B1 Reading: Accidental

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5

Doctor on the Couch

She liked lying on the couch. She often thought it was the best part of going to the psychologist. She often worked nights and couldn’t sleep well during the day. But when she was here, talking to Ann, she felt all the stress fall from her body and she could really relax. “And how’s it going with Alex?” asked Ann. “He still doesn’t understand my situation.” she said. “You know, what it’s like working as a doctor, my children coming back home to live with me, my ex. When I’m not working I just want to be alone or having fun with friends.” “So you still feel happier when you’re working?” asked Ann. “Sure. And I’d like to feel happy when I’m not working too.” she said. She was now thinking about the meal that evening. Would he be happy or would it all end in another horrible argument? “I like to be with him when we’re having fun.” she said. “A romantic meal, just you and me.” she laughed. “Sorry?” said Ann.

Understanding the Story

1-3 Single Choice: Choose the best option from A-D below.

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Vocabulary

1. Find 8 words from the story in the word square.

Look at the example ‘meal’. You can move in any direction, but each letter has to connect to a letter next to it.

Click ‘ANSWER’ when you finish.
a2storiesaccidental1square

ANSWER
meal

couch

stress

relax

ex

alone

fun

romantic

2. Look at the 8 words and write down any words you don’t know.

Find the words in the story again and decide if they are important for understanding the story.

If they aren’t important, continue reading and don’t look for them in a dictionary.

If you think they are important, can you understand possible meanings from the sentence they are in?

If you have no idea about the meaning and think the word is important, then continue reading and use a dictionary to learn it when you finish.

Write the sentence containing the word, but don’t write a translation in your language. When you look at the word again, the sentence will help you remember what it means.

This is a good way to learn new vocabulary without looking in a dictionary for every word you don’t know. Some words aren’t important, so don’t spend time learning them.

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Now do a crossword puzzle to practise these words and others from the story.

CROSSWORD

Language Focus: Like + to/-ing, Want to, Would like to

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2. Now decide which phrase above has the following meaning:
A) I want something but I don’t have it and I don’t know if I will have it in the future.

B) I enjoy this.

C) I think it’s something good.

D) I want this a lot.

Click ‘ANSWER’ when you have decided.

ANSWER
A) I’d like to be happy

B) She liked lying on the couch

C) I like to be with him

D) I just want to be alone

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Practice Board

4. Now write your own sentences using ‘like’, ‘want’ and ‘would like’ on the board below. Happy writing!

You can also listen to this part of the story below.

Introduction

What happened in part 1
In the first part of the story, 'Doctor on the Couch' a woman is at the psychologist talking about her personal problems. She imagines a romantic meal with her boyfriend that evening, and what it will be like.

Pre-reading

Look at the pictures below and decide what the story is about.
accidentalmixed

Reading

Read the story quickly and order the pictures. Click ‘ANSWER’ when you finish.

The Second Telephone

She was talking on the phone when he walked in. He wanted to hold her in his arms, but she looked unhappy and there were tears in her eyes. He walked slowly to the kitchen to get her a glass of water. He never picked up the second telephone when she was talking to someone, but today everything felt different. He carefully picked up the handset and heard the voice at the other end of the line. “We’re sorry Mrs Havers, but there was nothing we could do.” said the voice. “John was already dead when he arrived here at the hospital.” He took the handset from his face to put it down. But when he looked, the handset was in its place and there was nothing in his hand.
ANSWER
Order of pictures: C, E, A, F, B, D

Understanding the story

1-5: True or False
Click ‘CHECK‘ to see the answers and ‘NEXT‘ to continue.

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Vocabulary

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Language Focus: 'to' - giving the *purpose of an action (*answering 'why?' or 'What for?').

1. Look at these sentences from the story.
A) He walked slowly to the kitchen to get her a glass of water. B) He took the handset from his face to put it down.

Practice

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Practice Board

You can also listen to this part of the story below.

Introduction

What happened in part 2
In the second part of the story, 'The Second Telephone' a man walks into his lounge as his wife is talking on the phone. She is sad. He goes to the kitchen to get her a glass of water and picks up the second phone. He hears a man tell her someone has died in an accident. He goes to put the phone down, but it's in its place and there is nothing in his hand. The man is really the ghost of the dead man.

A Romantic Meal

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When you finish checking exercise 1., click “FULL TEXT HERE” below to see the original story.

FULL TEXT HERE
A Romantic Meal
They were having a quiet, romantic dinner at his house when her phone rang. “I have to go.” she said. “There’s been a serious accident on the motorway.” She put her knife and fork down on the plate, cleaned her mouth and gave him a kiss. In the corner of the room, music was playing. He walked over to the laptop and turned it off. She picked up her medical bag and left. He turned on the TV to see if there was any news about the accident and sat down to finish his meal. After some minutes he saw her there, behind the television reporter, talking to the paramedics. He looked down at her plate of food and tears filled his eyes.

Understanding the Story

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Answer With Explanation (Click Here)

2. False, because the story says “There’s been a serious accident on the motorway.” and in the picture we see an ambulance on a street in a town.

3. True, because the story says, "she...cleaned her mouth"

4. False, because the story says, "She picked up her medical bag" and in the picture she is picking up her purse.

5. False, because the story says, "he saw her there, behind the television reporter, talking to the paramedics" and in the picture, she is standing next to the television reporter and isn't talking to the paramedics.

6. True, because the story says, "tears filled his eyes".

Vocabulary

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Language Focus: Past Simple / Continuous

Look at these examples from the story:
A) “They were having a quiet, romantic dinner at his house when her phone rang.”

B) “In the corner of the room, music was playing.”

1. Which sentence describes an action continuing over a period of time?

2. And which sentence describes a short action beginning while another longer action is happening?

Click “ANSWER” when you have decided.
ANSWER
1. B) The music is playing while they are eating.

2. A) The phone starts ringing while the music is playing.

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Practice Board

5. Use the board below to make your own sentences using past continuous and past simple.
You can also listen to this part of the story below.

Introduction

What happened in part 3
In the third part of the story, 'A Romantic Meal' a man and woman are having dinner when the woman gets a call to tell her there has been an accident on the motorway. The man continues his meal, but when he sees her on the television, he begins to cry.

Surprise Party

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I

He always worked on his birthday. It was August, the busiest time of the year for the coach company and the only month that he couldn’t take holidays or a day off. As it was his fortieth, she decided to plan a surprise party and everything was ready in the village pub where he usually had a drink when he finished work. The girls were excited and running around noisily, so she was very happy when they asked if they could go and play with their friends in the neighbour’s garden. “But only for an hour.” she said. “We need to be at the pub at 8 to make sure we’re there when Daddy arrives.” The girls came back an hour later and as they opened the front door, the phone was ringing in the lounge.

II

The voice said, “I’m sorry to inform you, but there’s been a serious accident on the motorway and we weren’t able to save your husband’s life.” The man continued speaking, but she didn’t hear a thing he said. She put the phone down and stood there, tears filling her eyes. The girls came into the lounge through the kitchen. “We just saw Daddy,” said the older sister, “but he couldn’t see us. There he is again Mummy. Can you see him?” She turned to look but couldn’t see or feel anything. “He’s gone again now.” said the little sister. “Goodbye Daddy. Come home soon. Why are you crying Mummy?” she asked. She wasn’t able to tell the girls that Daddy wouldn’t be coming home. She picked up the phone again and called the pub. “I’m afraid we can’t come this evening,” she said. She heard the man say something, but his words were just noises she couldn’t understand.

Understanding the Story

1. Choose the correct option from A-D in questions 1-6 below.

Click ‘NEXT’ to continue and ‘FINISH’ to see your result.

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2. Are sentences A-H true or false?

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Vocabulary

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Language Focus: Can, Can't / Could, Couldn't

1. How many verbs from the story can you find? Move from one square to the next in any direction.
a2storiesaccidental4square

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3. Choose the correct option for sentences 1-7 using A-G from exercise 2. to help you.

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4. Now complete the sentences from exercise 3. using the words in bold.

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Practice Board

5. Use the board below to answer the questions using the forms we have practised.
You can also listen to this part of the story below.

Introduction

What happened in part 4
In the fourth part of the story, 'Surprise Party' a woman tells her children they can go and play with their friends for an hour. They need to come back then, to go to their father's fortieth birthday party. When the children come home, their mother is talking on the phone. They see their father come and go, but the voice on the phone tells their mother he has died in a traffic accident.
Accident

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John Havers was driving along the motorway when he felt the pain again in his head. He quickly looked down to take his medicine that was on the seat next to him. His hands felt weak and he was having difficulty controlling the coach. He wanted to shout to the passengers to help him, but no sound came from his mouth. The car in front had a sign on the back window. It said: “Baby On Board” He tried to brake, but his foot wouldn’t move. The coach was moving faster than the car and there was nothing he could do. The last thing he saw before hitting the back of the car, was the baby seat and there, on his front window, the photo of his own two small children.

Understanding the Story

Decide if statements 1-5 are true or false.

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Vocabulary

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3/3: The words below are from level B1, but maybe you can understand them from the sentences in the story. Don’t look for them in a dictionary if you don’t think they are important for understanding the story.

B1 words: medicine, weak, difficulty, control, sign, on board, brake

Language Focus: Prepositions of Place and Movement

1. Look at the first sentence from this part of the story:
He was driving along the motorway when he felt the pain again in his head.

A) Find a preposition which connects an action to a place. B) Find a preposition which describes the place where something happened.

Click “ANSWER” when you have decided.
ANSWER
A) along the motorway

B) in his head

2. Look at the story again and find more examples of these prepositions.

There are 2 examples of A) and 6 of B).

Click “ANSWER” when you have decided.
ANSWER
Prepositions of Movement
  • shout to the passengers
  • came from his mouth
Prepositions of Place
  • was on the seat
  • seat next to him
  • car in front
  • sign on the back window
  • baby on board
  • there on his front window

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Practice Board

You can also listen to this part of the story below.

Full Story in PDF