“First jump off the cliff… then build your wings on the way down.”

Ray Bradbury was one of the greatest Science Fiction authors of our times, He died Tuesday 2012. He was noted especially for his stories Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles,The Illustrated Man, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. There were many articles written about the man, but to us this was the best. Junot Diaz wrote a loving tribute to Ray Bradbury.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Ray surrounded by his beloved mementos of inspiration. National Journal.

Excerpt:  Loving Ray Bradbury  By Junot Diaz The New Yorker

“I was speaking of him only yesterday. I was with someone from the American Association of Publishers, my interlocutor and I were talking about how much we loved his work. She mentioned that she had actually visited his home, and I could only mutter, in awe, He has the greatest mind… The truth is, for me, and for a whole generation of readers, I’m sure, Bradbury is never far from mind.

He was simply too important, too indelible, his imagination too uncanny, his impact on the culture too sustained and profound…A prescient lyrical writer with an abiding hatred for intolerance, Bradbury influenced generations of readers and many of our most famous dreamers, from Stephen King to Steven Spielberg.

When I was young, Bradbury was my man. I followed him to Mars, to the veldt, to the future, to the past, to the heart of America, I rode out with him on the Pequod, and on rockets. He was the first of my literary obsessions, but he set the terms of what I talked about when I talked about loving an author.

I saw “Something Wicked This Way Comes” the Friday it opened; caught François Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451” on VCR; watched “The Illustrated Man” and “The Martian Chronicles” on TV.” read more…

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: approximately 2 hours.

Materials: student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective:  Students will read  and discuss the literary contributions of author Ray Bradbury. In groups they will  create a short science fiction story based on one of Bradbury’s stories. Each group will make a presentation of their story.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

Directions: Use this pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist students in explaining the story.

II. While Reading Tasks


Scramble Words Puzzle

Directions: have students unscramble the words and phrases taken from the article, then use the words to create sentences about the topic of the article.

  1. het  nmtiraa   slcrnohcei
  2. egesratt  nidm
  3.   urhtt
  4.   shi    tmiiingaaon
  5. asistfant
  6.    yuradbbr
  7. smra
  8. ehe  dillttraeus  nma 
  9. ierarytl      
  10. aentnifgicm

 Word Recognition 

Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article.  Have them skim the article to check  their responses.

When I was young, Bradbury was my mom/man.  followed/fell him to Mars, to the veldt, to the future, to the past, to the heat/heartof America, I rode out with him on the Pequod, and on rockets. He was the first of my literal/literary obsessions, but he set/sit the terms of what I talked about when I talked about loving an author. I read everything of his that was in the library, which wasn’t even aquart/quarter of what he produced. Never saw the man in person/personally, but when I was young I had dreams/dreamed where he appeared, where we speak/spoke. Of course, like a faith/faithfulnerd, I saw “Something Wicked This Way Comes” the Friday it opened; caught François Truffaut’s “Fahrenheit 451” on VCR; watched “The Illustrated Man” and “The Martian Chronicles” on TV; and was a faithful viewer of “The Ray Bradbury Theater,” but none of them ever came close to the magnificent light that poured off hispose/prose. 

Questions  for Reading Comprehension

True / False

Directions:  If  the statement is true, students write (T) if  the statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1.  She mentioned that she had actually visited his (Bradbury) home.
  2. He didn’t consider himself a fantasist.
  3. When I was young, Bradbury was my man.
  4. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” opened on a Monday.
  5. “The Illustrated Man” and “The Martian Chronicles”  were written by Ray Ralston..
  6. And then there was his story “All Summer in a Day,” a perennial elementary-school favorite.
  7. I remember reading that story very young, when I was still wrestling with Spanish.
  8. I read that short tale, and when I came to those ruthless final lines I was  pleased by them.
  9. I had never known what I’d been experiencing as an immigrant, never had language for it until I read that story.
  10. It was my first real taste of the power of fiction.

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe a photo.   

Directions: Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Tasks

 Reading Comprehension Check

WH-question format

Directions: In groups or as a class students can answer the WH-questions to check what they’ve learned about the topic.

WH-How Questions

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?


Writing A Short Story 

Directions:  Have students read the plot synopsis of the short story by Ray Bradbury “All Summer in a Day”.  After,  place students in groups  and have them create their own short sci-fi story.  For assistance have students  visit

 Creative Writing Prompts This site offers very interesting prompts to get students thinking.

*All Summer in a Day By Ray Bradbury-

The story is about a class of school children on Venus, which in this story is a world of constant rainstorms, where the sun is only visible for two hours every seven years.One of the children, Margot, moved to Venus from Earth five years earlier, and she is the only one in her class to remember sunshine, since it shone regularly on earth. She describes the sun as “a penny”, or “like a fire in the stove”, and the other children, being too young to have ever seen it themselves, refuse to believe her accounting of it. Out of jealousy, she is bullied and ostracized by the other students and finally locked in a closet during the time the sun is due to come out.

As the sun is about to appear, their teacher arrives to take the class outside to enjoy their only hour of sunshine, and in their astonishment and joy, they all forget about Margot. They run, play, skip, jump, and prance about, savoring every second of their newly found freedom. “It’s much better than sun lamps!” one of them cries.

Suddenly, a girl feels a raindrop on her. Thunder sounds, and they run back inside. Then, one of them remembers Margot, who is still locked in the closet. They stand frozen ashamed for what they have done, unable to “meet each other’s glances.”

The precious sun has come and gone, and because of their despicable act, Margot has missed it. They walk slowly and silently towards the closet, and let her out.

*All Summer in a Day By Ray Bradbury-Synopsis:Wikipedia 


IV. Listening Activity

 Video Clip: NEA Big Read: Meet Ray Bradbury



While Listening Tasks: True / /False statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video.  As students listen to the video if  a statement is true they mark it if the statement is  false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. One of Ray Bradbury’s first quotes was  “Love is at the center of your life. The things that you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.”
  2. He learned to read when he was 1 year-old.
  3. He  loved comic strips and  he loved  the cartoons on Sunday.
  4. He got a book on fairy tales at 5 years- old.
  5. He loved fairy tales like like Beauty and the Beast and Jack and the beanstalk.
  6. And by the time he was 9 years-old he saw his first movie he  saw was  the Hunch back of Notre Dame,  and he hoped  to grow up to become a  a hunchback.
  7. When he was 5 years  he saw the  Beauty and The Beast with  Lon Chaney.
  8. He became infatuated with Lon Chaney.
  9. When  he was 6  he saw a film on dinosaurs. and they infected his whole life.
  10. He was 7 years-old  when he went to the library for the first time.
  11. Some authors he named were:  Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Emily Dickerson, Edgar Allan Poe,and Robert Frost.
  12. The Martian Chronicles was based on the Hamlet by Shakespeare.
  13.  At 12 years-old he  looked at the planet  Venus he said “take me home” and they did…
  14. When he was 12 he  saw a carnival where he met the Illustrated man.
  15.  He thought that if he kept writing he could live forever.

Questions for Discussion

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal opinion of Ray Bradbury changed in any way?   Describe in what way.

2. Did you agree with everything Mr. Bradbury said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with. Explain why.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers.

ANSWER KEY:Ray Bradury

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