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Breaking News English: Insulting Monarchy and Freedom of Speech

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer(s), Internet access

Activity Description

Use this article, "Thailand jails US Man for Insulting King," and its lesson activities and audio file for reading and listening practice in conjunction with class lessons or discussions of civil liberties, EL Civics, U.S. Government, and History unit, and/or freedom of speech and religion (First Amendment).


  • If you plan to use the MP3 file, check to see if the site is blocked at your school. If it is, download the MP3 file to your computer and copy it to a USB flash drive to play on the computer in your classroom.
  • Go to the site (or select the link below) and download the lesson handout. It is located on the top left under the word Print. Select the "13-page PDF handout" (PDF)
  • Print the PDF file and make copies for your students. The file is a self-contained lesson plan.


  1. To download the audio file, select the link to "MP3" under "Listen." You may choose to play the audio in your browser in the pop-up window or download and transport the file on a USB flash drive (also called a thumb drive).
  2. Follow the lesson as it is outlined on the handout.

Teacher Tips

  • Prepare conversation or discussion questions to introduce the topic in the article and link it to other course content / previous class topics, texts, or discussions.
  • There are also online interactive exercises (quiz, gap fill, matching, crossword, vocabulary flashcards, etc.) that can be used for review of the lesson either in class or individually by students in a lab.
  • For lower-level (easier) texts with lessons, see the companion site News English Lessons . The texts contain some British spellings, and the audio recordings are in a slight British accent.
  • For lower-levels the author of this site has another companion site where there are almost 200 ESL Holiday lessons, some for days you have never heard of.

More Ways

This Web site contains numerous reading lessons on a variety of high-interest news items that have been put into simplified language for ESL students. The site's main page lists new entries, posted every few days in chronological order.

If you are looking for a reading lesson on a specific topic, scroll down to the bottom of the homepage where you can search for lessons categorized in the following groupings:

  • Business English
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Lifestyle
  • Famous People and Gossip
  • Technology
  • World News

Each lesson (a downloadable PDF file) has a downloadable audio file (mp3), so students can listen to the article while reading it, or you can use the lesson plan materials for listening skills practice.

The lessons have the following types of activities based around short news articles: warm-ups (e.g., conversation, interviews, ranking); before reading/listening (e.g., prediction, vocabulary preparation); while reading/listening (e.g., cloze); after reading/listening (vocabulary, comprehension, recall); discussion; language (grammar, parts of speech); and writing -- all with answers. There are also online interactive activities to accompany the lessons, which include fill-in-the-blank, matching, hangman, flash cards, sentence jumble, missing words, crossword puzzles.


  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (7.2) Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
  • (7.6) Demonstrate the ability to view the media critically
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 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.