Fiction for ELLs “I didn’t ask for this”

[Here is a second attempt at fiction for ELL’s. It’s inspired by Your Voice: short stories by teachers for learners  and good friend of the blog Kevin Stein]

You might think it’s a blessing. You might be jealous. You might even think I am lucky or special. Honestly, I’d rather just be normal. I agree that I can do something most people can’t do but I don’t think it is so wonderful. I would trade it for many things. I wish I could run fast. I wish I could talk to girls. I wish I could sing or dance. Or paint. Sadly, I can’t do any of these things.  I can just answer multiple choice questions correctly. That’s it. That’s all I can do. I wish I could write poetry. I wish I could write a story. I wish I could read a story and enjoy it. I wish I could read a story without thinking about the answers to multiple choice questions. Unfortunately, all I can do is fill in bubbles correctly. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that I am lucky. You are thinking I should just be happy with what I can do. I understand this. Everyone says I am smart. Everyone says I am a genius. Everyone knows I will go to a great college. Everyone says I have a gift. Everyone thinks school and life are easy for me. They are not. Nobody knows my gift is actually a curse to me.

Readability details: 

Flesch Reading Ease :86.91
Coleman Liau index: 3.39
Flesh Kincaid Grade Level: 2.98
Number of words: 222
Number of sentences: 30

Other thoughts: 

I have some ideas on particular things I might focus on with this text but I will hold off on including this for now.

Sharing etc.
Please feel free to use this story as you wish.
I would love to hear about it if someone used it in class.


  1. @kevchanwow

    A) This is an excellent story that students can easily personalize
    B) This story can be used to highlight the use of repetition in providing textual cohesion
    C) This story can easily lead into an all class or small group discussion
    D) This story made me laugh out loud and caused my wife to glance at the computer screen
    E) All of the above and more

    Thanks for the read. I am definitely going to be using this story next semester and will be getting back to you on how it went. And I can’t wait to hear more about what your plans for the story are.

  2. Kevin Stein

    Hi Mike,

    What made me laugh was the way you took what is perceived as a drawback of classroom language learning, namely that it takes place in a classroom and a school, and turned it into something which drives the story. I could just imaging the kinds of conversations students might have about this story, the way they would be discussing in earnest a mark-sheet test. And as a teacher it made me laugh. But probably what made me laugh more is the fact that I’ve been watching a lot of superhero movies lately. My daughter loves them. And I kind of imagined this particular narrator as a kind of X-men, with the mutant power to always pick the right answer on a test. And I took it a bit farther and even imagined him in costume with a big A B C in circles across his chest.


    • mikecorea

      Thanks, KCW…

      I love it. I was actually thinking about it as sort of a super hero type thing… The nerdiest super hero. EVER. I hadn’t however thought about the costume. That is brilliant and fits in perfectly.

      Maaaan, an idea that came to me was to have ss draw what they think the author looks like but i also like designing the super hero costume!

      Good times indeed. Thanks for the thoughts and support. I guess I will write some more then.

  3. Sophia

    I am partial to nerdy superheroes. This was great, kind of pointed but very funny, and LOTS of applications – think sts will love it 🙂 Why does he think it is a curse? In your opinion.

    • mikecorea

      Thanks so much! I am glad you enjoyed it! I think I managed to gently persuade my friend (and former course participant) to use it with her students this term. Curious to hear how it goes! I love the expression “kind of pointed” and think it surely applies here. Thanks again. I am feeling motivated to write a few more.

  4. Rose Bard

    As I was reading I was imagining who that guy/girl might be. Nice text to be illustrated by students as well. 🙂

    Now Kevin really has a great imagination. NIce ABC superhero powers. 😀


    • mikecorea

      Hi Rosie,

      I am glad you liked it! it was both fun and nerve-racking to write! Kevin got me thinking a lot about fiction for English learners and I thought I’d give it a try. I have not had a chance to use this with English students yet though. As you probably know testing is a really big deal here in Korea and Japan and I was sort of trying to introduce some related thoughts. Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I think having students illustrate the text would be great.


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