• The story we shall read is set in the future, when books and
schools as we now know them will perhaps not exist. How
will children study then? The diagram below may give you
• In pairs, discuss three things that you like best about your
school and three things about your school that you would
like to change. Write them down.
• Have you ever read words on a television (or computer) screen?
Can you imagine a time when all books will be on computers,
and there will be no books printed on paper? Would you like
such books better?
1. MARGIE even wrote about it that night in her diary.
On the page headed 17 May 2157, she wrote, “Today
Tommy found a real book!”
It was a very old book. Margie’s grandfather once
said that when he was a little boy his grandfather
told him that there was a time when all stories
were printed on paper.
They turned the pages, which were yellow and
crinkly, and it was awfully funny to read words
that stood still instead of moving the way they were
supposed to — on a screen, you know. And then
when they turned back to the page before, it had
the same words on it that it had had when they
read it the first time.
2. “Gee,” said Tommy, “what a waste. When you’re
through with the book, you just throw it away, I
guess. Our television screen must have had a million
books on it and it’s good for plenty more. I wouldn’t
throw it away.”
“Same with mine,” said Margie. She was eleven
and hadn’t seen as many telebooks as Tommy had.
He was thirteen.
She said, “Where did you find it?”
“In my house.” He pointed without looking,
because he was busy reading. “In the attic.”
“What’s it about?”
3. Margie was scornful. “School? What’s there to
write about school? I hate school.”
Margie always hated school, but now she hated
it more than ever. The mechanical teacher had been
giving her test after test in geography and she had
been doing worse and worse until her mother had
shaken her head sorrowfully and sent for the County
4. He was a round little man with a red face and a
whole box of tools with dials and wires. He smiled
at Margie and gave her an apple, then took the
teacher apart. Margie had hoped he wouldn’t know
how to put it together again, but he knew how all
right, and, after an hour or so, there it was again,
large and black and ugly, with a big screen on which
all the lessons were shown and the questions were
That wasn’t so bad. The part Margie hated
most was the slot where she had to put homework
and test papers. She always had to write them out
in a punch code they made her learn when she was
six years old, and the mechanical teacher calculated
the marks in no time.
5. The Inspector had smiled after he was finished
and patted Margie’s head. He said to her mother,
“It’s not the little girl’s fault, Mrs Jones. I think the
geography sector was geared a little too quick. Those
things happen sometimes. I’ve slowed it up to an
average ten-year level. Actually, the overall pattern
of her progress is quite satisfactory.” And he patted
Margie’s head again.
Margie was disappointed. She had been hoping
they would take the teacher away altogether. They
had once taken Tommy’s teacher away for nearly a
month because the history sector had blanked out
So she said to Tommy, “Why would anyone write
6. Tommy looked at her with very superior eyes.
“Because it’s not our kind of school, stupid. This is
the old kind of school that they had hundreds and
hundreds of years ago.” He added loftily,
pronouncing the word carefully, “Centuries ago.”
Margie was hurt. “Well, I don’t know what
kind of school they had all that time ago.” She read
the book over his shoulder for a while, then said,
“Anyway, they had a teacher.”
“Sure they had a teacher, but it wasn’t a regular
teacher. It was a man.”
“A man? How could a man be a teacher?”
“Well, he just told the boys and girls things and
gave them homework and asked them questions.”
7. “A man isn’t smart enough.”
“Sure he is. My father knows as much as my
“He knows almost as much, I betcha.”
Margie wasn’t prepared to dispute that. She said,
“I wouldn’t want a strange man in my house to
Tommy screamed with laughter. “You don’t know
much, Margie. The teachers didn’t live in the
house. They had a special building and all the
kids went there.”
“And all the kids learned the same thing?”
“Sure, if they were the same age.”
8. “But my mother says a teacher has to be adjusted
to fit the mind of each boy and girl it teaches and
that each kid has to be taught differently.”
“Just the same they didn’t do it that way then.
If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read the book.”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like it,” Margie said quickly.
She wanted to read about those funny schools.
They weren’t even half finished when Margie’s
mother called, “Margie! School!”
Margie looked up. “Not yet, Mamma.”
“Now!” said Mrs Jones. “And it’s probably time
for Tommy, too.”
Margie said to Tommy, “Can I read the book some
more with you after school?”
9. “May be,” he said nonchalantly. He walked away
whistling, the dusty old book tucked beneath
Margie went into the schoolroom. It was right
next to her bedroom, and the mechanical teacher
was on and waiting for her. It was always on at the
same time every day except Saturday and Sunday,
because her mother said little girls learned better
if they learned at regular hours.
The screen was lit up, and it said: “Today’s
arithmetic lesson is on the addition of proper
fractions. Please insert yesterday’s homework in the
10. Margie did so with a sigh. She was thinking about
the old schools they had when her grandfather’s
grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the
whole neighborhood came, laughing and shouting
in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom,
going home together at the end of the day. They
learned the same things, so they could help one
another with the homework and talk about it.
And the teachers were people…
The mechanical teacher was flashing on the
screen: “When we add fractions ½ and ¼ ...”
Margie was thinking about how the kids must
have loved it in the old days. She was thinking
about the fun they had.
The Road not Taken.
Author: ROBERT FROST
This well-known poem is about making choices, and the
choices that shape us. Robert Frost is an American poet who
writes simply, but insightfully, about common, ordinary
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Online Lessons with Spoken text and correct pronounciation