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A class project - a sequel to Next Door

April 07, 2020 by Nóra Wünsch-Nagy

We are glad to share this class project as an excellent example of using our readings to develop creative writing skills with your students. A class of 2nd year high school level students,  2^BS, from the Liceo delle Scienze Applicate ’G. Marconi’ in Tortona sent us a story they wrote as a sequel to our level 1 reader, Next Door by Robert Campbell. You can find out more about the story here and read a great interview with the author, Robert Campbell here.

Helbling Readers Red Series Fiction Next Door


The class of 15 students wrote a lovely sequel to this science-fiction story. I talked to Nadia Roncoli, their English language teacher about the project.


Hello Nadia, can you tell me about your class?

Nadia: Well, actually I’m no longer their English language teacher, but I do know that they are still very good students, well versed in English and ,what’s more important, very curious and imaginative.

How long have you been using graded readers with them?

Nadia: I used graded readers for two years with them, and I’m still using graded readers with all my six classes at the moment.

How did you have the idea of writing a sequel?

Nadia: Actually, I was testing them on “Next Door”: the plot, the characters, the main themes, and so on when suddenly a spontaneous question came to my mind: “What do you think will happen to Eoin on Medacalon?” and that was the beginning of our adventure…

How did you organize the project and how long did it take you to write the story?

Nadia: Well, I created a group for the class, 2^BS, on Wikispaces and, after writing the first sentence describing the beginning of the Eoin's new life on planet Medacalon, I asked each student to contribute towards it writing as many lines as they wanted.

Have your students written any other stories?

Nadia: No, they haven’t.

How do you motivate your class to read? What do they like reading?

Nadia: After this successful experience, I try to motivate my students to read any kind of stories: adventure, fantasy, romantic, science-fiction, detective stories and I must admit that Helbling Languages offers a wide range of graded books from which I can pick and choose. I also point out and help them understand the importance of learning as many words as possible if they want to learn English well.

Do you have any tips on teaching reading?

Nadia: To be honest, I don’t think I’m in a position to give advice, I still need to take advice! Anyway, out of my experience I can say that the most important step is creating interest in the story they are reading and, when it is possible, creating connections between them and the characters.

What kind of story would you like to read with your class?

Nadia: Well, I’d like to read a story which is a mixture of reality and imagination, but, above all has a strong moral for my students!

Thanks, Nadia!

Nadia: It was my pleasure!

You can download and read the story written by the class: