It's fun and simple!
  1. Start by clicking on a news article below.
  2. Get help with TOEFL / SAT vocab words while reading.
  3. Take a quiz after you are done reading.
Want to use it on any web page anywhere?
  1. Add the ESL Reader bookmark to your browser.
  2. Go to any web page and click on the bookmark.
News / blog publishers:
Increase your traffic and user engagement using the ESL Reader Widget.

World News North America Europe Asia Latin America Mid-East Africa Live Dictionary API & Feeds About

Select Your Reading Level:   All Levels |  Easy (Simpler English) |  Medium (Intermediate) |  Hard (Advanced)

Iraq's top cleric calls for deal on PM by Tuesday

  • sermon: Al-Sistani also wants the political blocs to agree on the next parliament speaker and president by the time the new legislature meets on Tuesday, a cleric who represents him told worshippers in a Friday sermon in the holy city of Karbala.
  • grisly: The rights group based its findings on satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants, corroborating earlier accounts of the alleged massacre and saying the actual toll could be far higher.
  • corroborate: The rights group based its findings on satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants, corroborating earlier accounts of the alleged massacre and saying the actual toll could be far higher.
  • kilometer: One of the helicopters developed mechanical problems after takeoff from Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, but landed safely in the provincial military headquarters.
  • brief: He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Jihadi groups around the world

  • reclusive: His successor, an uncharismatic and reclusive Egyptian surgeon called Ayman Zawahiri, is still at large, issuing occasional statements online but criticised by jihadists for being increasingly irrelevant to today's fast-moving events.
  • evaporate: The list below is by no means comprehensive but these are some of the drivers explaining why al-Qaeda's global appeal has yet to evaporate.
  • tenuous: From the Sahara to the southern Philippines there are local, national and regional grievances that have given rise to jihadist organisations, often with tenuous or even non-existent links to al-Qaeda's central leadership..
  • insult: Many recruits to global jihadism are prompted by a sense that their religion has been discriminated against, oppressed or insulted.

Thai Army Targets Hearts and Minds with Stickers, Selfies

  • kiss: A soldier smiles awkwardly as a woman hands him a flower and kisses his cheek.
  • light-hearted: Terrestrial television has been dominated by light-hearted images of a supportive public donating snacks to troops and posing with them for “selfie” photos.
  • striped: Soap operas are filling a void left by now-banned debates on current affairs and the NCPO has its striped logo displayed in the corner of the screen.
  • nameless: It's too rigid and will have to change, ” said a professor at a Bangkok university, who asked to remain nameless as the junta had summoned some academics after they spoke to journalists.
  • indefinitely: “Media professionals aren't used to this and won't allow it to continue indefinitely.

The sacred and sensuous in Indian art

  • fresco: Along with the frescoes of Pompeii, Ajanta represents the greatest picture gallery to survive from the ancient world and the most comprehensive depiction of civilised classical life that we have.
  • languish: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • jewel: Here among handsome princes and nobles, dark-skinned princesses languish love-lorn, while heavy-breasted dancing girls and courtesans are shown nude but for their jewels and girdles, draped temptingly amid palace gardens and court buildings.
  • sensual: As the great Indian art historian Vidya Dehejia puts it," the idea that such sensual images might generate irreverent thoughts did not seem to arise; rather the established associations appear to have been with accentuated growth, prosperity and auspiciousness.
  • austere: In the Christian world, this was the middle of Lent, the season of self-discipline and self-deprivation, but here I was in the middle of a celibate monastic community which had voluntarily chosen to live the austere ascetic path in small rock-cut cells, and yet was making a deliberate decision to cover the walls of its religious buildings with images of attractively voluptuous women.

Al-Qaida-linked group ramps up regional violence

  • calamity: For moderates in the Middle East, the renewed assertiveness of the extremists is increasingly taking on the aspect of a regional calamity.
  • aggravate: Now the reverberations of the Syria war are being felt on Arab streets, particularly Iraq and Lebanon, and are aggravating Sunni-Shi ite tensions across the Arab Middle East.
  • conflagration: The al-Qaida-linked group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has made no secret of its desire to turn Syria's civil war into a regional conflagration that would allow it to take firmer root.
  • firm: The al-Qaida-linked group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has made no secret of its desire to turn Syria's civil war into a regional conflagration that would allow it to take firmer root.
  • audacious: Even as its fighters were busy seizing territory in Syria, it has been dramatically escalating its operations inside Iraq, carrying out mass-casualty attacks and staging a series of audacious prison breaks that freed more than 500 inmates.

Viewpoint: What does Pyongyang want?

  • bilateral: Following the abrupt cancellation last week of planned talks in Seoul between the two Koreas- what would have been the first formal bilateral ministerial negotiations since 2007- it remains unclear what the prospects are for an improvement in ties.
  • delegation: Ostensibly, the talks foundered on the failure of the two sides to agree on the status of their respective delegation heads, but it is possible that Pyongyang was never serious about a meeting, simply using the offer of talks to demonstrate to China, its key political and economic patron, that it had adopted a more moderate posture.
  • moderation: Apparent moderation in this context may have been designed to offset efforts by Beijing and Washington at the recent Obama-Xi summit to pressure the North to give up its nuclear weapons.
  • incompatible: They have both upheld international sanctions to prevent Pyongyang from proliferating and made clear that the North's nuclear weapons programme is incompatible with the its economic development goals.
  • belligerent: However, the North's unusually belligerent rhetoric, and its high profile deployment of its military assets in March and April, suggests a more intentionally provocative stance.