Simply Stories is a Newcastle University project to create engaging and accessible fiction for ESOL adults with the most basic reading skills.

This is a collaborative project combining the skills and knowledge of Newcastle University’s Margaret Wilkinson (Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing) and Martha Young-Scholten (Senior Lecturer in Second Language Acquisition).



We become proficient readers by reading, and this works best when we read for pleasure. Immigrant adults with little or no schooling in their native language progress very slowly. They rarely read for pleasure due to the lack of engaging fiction at their level.



Ours is a grass roots project. We work with creative writers, usually creative writing students at Newcastle, to produce narratives with linguists, usually Newcastle students,  to make sure the texts are accessible.


So far?

Margaret and Martha have given workshops in the UK, USA, Germany, Turkey and Thailand.


What’s next?

101 Simply Cracking Good Stories

The project aims to produce 101 new books, written by creative writers from Newcastle, the UK and all over the world.


See also

  • The North East Readers Project – a collaborative project to learn more about readers and reading habits in the north east of England.
  • The Extensive Reading Foundation is a charitable organization whose purpose is to support and promote extensive reading worldwide.
  • The be foremost promoter of pleasure/extensive reading is Stephen Krashen.
  • Low-educated second language and literacy acquisition promotes research, practice and policy relating to adult immigrants with little or no home language literacy and/or formal education.
  • The EU-Speak project, led by Newcastle University, offers free on-line modules (courses) to teachers; these include one on the psycholinguistics of reading in a second language.
  • N.E.S.T– Students at Newcastle University have organised free classes every week-end to immigrant adults and their families.
  • Undergraduate students at the University of Granada create fiction books for immigrant adults in Spain



For more information, please email us –