Reading Comprehension Lessons

This is one of my reading comprehension lessons for advanced ESL students.

This lesson looks at some rather interesting and unusual inventions that never really took off. Although Thomas Edison patented 2,332 inventions around the globe, and was clearly an entrepreneur, not all his inventions were well received. This article has a look at some of his ideas on furniture. Maybe you can work out for yourself why his ideas were not popular J

Other inventions that are covered are the self-cleaning house and the potentially useful escape coffin. Find out why you might have needed one and how it works J

This lesson deals not only with some amusing inventions from the past, but also concludes with some state of the art inventions from 2011.

Free Downloadable Lesson


My reading comprehension lessons are suitable for advanced and proficiency level English (B2, C1 and C2).

Language Focus

This lesson plan starts off with a discussion among the students about inventions. They have to choose their top 10 favourite inventions of all time, and then practise some teamwork as they narrow down their selection to only 5. Of course they get to present their decisions and substantiate their answers.

Before reading the article, the students need to speculate on how they would have designed the innovations if faced with the challenge. How would they design a house that needs absolutely no cleaning at all? How would they make a coffin so that someone can escape after burial? And if they had a surplus of concrete, what sort of furniture would they make with it?

Of course, as with all reading comprehension lessons there is also relevant vocabulary to learn, and then some topical idioms that you can add.

To finish off the lesson, the students will find out what the top inventions of 2011 were J

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