content in a manner that suggests NPR promotes or endorses your, or any third party's, causes, ideas, products, sites, applications, platforms or services, and (d) you do not use the content in any way that is unlawful or harmful. Subject to the conditions in the preceding sentence, you may use widgets and tools on the NPR Services that allow selected User Materials to appear on your personal, noncommercial blog, site, application, platform or service. You may use the content feeds, APIs, podcasts, media players, and other features of the NPR Services, and content accessed therefrom, only as expressly permitted in these Terms of Use, including the "Use of Content: Conditions and Acknowledgments".
Scroll To Top

OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.