Bookbox: Easy stories with subtitles

Bookbox is a high quality website featuring animated and rather easy stories. Each story has English subtitles to make them super-easy to follow and you often have a choice of British or American English.

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Bookbox: Easy stories with subtitles

Last September I introduced our readers to Storycorps – a high-quality website with an endless supply of short (2-3 minute) stories told by ordinary American people of all ages and from all parts of the country. The stories are designed for native speakers of English, but you can find transcripts for each story, making them a lot easier to understand.

There is another high quality website featuring longer, but much easier stories. Instead of transcripts, each story has subtitles make them even easier to understand. The site is called bookbox ( and I've chosen an example that is especially appropriate for Thailand at this time of year.

The dry season has been especially bad in much of Thailand this year with a severe drought lasting for many months. You can see the result in these photos from Bangkok Post photographers.

native speaker – someone who has spoken a particular language since they were a baby, rather than having learnt it as a child or adult เจ้าของภาษา
transcript – a written or printed copy of words that have been spoken บันทึก
subtitle – a translation of what people are saying in a foreign language film or television programme, that appears at the bottom of the screen คำแปลที่เขียนไว้ข้างล่างในภาพยนตร์
appropriate – suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose  ที่เหมาะสม
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
drought – a long period of time when there is little or no rain (ฝนแล้ง, ภัยแล้ง, ความแห้งแล้ง)

Our story from the Bookbox  is about a similar drought that happened in a country a long, long time ago. I have chosen the British English version – the one with (UK) in the title.

Learn English (UK) with subtitles

Listen and read along. Below are some words that you might not know.

well – a deep hole in the ground from which people obtain water บ่อน้ำ
anxious – worried because you think something bad might happen ที่วิตกกังวล, ที่ร้อนใจ
barren – dry and empty with few plants growing  ปราศจากพืชผล, แห้งแล้ง กันดาร
disaster – something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage  ความหายนะ
thirst – a need for something to drink ความกระหายน้ำ
earn a living – to earn enough money to support yourself/your family หาเลี้ยงชีพ
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
general – an officer of very high rank in the army, the air force or the marines พลเอก, นายพล
sunrise – the time of the morning when the sun is first seen พระอาทิตย์ขึ้น
dust – very small pieces of dirt that cover surfaces inside buildings like a powder  ฝุ่น
search – to look somewhere carefully in order to find something ค้นหา
in vain – without success ไม่สำเร็จ
empty-handed – without getting what you wanted; without taking something to somebody มือเปล่า, ไม่มีอะไรในมือ
point – to stretch out your finger or something held in your hand towards somebody/something in order to show somebody where a person or thing is  ชี้
horizon – the line in the distance where the sky seems to meet the earth ขอบฟ้า
cave – a large hole in the side of a hill or under the ground ถ้ำ
icicle – a pointed piece of ice that is formed when water freezes as it falls down from something such as a roof แท่งน้ำแข็งแหลมที่ย้อยลงมา
rush – to move or do something very quickly รีบเร่ง, วิ่ง
melt – to change from a solid form to liquid (e.g. ice to water) ละลาย
lump – a piece of something hard or solid, usually without a particular shape ก้อน, ก้อนบวม, ก้อนนูน
gaze – to look at something or someone for a long time, especially in surprise, admiration or because you are thinking about something else มองดู, เพ่งมอง,จ้องมอง
wonder – something that fills you with surprise and admiration สิ่งน่าพิศวง
sow – to put seeds in or on the ground so that plants will grow  หว่านเมล็ดพืช
immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
swiftly – happening quickly อย่างรวดเร็ว  โดยด่วน
vanish – to disappear or stop being present or existing, especially in a sudden, surprising way  หายไป
confused – unable to understand something or think clearly about it สับสน
mysterious – not explained or understood; full of secrets น่าพิศวง, น่าประหลาด
dawn – the beginning of the day, when it begins to get light รุ่งอรุณ, เช้าตรู่
curious – having a strong desire to know about something  อยากรู้อยากเห็น
peep –  to look quickly and secretly at something, especially through a small opening  แอบมอง, ลอบมอง, แอบดู
amazement – a feeling of being very surprised ความประหลาดใจ
sprout – to produce new leaves or buds; to start to grow แตกหน่อ, งอก, ออกหน่อ

As is true of many Bookbox stories, there is also an American English version. You can listen to it here:

Related search: Bookbox, Easy English, subtitles

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager