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Intro What makes a perfect summer jam? It has to be a catchy, upbeat song. It should have the feeling of a carefree, sun-filled day. It should make you want to dance. And you’ll know it’s the hit of the summer when you can’t help but hear it every time you turn on your radio. So what is this summer’s big hit? Is it “Alejandro” by Lady Gaga? Katy Pe…
 
Intro Hi Friends! Labor Day happens every year on the first Monday in September. It is a holiday dedicated to the American workers who have contributed to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Many people use the three-day holiday weekend to travel and visit family and friends. It’s also a common weekend for marriages. Beth is pl…
 
Intro Summer is almost here, and that means it’s time to start the agonizing process of shopping for a new bathing suit. Finding the perfect suit that covers up everything you’d rather not reveal while still showing off all the right parts is difficult, especially for the ladies. But girls aren’t the only ones who can be faced with a swimsuit dilem…
 
Intro When sailors went on long voyages, they would take citrus fruits like limes or oranges with them. Without them, or specifically, the vitamin C inside them, the sailors would die! These days, sailors have vitamin C pills, but that doesn’t mean that eating a grapefruit isn’t good for your health. Citrus fruits are a tasty way to stay well. One …
 
Intro The mother of all Marvel superhero movies is here. Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man have all had their own successful movies. Now they are all teamed up for one giant blockbuster that tells the story of how these superheroes came to be so super. Not only is The Avengers full of colorful characters, it is directed by Joss Whedon who is…
 
Intro For some people, the commute to and from the office is the most stressful part of the day. Driving a car, waiting for the train, or taking a bus just to start work can take up lots of time. Working from home avoids that step and sounds very relaxing. Now that technology enables many people to do their jobs outside the office, more and more pe…
 
Intro We don’t choose our relatives. We’re just born with them, and we have to do our best to get along with them. In fact, we have to love them. They’re family. Sometimes, that can be a challenge. We all have relatives who just don’t seem to have anything in common with us. But most of us also have at least one relative whom we love to be around a…
 
Intro Hi Friends! There are lots of ways to travel from city to city in the U.S. – including airplanes, trains, buses, and even boats. But one of Americans’ favorite ways to travel is by car. People love to drive. The freedom of the open road and the fun of seeing all the interesting things between here and there make for a great adventure. Zach re…
 
Intro A few short years ago, the life of the business traveler was great. You would fly first class from city to city, drink and dine on the company tab, stay in plush hotel rooms, and milk that unrestricted corporate expense account for all it was worth. But times have changed. With increasing operating costs, companies are downsizing their staffs…
 
Intro Rémy wants to be a chef, and luckily, he lives in the best culinary city in the world, Paris, France. But there’s one problem. Rémy is a rat. And rats can’t be chefs. They aren’t even allowed in kitchens! Listen to Mason tell Amanda about how Rémy the rat makes for his favorite movie of the summer, Ratatouille. Dialogue Mason: Have, uh, seen …
 
Intro The lives of men have always revolved around water. There’s a reason most cities are located on a river or lake. Potable water has always been necessary and somewhat hard to find. But with increasing population and pollution, it is becoming more and more difficult to hydrate mankind. Some experts say that the next world war will be over water…
 
Intro Hi Friends! When getting to know someone, it’s common to talk about where you come from. Your background has a lot to do with who you are, so you can help someone understand you better if you tell them about your hometown and your history. Also, it’s interesting to hear what someone else’s opinions are about the place where you grew up. Often…
 
Intro Shortly after the final episode Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld was sitting around one day and started thinking to himself… “What is the deal with bees? Why are they so obsessed with honey? They know the beekeeper is going to come take it away, yet they continue to produce it. I think it’s time the bees did something for themselves for a change. I t…
 
Intro Stuff has a way of piling up. Even if you have a lot of storage, you will run out of room eventually. Everyone has some things they could get rid of. But how? You don’t just want to throw your stuff away. That would be wasteful, and it’s got to be worth something to someone. Time for a garage sale! A garage sale, also known as a yard sale or …
 
Intro Everybody loves fresh food! And it’s wonderful when you can grow this food in your own garden. However, many of us have limited space, and we can’t do a lot of gardening in our yards. But a popular new idea can help… vertical gardening! Vertical gardens grow on walls or in tall planters with different spaces for many plants. Growing food vert…
 
Intro Even though we often complain about our jobs, nobody wants to get fired. If you have to lose your job, it should at least be for something crazy, like having an affair with the boss’s daughter or setting fire to your cubicle. But often, when businesses start losing money, they have no choice but to lay off a bunch of their employees. Times ar…
 
Intro Put a pre-pubescent girl who wants to win a beauty contest, her angst-ridden teen-aged brother, her loving, mischievous grandfather and her gay uncle who has just tried to commit suicide together in an old VW bus with her well-meaning but stressed out parents and you’ve got the road trip for the movie Little Miss Sunshine, a poignant comedy a…
 
Intro A free trip sounds like a lot of fun. But working when you’d rather be sightseeing or lounging by the pool doesn’t sound fun at all. Actually, that sounds like a business trip. Many jobs involve traveling. You might need to go to another city, state, or even a different country to attend an important meeting, visit a client, or work on a proj…
 
Intro When movies first came out, they didn’t have sound. So stars like Charlie Chaplin became famous by using their hands and eyes to act. Over the last 17 years, Rowan Atkinson has become famous with a similar technique. Although his movies have sound, his character, a child-like man named Mr. Bean, speaks very rarely. Since so many of Mr. Bean’s…
 
Intro Tests don’t have to be scary. It seems like a lot can go wrong, but as long as you prepare and stay calm, you’ll be OK. And it’s no secret that being well-prepared helps you stay calm. American students lose sleep over the SAT, which determines what colleges you can get into. People who live in other countries and want to study in the US have…
 
Intro Are tests easy for you, or do exams make you freak out? Some people have no problem taking and passing tests. They are able to go to an exam without feeling nervous, and they stay calm during the test. They push through the difficult parts and excel. Sometimes, people like this don’t even need to study. They can ace their tests with very litt…
 
Intro What makes you happy? American singer Pharrell Williams produced a catchy song in 2013 that took the world by storm. Williams’ song “Happy” has topped the charts in over 20 countries, proving that people all around the globe are looking for ways to genuinely celebrate and enjoy the good things in life. “Happy” was featured in the movie Despic…
 
Intro Each year, spring brings an explosion of color. From blossoming trees to tulips of every shade, flowers create a sense of joy and new beginnings. Many people like to plant flowers in their gardens. Others like to fill their homes with pretty blooms, or surprise that special someone with a bouquet. But you won’t see Jason planting any rose bus…
 
Intro Who should be the breadwinner in a family? The father? The mother? Or both? In the past, men were often the breadwinners. They went to work and brought home money. Women took care of the children and the house. A woman like this was called a stay-at-home mom. In our times, there has been a role reversal. Many women work, and some men are will…
 
Intro Oscar season is right around the corner. Many people in the movie industry want to win an Oscar. They spend millions of dollars just to be worthy of one! Oscar-winning movies are often serious, unique, and compelling. Some producers make very serious movies to bait the Oscar judges. But what about superhero movies? Could these win a prestigio…
 
❶ Intro Did you notice your heating bill to be surprisingly low this month, or that your got exceptionally good mileage? Perhaps you experienced a small recreation of the miracle of Hanukkah. When the Jews reclaimed the Temple of Jerusalem from the Syrians in the second century, they had enough oil to light the menorah, which was supposed to burn a…
 
❶ Intro Family. Presents. Food. Decorations. Presents. Oh, and did we mention presents? For all these reasons and more, Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But not everyone feels merry during the holidays. In fact, many people get depressed or feel blue at this time. Some people feel sad at Christmas because they can’t …
 
❶ Intro A couple of weeks ago, director Martin Scorsese won an Oscar for his awesome film The Departed. This film is based on the 2002 Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs. Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson all play parts in this complicated Boston story about the Irish mob and the Massachusetts State Police. Desp…
 
❶ Intro When angry, American fathers commonly shout, “As soon as you’re 18, you’re on your own means a lot. It means you’re a legal adult, and, more often than not, people move out of their parents’ home when they are 18. ...And some of them come back or never leave at all. Adults live with their parents for lots of reasons. Sometimes their parents…
 
❶ Intro One day you come home from school or work, and you find that your front door is open. At first you’re afraid that someone has broken into your house and has taken your things. But when you get inside, you see something surprising and wonderful. There are flowers and chocolate on your kitchen table, and someone has cleaned the house, too. Ev…
 
❶ Intro Religion has been around as long as humans have been on earth. Over the centuries, people have developed all kinds of ways to explain the mysteries of life and death, and to connect with themselves. There are many religions. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism and Taoism are some of the more common religions. B…
 
❶ Intro Even though we try to eat healthily, we might not be eating all of the right foods. We can take a pill that has the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Supplements are an easy way to get needed vitamins. But some people are too focused on vitamins. They might actually be taking so many pills that their bodies can’t absorb them. Whil…
 
❶ Intro This is the week that a lot of Americans have been waiting for. This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving[/def]. Some people call it ‘turkey day’ because we all eat turkey on that day. Check out a conversation Sara and Steph had last week about the big day. ❷ Dialogue Steph: So, Sara, what are you doing for the holidays? Sara: Well, for Thanksgi…
 
❶ Intro For many people in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the most important family holidays of the year. Because Thanksgiving is on Thursday, it’s common for employees to have Friday off from work, giving four days for travel and family reunion. Beth has some exciting plans for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration. Listen in to her conversation …
 
❶ Intro No matter what race, religion, or ethnicity, on the third Thursday in November, most people in the US sit down to a Thanksgiving meal. For some, it’s a traditional dinner, with turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Others might serve all vegetarian food. Still others might include foods that reflect their cultural heritage, like turkey with ki…
 
❶ Intro In the US, many people write thank you notes when they receive a gift. It is considered the minimum courtesy toward the gift-giver to acknowledge the thoughtfulness and usefulness of the gift. However, many Americans never write thank you notes, the younger generations especially. It seems that we may be losing this custom. If you are in th…
 
❶ Intro Many students can agree that one of the times that they look forward to the most is the summer! The sun is out, the weather is great, there’s no homework, and you can do whatever you want! Unless, of course, you have summer school or a summer job. But some students like having a summer job. It’s a great opportunity to earn their own money a…
 
❶ Intro Different things can annoy one person but not bother another person. It can be something little like watching someone chew their food with their mouth open. Or it may be something that bothers a lot of people like drivers who don’t obey traffic laws. Everyone has pet peeves. Since we can’t control the way people behave, we are sure to find …
 
❶ Intro Living with your parents can be nice. They pay for rent, food, and many other things. But there comes a time for all of us when we need to leave the nest. If you want to become independent, you have to move out at some point. Moving out can be hard. It is sometimes difficult to pay all the bills. And you have to cook for yourself. But many …
 
❶ Intro Everyone knows the true story of Christmas. It’s the story of a boy wanted a BB gun...What’s that? That’s just A Christmas Story, not the Christmas story? Oh. Well in that case it’s the story of Will Ferrell except he was raised by elves and…Wait. That’s not it either? Huh? It’s about the birth of Jesus Christ? Really? When did that movie c…
 
❶ Intro Have you ever volunteered to help your neighborhood? Some people believe that it is very important to give back to their communities. It can make you feel good and also help change your community for the better. There are many different things that people can do that they enjoy for community service. It can be anything from helping to serve…
 
❶ Intro There is nothing like having a friend who has been with you through all of the stages of your life. Some people are lucky enough to have made a best friend when they were in primary school, and then continue to be friends with them for the rest of their lives. But as we grow older, it can be difficult to keep in contact as we move away and …
 
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