A Bit About Me:

I am Tamara Kula from midwestern USA, and I love languages. I enjoy reading and writing in English, my native language. I am also fascinated by foreign languages. I love the mystery of a different way of communicating and I love the magic that happens when I start to understand it.

I have studied many foreign languages, some just a little bit and others quite extensively. My interest was first piqued by my mom, who would speak in Spanish with my aunt whenever she didn't want my sister and me to understand (usually saying something about “helado” - ice cream). By the time I was able to study Spanish in middle school, I already knew a good amount of vocabulary from my mom and I eagerly absorbed everything new that the teacher taught. I continued to study Spanish all the way through university, where I majored in Spanish and journalism, and added French and German minors.

After university, I started teaching English abroad as a way to travel and learn languages, first by myself in France, then with my husband Joshua in Kyrgyzstan (where our first son was born), and later with our two children in Saudi Arabia. In Kyrgyzstan we had the chance to learn Russian in an immersion environment. The speed and practicality of learning was far more exciting than anything I had experienced in a classroom. Our family later returned to Kyrgyzstan for two more years. Watching our boys learn Russian has been fascinating, and my husband and I have had rewarding experiences learning both Russian and Kyrgyz.

I wrote most of the stories on this site while teaching English in Kyrgyzstan the first time. The school’s library of resources contained every grammar book conceivable – and we were expected to use those books as the basis for our teaching. In the beginning we used these books, but gradually, we began using more and more material that was vocabulary based. When I stopped working shortly before our son was born, Josh started teaching an extra class of children. Immediately, it was blatantly obvious that grammar-based packets were a total flop with these young, energetic, and eager-to-learn kids. As I was staying home teaching private lessons, I had the time to dedicate to creating my own material – stories with accompanying worksheets, lots of hands-on games, and visual flash cards. That’s how these stories came about. I wrote for different levels, and as the students progressed, I created more advanced stories. Josh tested out all the stories in his various classes and let me know what his students needed. Soon we had pages and pages of interesting material we could use to teach English, not only to children, but to any age group. Josh’s students at the school, though hard to persuade at first, eventually became fully convinced that stories were far more helpful than grammar worksheets. By the time we left Kyrgyzstan, there were more students on the waiting list for Josh’s classes than for any other teacher.

In my foreign language experience, I have found reading to be the secret weapon to learning quickly. Reading helps me start to think in the language, to internalize correct patterns, and to learn large amounts of vocabulary. Of course, I always start out easy … with things like Cinderella, and work my way up. Reading gives me the wonderful feeling of seeing my progress as I continue to move forward.

I hope you can find the magic of learning English while reading these stories. Thank you for visiting.

Beginning Stories

Intermediate Stories

Advanced Stories

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Starting Off

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"You live a new life for every new language you speak."

- Czech Proverb

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