Original Short Stories by Hal Ames
Hal Ames has a wonderful website for his International Language Studies students. But by far the best part is his original short stories. There are over 80 stories. They are divided by level (low intermediate, intermediate, upper intermediate), but he also has Chapter Stories, Famous Stories By Famous Authors in Simple English, and even a few novels for advanced students. All in PDF format and downloadable.
On his home page he has links for Study Guides, Popular Links, Worksheets, and Printable Flashcards.
Hal's stories would be great for older students but also for teachers wanting to improve their English.
Hal was kind enough to answer a few questions about his short stories:
What is your background, and is your one-on-one online lessons your at International Language Studies your full time job, besides working on the website?
I have B.A. in English from Trinity International University. My intent was to become a high school teacher in English and Social Studies, but went into retail management instead.
I became interested in computers working for Radio Shack. I was approached by a school to teach computer software to adults. I took the job and found that I enjoyed teaching. I moved to the Philippines in 2005 and took a job teaching in a Jr./Sr. high school for Korean children of missionaries. From there I began to teach one-on-one classes. Upon returning to the US in 2008 I began teaching over the internet. I have been doing this full-time since. I have 34 students in various countries (mostly China and Russia) from age 8 to age 65.
When did you start posting your own stories on the web and why?
When I was in the Philippines I was asked to be the director of a summer English for Korean students. I was told I had to provide the lesson materials. I know that reading is the important for developing language skills so I wrote 13 short stories. The instructors at the camp said the stories were very helpful and that the experience was the best they had ever had. The parents sent very positive letters to the sponsor. From those stories. I began to write more.
Before that, my son and I wrote a science fiction novel together which we published.
Have you ever thought of selling your stories in print or ebook format?
I have considered trying to publish my stories in a workbook format, but I don’t have time to market them. I print off workbooks and bind them to use in my classroom teaching. Usually I put 12 stories together in progressive reading levels.
What kind of stories are the most requested from your students?
I’m not sure which kind of stories are liked the most. I know my favorites.
What’s in store for people who come to your site in the future?
I work well over 50 hours a week between my online classes and my volunteer work at two churches that have ESL programs for immigrants. Therefore, I don’t have a lot of time to concentrate on the website. I few more stories in the bucket that I am working on. I am taking three weeks off to return to the Philippines for my daughter’s wedding. During that time, especially on the airplane, I plant work on some of those unfinished projects.