Welcome to the third installment of TEFL Express’ first serial graded reader, “Discovery at Vui So Beach”. This story is divided into four sections that will be posted every Friday. The final installment will be ready on Friday, October 30th, just before Halloween.
At the end of each installment, you will see a button asking if you want to download the lesson pack that accompanies the story. Each of these packs includes: a vocabulary list, a vocabulary exercise, comprehension questions, grammar links to the story and class extension ideas. Using one installment of the story in class could take anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour, depending on how much of the lesson pack you use. Read on for the first installment.
Nari and June stare at the glowing green part of the ocean. It isn’t very bright, but it is easy for Nari and June to see from the beach. It looks a lot like the glow-in-the-dark toys that Nari sometimes wins at the fair.
“Why is the sea glowing? Is it okay?” Nari asks June.
June doesn’t have any idea. He shakes his head. “Maybe it’s a type of plant. Anyways, we should go back home. Mom will be worried about us.”
“It isn’t a plant June. Something strange is happening. Maybe that’s where the jellyfish men are” Nari says.
“Okay. Maybe it’s not a plant. Can we go now?” June says impatiently.
“We should go investigate” Nari says.
“And how do you suggest we investigate? It’s two kilometers away.”
“We can borrow a boat” Nari says; she sounds excited.
“That’s illegal Nari. We aren’t going to borrow a boat. Let’s go home” June says pulling at Nari’s arm.
“Ok. My feet hurt. Can you bring the bike closer to the beach? I don’t want to walk to the parking area” Nari says.
June groans and begins to walk to the parking area to get his bike. He is gone for less than 10 minutes. When he returns, he doesn’t see Nari. June begins to call her name, but nobody answers. She has disappeared!
June is very scared and starts to yell her name very loudly. Then he looks out in the water. A small boat is in the water about 100 meters from the beach. There is a little girl in the boat. It’s Nari.
It is a small typical Vietnamese fisherman’s boat. It is made out of bamboo and weaved together like a basket. It looks a lot like a large bowl floating in the ocean. She is in the boat alone, and it looks like she is going towards the glowing part of the ocean.
The sea is very calm tonight, but it is still very dangerous to go out to sea in the small fishing boat. Also, Nari isn’t very good at swimming and June is certain she doesn’t know how to control the boat. What was she thinking?
June is a very good swimmer. He is able to catch up with the boat in a few minutes. June pulls himself into the boat and breathes heavily. He is very tired and a little angry.
“I knew you would come,” Nari says when June is in the boat.
“You are a crazy little girl. This is very stupid and dangerous” June says.
“It was the only way to make you come. This is important. What if there are more jellyfish men? If there are we need to bring Taiiji here so he won’t be alone. I brought the bag” Nari says smiling.
June opens the bag and finds a towel to dry off with. He also takes out a flashlight and some binoculars. They are already a few hundred meters from the beach.
“Fine, let’s go take a look” June says grabbing a paddle.
“I love you June.”
June groans and begins to paddle as quickly as he can. It is beautiful out in the ocean. June begins to think that being a fisherman would be a good job. The closer they get to the green glowing part of the ocean, the brighter it gets. When they are about five hundred meters away, June sees a boat.
He takes out the binoculars and looks at the boat. The binoculars were a birthday present from his mother and they are very good. When June looks through them the ship appears to be very close. There are four men on the boat. The men are emptying large barrels of green liquid into the ocean. The green liquid is thick and glowing. The green liquid is making the water near it glow!
“What is it?” Nari asks, “I want to see.”
June gives Nari the binoculars. She looks for a very long time. “Why do the men look like fish?” Nari asks.
“Fish? Let me see,” June takes the binoculars back.
He looks at the men for a long time. They don’t really look like fish, but there is something strange about them. They are very wet and look slimy. They have pointy ears and three lines on their neck like a fish.
One of the men doesn’t look like a fish. He is telling the other men what to do and pointing at the ocean. He is wearing a baseball cap and a long jacket. He doesn’t look happy.
“I think we should go Nari. This looks very bad,” June says.
June expects his sister to argue with him, but instead she agrees. She also looks a little bit scared. It is very unusual, because Nari rarely is scared of anything. June starts paddling back towards the beach. Nari continues to look at the boat through the binoculars. “They see us!” Nari shouts, “The man in the jacket is pointing at our boat!”
They hear the sound of the other boat starting its engine. June is scared and tries to paddle as quickly as he can. It took about thirty minutes to get to where they are now. The boat will definitely catch them.
The other boat is getting closer and closer to the small fishing boat. Nari is breathing very quickly and June is scared. He tries to tell himself that there is no problem. Maybe the boat is just coming to check that they are ok. Two kids shouldn’t be on a fishing boat at night… maybe they just want to help.
When the boat is close enough, the men throw a large hook attached to a rope at the small fishing boat. It hooks on the side of the boat and the men begin to pull the fishing boat towards them. This doesn’t seem very friendly. “I’m scared,” Nari says.
“Don’t worry Nari, I won’t let them hurt you.”
The men pull the fishing boat so that it is next to the larger boat. When the two boats are side by side, the men drop a ladder made from rope down. They don’t say anything. They just look at Nari and June. June thinks about jumping into the ocean, but they are too far from the beach. Also, Nari cannot swim very well.
There isn’t a choice. June starts to climb the ladder up to the boat with the strange men. Nari comes up behind him. What do the strange men want with a teenage boy and a young girl? June feels sick.