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Life Stories

“Between the Pages: A Story of Love and Friendship”

This reading activity recycles the topic found in another listening activity on this website, with the goal of increasing understanding and use of English.

Pre-Listening Activities

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Word Association: Write the words “books” and “friendship” on the board and ask students to brainstorm related words or phrases for each. After a few minutes, discuss the responses as a class.

  2. Predicting the Story: Have students read the story’s title and write down what they think it will be about. Then, ask them to share their predictions and discuss their reasoning with a partner.

  3. Vocabulary Preview: Choose a few keywords from the story, such as “brush it off” or “perplexed,” and have students work in pairs to define them using context clues. Then, share the definitions as a class.

  4. Debate: Split the class into two groups and have them debate the following statement: “Books are better enjoyed alone than with a friend.” Have students use evidence from their own experiences or examples from the story to support their arguments.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. Key vocabulary words are marked in bold.


One day, Ashley and James were strolling through a large bookstore. They had been best friends for years and would often spend time together reading and discussing their favorite books.

As they walked through the aisles, James noticed Ashley had been acting a bit distant lately. He tried to brush it off, thinking she might just be stressed from work, but deep down, he knew there was something more.

They continued browsing until Ashley stumbled upon a book that caught her eye. James watched as she picked it up and began flipping through the pages with a look of intensity. Suddenly, she closed the book and looked up at James with a perplexed expression.

“What’s wrong?” James asked, concerned.

“I feel like I just read myself in this book,” Ashley replied.

James was taken back. He had never heard Ashley speak so openly about her feelings before. He realized that he had been so focused on his own life lately that he had neglected to truly listen to his best friend.

Time passed as they continued browsing, but the moment stuck with James. He couldn’t shake off the thought that there was something deeper going on with Ashley. As they were getting ready to leave, James decided to take a chance and ask her if everything was alright.

Ashley hesitated for a moment before opening up to James. She revealed that she had been struggling with her feelings for him for some time now. James was taken back and didn’t know how to respond.

Suddenly, an idea came to him. He reached into his bag and pulled out a book he had picked up earlier. He handed it to Ashley, telling her to read the inscription on the first page.

To her surprise, it read: “To Ashley, the one who reads me like a book. Love, James.”

Ashley looked up at James with tears in her eyes, realizing that he had known how she felt all along. They shared a tender moment, and their friendship transformed into something more.

As they left the bookstore hand in hand, Ashley realized that sometimes the person you’ve been looking for has been right in front of you all along.

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. What did Ashley stumble upon in the bookstore?
A. A cookbook
B. A mystery novel
C. A self-help book
D. A book that reflected her own life

2. How did James react when Ashley shared her feelings for him?
A. He was shocked and didn’t know how to respond.
B. He immediately reciprocated her feelings.
C. He brushed it off and changed the subject.
D. He got angry and stormed out of the store.

3. What did James give Ashley before they left the bookstore?
A. A new book to read
B. A piece of candy
C. A bouquet of flowers
D. A book with a special inscription

4. How did Ashley react to the inscription in the book James gave her?
A. She laughed it off.
B. She was confused.
C. She was touched and had tears in her eyes.
D. She didn’t even read it.

5. What did Ashley realize as they left the bookstore?
A. She needed to find a new best friend.
B. She had forgotten her car keys.
C. She had been in love with James all along.
D. She wanted to go back inside and buy more books.


1. Answer: D. A book that reflected her own life
2. Answer: A. He was shocked and didn’t know how to respond
3. Answer: D. A book with a special inscription
4. Answer: C. She was touched and had tears in her eyes
5. Answer: C. She had been in love with James all along.

Discussion Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehend):

  1. What are the names of the two friends in the story?
  2. Where does the story take place?
  3. What does it mean to “read someone like a book”?
  4. How would you describe the relationship between Ashley and James?
  5. What happens at the end of the story?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Do you believe it is possible to read someone like a book? Why or why not?
  2. Do you believe in the concept of “the one” or do you think there can be multiple people who are a good match for us?

Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Have you ever misjudged someone based on their appearance or behavior, only to later realize you were wrong? Can you share that experience?
  2. What communication skills can help us avoid misunderstandings and improve our relationships?
Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
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