The Blues: Music of Survival
ReadOasis Step 2 Painting by John Rose Four men were walking across a field. They were carrying a body wrapped up in white cloth. Their strong, black hands and arms supported the body as they walked on. Other men, women, and children walked behind. And the tall green trees... Read more
Making Work Fun: The Levity Effect (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 A manager at a company was interviewing a job candidate. The manager said, “We need a very responsible person for this job. We need someone who can take charge.” The candidate’s eyes lit up, and he answered with great confidence. “Sir, your search ends here! I’m... Read more
Songs of Survival
ReadOasis Step 3 It was my twentieth birthday. I was sitting in the family piano room when my father opened the door. He had a big smile on his face, and he said, "Happy Birthday!" Then he handed me a big box. Inside was a new guitar. It was... Read more
The Biggest Sporting Event
ReadOasis Step 2 In 1982, England and Argentina were at war. They were fighting over the Falkland Islands. The English took the islands. But even today, Argentina claims them as their own. In 1986, England and Argentina fought again. But this time, it was in Mexico, at the World... Read more
$80,000 for One Song
ReadOasis Step 2 The room is dark. You are alone. You are drinking a coke and downloading some songs from the Internet. Then you hear a crash. Your heart stops as you hear a man shout. "This is the police!" You catch your breath and say, "What?" Then another... Read more
Get Down to Business in English
ReadOasis Step 2 (Part 1) A Big Decision As usual, the boss spoke clearly and in short sentences. “Okay, it’s decided. This meeting is over. You all know what to do.” One by one, the managers closed their notebooks and stood up. There were no jokes and no laughter.... Read more
The Artful Geisha (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 Geisha are traditional female entertainers from Japan. They are skilled at various Japanese arts, such as traditional music, dancing, and poetry. The word "geisha" comes from (GEI) meaning "art" and (SHA) meaning "person." In this sense, a geisha is an artist. In the 1920's, about 80,000... Read more
Culture of Innovation (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 (Part 1) It was a warm summer evening. The sun had already set, and the city lights were shining. In a busy part of Tokyo, people were leaving work. Some were going home. Others were going out to enjoy the evening. It was an ordinary night.... Read more
The Adventures of a Folk Singer
ReadOasis Step 3 (Part 1) "I think a poet is anybody who wouldn't call himself a poet." - Bob Dylan It was January 1961. In the cold north of Minnesota, a young man of 19 years packed his bags and his guitar.  He was crossing 1,900 kilometers to New... Read more
The Birth of Levi’s Jeans
ReadOasis Step 2 Rivets By Rohit Gowaikar (Creative Commons) Levi Strauss was born in Germany in 1829. At 18, he joined his brothers in America. They had a dry goods business in New York City. At that time, many people were moving to California in search of gold. Levi... Read more
Walt Disney’s Impossible Dream
ReadOasis Step 2 In 1934, Walt Disney began plans to make a movie. He wanted to create the first full-length animated film. But when people heard about his idea, they said it was a mistake. They thought it would destroy the Disney studio. Even Disney's brother and wife tried... Read more
W.C. Handy: Father of the Blues (Step 2)
By Maria Sonora ReadOasis Step 2 (Part 1) W.C. Handy at age 19 "Then I saw the beauty of primitive music." W.C. Handy, Father of the Blues W.C. Handy grew up in the southern part of the United States, in a small town in Alabama. His father was a... Read more
The First Lady of Song
ReadOasis Step 3 After her mother died, Ella had a lot of trouble. Her grades dropped at school. She couldn't find a good place to live. She became an orphan, a child whose parents are dead and gone. Eventually, she was sent to the New York Training School for... Read more
Are You Sleeping?
ReadOasis Step 2 The bells are ringing, but John is sleeping. It's time to wake up! This is the basic setting for the song "Are You Sleeping." In the English speaking world, many people know this song, and they can also sing the first lines in French. Frère Jacques,... Read more
On the Road Again (Step 2)
ReadOasis Step 2 Willie Nelson's Guitar "Trigger" Little Willie was born into hard times. On October 29, 1929, the American economy crashed. It was called Black Tuesday. Many people lost all their money. By Willie’s day of birth in 1933, around 25% of Americans had lost their jobs. People... Read more
The Guitar Hero
ReadOasis Step 2 Humans have played instruments like guitars for 5,000 years. The English word "guitar" originally may come from the Indian word, "sitar." Today guitars play a main part in jazz, blues, country, rock, and pop music. They are also used for solo classical music. In popular culture,... Read more
The Biggest Band (Step 3)
ReadOasis Step 3 It was a hot August night in New York City, 1965. Two thousand policemen in charge of security watched anxiously as 55,000 fans filled Shea Stadium. But this was not for a baseball game; it was for the first ever stadium concert in the history of... Read more
Woodstock: A Symbol of the 1960s (Step 3)
ReadOasis Step 3 The middle of August marks an extraordinary moment in popular music history. In 1969, about 2,500 residents lived in Bethel, New York. But that summer, there were big ambitions for that small town. Concert promoters were organizing a music festival to take place on a local... Read more
Every Day I Have the Blues
ReadOasis Step 2 Memphis Slim at the Piano Long black fingers were dancing. They were dancing on the white and black keys of the piano. From the comfort of their homes, people watched on their televisions. And they listened to the blue sounds of the piano. The piano player... Read more
The Most Famous Not a Protest Song (Step 3)
ReadOasis Step 3 The little boy didn't want to eat chicken. He did not like the flavor and smell, so he protested. He said, "I hate chicken! It tastes bad! I will never eat it -- ever! His mother looked at him and smiled. And she said, "Jimmy, that's... Read more