We have had a change in books recently in Morning Mama English Time.   Among the books I was using was a Japanese-made pre-one textbook.  (Pre-one for Eiken, a test of English here in Japan.)  I was never happy with it.  It’s boring.  It’s hard.  It’s boring.  It’s BORING!

I was browsing at a store and found this:

It’s called “CNN ニュースリスニング2016”  (CNN News Listening 2016)


I decided to replace the fuddyduddy pre-one book with this hip and happening text.


It has articles from the beginning of 2016.   They are (thankfully) short and sweet.  The vocabulary is much more modern and useful than the other book.  “Tweet” is one of the vocabulary words in this first article.  No, that word will never be on a test.  But he needs that sort of thing for life.   And this book is just so much more fun and relevant.  (It’s also easier, I think, for those of you who are curious about that.)


Articles in the photo above.    Plus all these articles are on a CD–three times each (original version which is very CNN-y fast, V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W version, and one that is in between)

We just started this book, but already I am glad we made the change.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.

Reading Comprehension is hard for us because my son doesn’t have a lot of intrinsic motivation.  He doesn’t buckle down and concentrate. He’s more like “It could be A.  Or B. Or maybe C.   None of those?  Okay, Mom.  D.  It is definitely D.”  I’m hoping the articles in this book will keep his interest and make him WANT to study English (as opposed to something he has to do.)

After I wrote this post, I was shopping in a different bookstore.  I found a very similar book, this time by the Japan Times.  (Japan’s primary newspaper in English.)


As you can see, it is is extremely similar.  CD included.


The beginning of the table of contents (there is more than this.)


I think it’s a little more more difficult than the CNN book.  Not much, just a little.  But very, very similar.

I really did want to buy it, but of course restrained myself.  My son does not need to do TWO of these books each morning.

I think that when one studies Japanese or does homeschooling, one becomes a sort of learning materials addict.  One thinks that the more one buys, the smarter one will be become.  (“One” meaning me, of course.)

I can spend forever in front of learning materials in a bookstore, thinking about them, deciding which to purchase. I don’t need any more, so I usually don’t purchase them.   However, there is always the desire…..!

If you don’t want to spend money on ready-made books like these…you can always go to the one of the many current events sites for kids, like this one:  http://magazines.scholastic.com/ and print out an article.  That way it will be the most current possible, and you can choose exactly what you want to teach.