Reading Lessons

My reading lessons are for advanced and proficiency level ESL. This lesson plan is about lying, and is based on an article that discusses the ethics of lying. When and when is it not okay to lie? There is plenty of scope for discussion, with vocabulary and idioms for the students to learn as well.

There is a free download of this lesson plan at the bottom of this page.


Write the following words onto flashcards, and place them facedown on the table:

  • Holidays
  • Work            
  • A hobby
  • Sport
  • Schools
  • Movies

Get each student to choose one, and show the rest of the class what their topic is. The students then need to take turns asking each other questions about their topic e.g. Where did you go on your last holiday? Where would you most like to go on holiday? etc. Each student needs to lie once during their turn. The other students need to guess which was the lie.


Get the students to discuss the following and then get feedback from them:

Have you ever lied about any of the following:

  1. Your age
  2. Being questioned by the police
  3. Your salary
  4. Your qualifications on a job application
  5. When you were late for work
  6. Giving someone your address or telephone number
  7. Your tax return
  8. Your whereabouts


Get the students to read the following article entitled 'Lying' by Tim Lazur:

and answer the following questions:

  1. What are the beliefs of Kantians, virtuists, and utilitarians with regards to lying?
  2. What is the problem with the utilitarian point of view?
  3. Why do some people believe that lying is nowadays a bigger problem than it used to be?
  4. Which of these philosophies best expresses what you believe?

While reading through the article, get the students to underline any words they don't understand, and go through this vocabulary with them once they have completed the comprehension exercise.


Cut up the following idioms and defintions and get the students to match them. Once they understand the idioms, get them to ask each other questions with them.

a white lie an innocent harmless lie
nothing could be further from the truth a lie
to lie through one's teeth a blatant lie
to be economical with the truth to be deceitful by withholding the truth
a pack of lies a story that has been invented in order to deceive people

Phrasal Verbs

Get the students to fill in the missing words in order to make up phrasal verbs that match the definitions (answer key in the downloadable lesson plan):

out, along, up, in, with, away, up, out

  1. to bear _____ - to prove that something is true
  2. hush ______ - to stop the public from finding out the truth
  3. to level _____ - to tell the truth
  4. to cover ______ - to stop people from discovering the truth
  5. to make ______  - to claim that something is true when it is not
  6. to give ______ - to tell someone something that should have been a secret
  7. to play ______  - to pretend to agree with someone for a short time
  8. to confide ______  - to tell someone something that you don’t tell others


Cut out the following headlines and distribute them amongst the students. Without telling the other students what their headline is, they need to make up and tell the story behind the headline. The other students need to make up possible headlines for the story using the phrasal verbs, and see who can get the closest to the real headline.

DNA evidence bears out previous suspicions

Top level government cover up leads to arrests

President levels with public about covert operations

Photos give away secret honeymoon location

New studies show: confiding in someone brings greater happiness

Celebrity plays along with game show host

Disgruntled workers hushed up with extra incentives

Finance minister makes out economy has never been better

Reading Lessons
Free Downloadable Lesson Plan

If you enjoyed this lesson, why don't you try some of my Reading LessonsGrammar Lessons or Business English Lessons.

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