Here is Level 2, Lesson 1: “For the Birds” adapted from VOA Learning English.
- Listen, read, translate if needed, and practice along with the audio player and dialogue below.
KELLY: Oh, Anna, there you are! I am so glad we joined the Great City Bird Count! Aren’t you?
ANNA: No. Today has been a bust … a flop … a bummer!
KELLY: I’m sensing a little disappointment.
ANNA: A little?
KELLY: My official bird-watching form is almost full!
ANNA: I’ve only seen pigeons … lots and lots of pigeons! But I did write down some other valuable information.
KELLY: Did you find a bird’s nest?!
(She shows Kelly a map of ice cream trucks.)
ANNA: I found 10 ice cream trucks in this five-block area. Their music seems to follow me everywhere.
KELLY: We’re supposed to be counting birds, not ice cream trucks. This is important scientific work!
ANNA: Well, when you want ice cream, my data will be pretty important.
KELLY: Anna, birds are everywhere! I’m sure you’ll find something. Use your imagination! But, make sure that you put it on the official form.
(Anna walks away with her ice cream truck map.)
PROF. BOT: Anna was supposed to find birds, but she didn’t.
PROF. BOT: Kelly says, “We’re supposed to be counting birds, not ice cream trucks.” To be supposed to means you are expected to do something.
PROF. BOT: It’s different from have to and ought to. Have to means you must do something. And ought to means you should do it but you don’t have to.
PROF. BOT: Keep watching for have to and ought to!
(Anna looks through binoculars but doesn’t see birds. She talks to herself.)
ANNA: No birds. Oh wait, there’s another ice cream truck! Anna, focus on birds. Aw, but that truck has my favorite flavor … banana!
ANNA: That man is in the way. I can’t see the price. I wonder what flavor he’s getting.
ANNA: Strawberry? He doesn’t seem like a strawberry kind of guy.
ANNA: In fact, he doesn’t seem like an ice cream truck kind of guy. That suit looks expensive.
ANNA: Maybe he’s a spy! You know what that means: The ice cream truck driver is a spy, too!
ANNA: Genius! It’s a perfect disguise.
ANNA: What?! The man in the suit left his briefcase at the ice cream truck!
ANNA: I was right! He is a spy! And, he just dropped off top-secret information! I ought to do something. Something needs to be done! I need to do something.
(Anna runs to the ice cream truck and takes the briefcase.)
ANNA: I did it! I took the spy’s briefcase!
ANNA: What’s that?! The ice cream truck — it’s following me! It wants the case back! I have to hide.
(She runs and hides behind a tree.)
ANNA: This is my life now — running, scared, alone.
(She runs to another tree.)
ANNA: That awful music — it’s following me everywhere!
(The man sees her at the tree.)
MAN: Hey! You found my briefcase.
ANNA: You caught me! I mean, I caught you!
MAN: Well, I just want my briefcase. All my poems are in there.
ANNA: Poems? You’re a poet?
MAN: Well, I’m a lawyer. But I write poems, too.
(Anna gives the man his briefcase.)
ANNA: So, you’re not a spy?
MAN: You look disappointed.
ANNA: No, that’s okay. It’s not your fault. Poems are nice, too. I guess.
MAN: Well, would you like me to read my latest one?
ANNA: Why not?
MAN: On sunny day walks, my hand reaches for ice cream from fragaria.
ANNA: I love your poem!
MAN: I love ice cream.
ANNA: Me too.
MAN: What’s your favorite flavor?
MAN: Well, my favorite flavor is …
MAN: How did you know that?
ANNA: A little bird told me.
2. Watch Lesson 28: “For the Birds” American English video lesson.
3. Take Lesson 28: “For the Birds” quiz to check your American English knowledge. Click here to take the quiz.
4. Answer the following question in the comments section below:
Write about something that should or must happen soon in your life or in your city or town. Use “be supposed to,” “have to” and “ought to.”