12 Best podcasts to teach kids native English

12 Best podcasts to teach kids native English

Podcasts for kids are an amazing learning tool, help to avoid screen time, are the perfect activity for road trips, keep kids wildly entertained, and they are totally free!

Learning a language is a sensory (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) experience!  You learn not only by looking at the language, but also by hearing it, smelling, tasting, and touching it too.  At Everest Education, we are always experimenting with new and effective ways to keep my students engaged and learning.  One of our biggest challenges is how to get students engaged with English outside of our lessons together.  Lessons are great, but students make much faster progress when they also engage with the language outside the classroom.  That’s why we start incorporating podcasts into our blended learning model – to teach English both in class and as supplemental material.

Podcasts are all the rage these days – a valuable resource and have a lot of potentials to teach kids English. They are the perfect way to compliment your child’s language classes and pick up some new vocabulary during family road trips and house chores.  And did you know that while podcasts are on the rise for adults, they’ve become just as popular for kids and families too?!

However, as children’s audio content has flooded the airwaves, it can be a challenge to find the good stuff that’s also appropriate.  To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of our favorite podcasts – including perfect bedtime stories, science exploration, cool news, and more.  Use the grade recommendations as a guide, and age them up or down as needed. 

But first, what’s a podcast?

The term Podcast is actually a portmanteau of iPod and Broadcast. 

A podcast is a recording of audio discussion on a specific topic, like business, travel, learning language… that can be listened to. Podcasts are usually original audio shows, consisting of individual episodes on a variety of topics, even though today video podcasts do exist.  

Podcasting has really grown out of a need for background content.  That means something that can entertain you, educate you or inspire you in the background of other boring or rote activities.

Podcasts cover almost any topic, are typically free and on-demand.  This means anyone can access them, at any time, about any one thing and across a variety of platforms, all for free.  To put it into context, you can imagine podcasts just like audio content similar to talk radio shows or e-books. They are usually free to access across desktop and mobile devices. Anyone can listen to a podcast with an internet connection and a pair of headphones. 

What’s Great About Podcasts for English Learners

Podcasts are great for a bunch of reasons.

  • Podcasts are easy and convenient. Podcasts make the most of the time that would otherwise go to waste.  That’s why everyone loves them!  No matter what stage of the learning process your child is at, it is helpful to get as much exposure to spoken English as possible. Podcasts allow your child to tune into the language anytime and anywhere: while your family is out for a walk or in the car while preparing for dinner, before going to bed… They’re a great way to allow your child to stay connected with the language without much effort.
  • Podcasts are authentic.  There is a big difference between textbook English and “real English” as we hear it on the street.  Podcasts can give your child more experience listening to conversational English as it is really spoken.  They are useful because they provide students with examples of how people actually talk.  Rather than silly, made-up dialogues, podcasts feature real conversations and speech.  Children can get used to listening to podcasts where the speaker talks with “umms” and “ahhhs,” and learn to apply this in real life so that their spoken English sounds more natural.
  • Podcasts are diverse.  Some English textbooks try to provide a variety of English accents in their audios, but many don’t.  Podcasts offer us a wide range of types of spoken English.  You can find podcasts on nearly every topic, from science questions to lesser-known history, and in nearly every genre, from short fiction to in-depth journalism. Podcasts expose students to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews. Additionally, as the popularity of podcasts continues to grow, more creators are focusing on content for young people.
  • Podcasts are interesting.  Students don’t want to do exercises unless they’re genuinely engaging.  Podcasts are designed to hook kids with music, jokes, compelling stories, and more.  Some are designed in a serial format with cliffhangers at the end to get kids to tune back in.  
  • Podcasts teach specialist vocabulary.  There’s a podcast for every interest, every opinion, and every profession. Parents can choose the content and form that fits your child’s interest. For example, if your child is a science lover, listening to science podcasts will not only teach them new knowledge but also expand their vocabulary in that field. 
  • Podcasts are free.  Podcasts themselves don’t have subscription or download fees, so anyone with internet access can listen and download for free.  Most podcatcher apps are free, too (although some do have costs associated with them).

Best podcast that your kids will love

With podcasts, families can enjoy the same level of engagement, entertainment, and education as screen-based activities without worrying about staring at a screen. So, where to begin?  We’ve done the research to find 12 awesomely entertaining podcasts that your kids (and you) will enjoy.

Podcasts for Students in Elementary School 

1. Stories Podcast

“Stories Podcast” performs a new story every week, drawing from a variety of sources and a variety of styles. There are retellings of classics like Snow White, some folktales, and myths from around the world, as well as original stories.  Episodes range from 10 to 20 minutes, with most on the longer side. “Story Podcast” has a good mix of one-off episodes and long-running series, which makes it easy to find something appropriate for your child’s attention span.

2. Circle Round

Here’s another creative story podcast that focuses on folktales from around the world.  Created and produced by parents of young children, Circle Round adapts carefully-selected folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10.  “Circle Round” is a bit more overt in its value-teaching than some of the others in this list.  Each 10-to 20-minute episode explores important issues like kindness, persistence, and generosity.  And each episode ends with an activity that inspires a deeper conversation between children and grown-ups.

3. But Why: A podcast for curious kid

Why do dogs have tails?  Why do ladybugs have spots?  Do dragonflies bite? Have you ever heard these questions from your child and have no clue to answer them? No worries, “But Why” can take care of that!  This production, from Vermont Public Radio, tackles such topics as Why Do people have nightmares?, Do animals get married?, and Why do lions roar?.  “But Why” aims to answer kid questions about everything from nature, politics, culture, science, even the end of the world. Your kids can submit their own questions, too; instructions are on the website.

4. Wow in the World

“Wow in the World” is a science, technology, and new discoveries podcast developed by National Public Radio. If your child is intrigued by hermit crab behavior, solving the problem of what to do with all those disposable water bottles, space vacations of the future, or the benefits of saying thank you, this is an ideal option. “Wow in the World” takes kids (and their grown-ups) on a journey fueled by curiosity and wonder. In this weekly show, hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz explore the science behind topics kids will love – from singing mice and wombat poop to the amazing power of a dog’s nose.  “Wow in the World” is also a favorite podcast channel of Tony Ngo – Everest Education’s Chairman and Co-founder – and is the go-to solution when his kids start fighting with one another.

>> See Tony’s review for Wow in the World here: https://blog.e2.com.vn/best-english-learning-podcasts-for-your-kids/

5. What if World

“What If World” is a storytelling podcast for kids.  Every two weeks, the creative host of this podcast – Mr Eric, takes questions from kids and spins them into an entertaining tale.  What if a tiny dragon lived in my closet?  What if there were a never-ending bowl of ice cream?  What if cats ruled the world?  What we love about “What if World” is the way they include their lessons after each story.  For example, in one of their newest episodes of What if a dragon got stuck in time?, they teach children how “Being honest with others can help you feel better about yourself. Time keeps moving forward, and that makes life interesting and every day special.” These lessons are not only valuable for kids, but also for adults as well.

Best Podcasts for Tweens in Middle School

1. Brains On!

“Brains On!” is an award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults, produced by American Public Media.  Episodes of this podcast explore the science behind topics such as ants, engines, hiccups, and salty foods.  “Brains On!” is co-hosted by kid scientists and reporters from public radio.  Your kid will love learning how insects walk on walls, how to find their way without a compass, and even where poo and pee go when you flush the toilet.

There’s a series called “Smash Boom Best” in which two things are pitted against each other and your kid can pick their favorite.  For example, Robots or Aliens: which is cooler?.  The show is best suited for slightly older kids.

2. The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified

Listen as world-famous radio reporter Eleanor foils devious plots, outwits crafty villains, and goes after The Big Story.  Eleanor Amplified is an adventure series for the whole family.  Eleanor’s pursuit of truth takes her into orbit, out to sea, and even to the halls of Congress!  Her adventures are entertaining and informative.  Eleanor will spark laughter and conversation the whole family will enjoy, while preparing kids to appreciate journalism and make smart media choices in the future.   It is appropriate for kids of all ages and recommended for kids ages 8-12.

3. Listenwise

“Listenwise” provides high-quality podcasts and lesson collections with interactive transcripts for English Language Arts (ELA), Social Studies, and Science.  “Listenwise” is an award-winning listening skills platform, searchable by topic area or school subject.  It advances classroom learning by providing additional content and building listening skills.  There is also a focus on current events that keep learning tied to the real world.

4. Youth Radio

Youth Radio is a podcast for teens, published by teens.  It was created to showcase the power of young people as makers of media, technology, and community.  “Youth radio” brings the teen perspective to issues of public concern.

Podcasts for Teens in High School

1. StoryCorps

One of the largest oral history projects of its kind, “StoryCorps” has recorded the stories of over 250,000 people in the U.S.  Students at just about any grade level or in any subject area could use the “StoryCorps” interviews in a variety of ways, including writing prompts, discussion topics, primary sources for research projects, and more.  Your teens also can record their own stories as well.

2. This American Life

“This American Life” is a weekly public radio program and podcast, featuring compelling, funny and often very surprising stories with intriguing plots – little movies for radio, as they call them.  This popular radio show and podcast combines personal stories, journalism, and even stand-up comedy for an enthralling hour of content.  Each week they choose a different theme and curate stories based around it.  The focus isn’t specifically on English language learning here, instead “This American Life” offers a great opportunity for English learners to get used to different regional American accents while listening to unusual and interesting real-life stories from around the country.

3. Stuff You Should Know

From the people behind the award-winning website HowStuffWorks, this frequently updated podcast explains the ins and outs of everyday things from the major (“How Free Speech Works”) to the mundane (“How Itching Works”).  Longer episodes and occasional adult topics such as alcohol, war, and politics make this a better choice for older listeners, but hosts Josh and Chuck keep things engaging and manage to make even complex topics relatable.  And with nearly 1,000 episodes in its archive, your teen might never run out of new things to learn.

A word from Everest Education…

Podcasts are growing in popularity with families.  They give you an engaging way to connect with kids, no screen required.  It can be daunting for a first-timer to enter the world of podcasts, but digital tools have made it easier than ever to start listening.  So if your child is a newbie to podcast, walk through this list with her and discuss to find out which is her favorite. You can test out any of the free episodes via their websites, iTunes, or Apple/ Google Play and then subscribe to the ones your kids love.

Although podcasting developed for children and families is still in its infancy, this platform holds great promise to inform, entertain, and educate.   

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at



10 Pieces Of Advice All High School Students Need To Hear

10 Pieces Of Advice All High School Students Need To Hear

Back to school is an exciting time for students and families.  It can be a big step – particularly for those starting prep, or moving to high school. ​​​​​

Starting high school is a significant milestone in a student’s life.  It marks a passage into adolescence and brings about several significant changes.  You will go from being the oldest in school to being the youngest, having to find the way around a new school with different teachers for different subjects.  High school students have a lot to think about, from test preps to extra-curriculars to new social situations – not to mention the big “Where will I go to college?” question on every teen’s mind. 

However, it’s also an exciting transition – you’re finally getting to high school, which means new friends, more privileges, and new opportunities for exploring who you are.  High school has a lot to offer  – a chance to figure yourself out, find your limits, and do your best academically.  By taking advantage of all these benefits, we bet you will walk away from high school with a lot more than a diploma!

In this article, we compile a list of advice for high school students, recommended by recent graduates.  We hope from this list, incoming freshmen will be able to gain some insight into how to start your high school years with the right frame of mind – and get off to a great start.

If you’re a parent reading this, let’s pass along these tips to your son or daughter, and use them as talking points at home to help them survive – and thrive – in high school. 

1. Get yourself a daily planner

High school is a busy time between classes, friends, extracurricular activities, studying, family, college prep, and the rest.  A daily planner will help keep everything in your life in order.  Every assignment due date, test, deadline, or appointment will all be in one place.  Stay organized so that you can keep up in your classes and still have fun:

  • Set realistic long-term goals, and work backward from those to set smaller short-term goals to act as stepping stones.  Then, make a plan to achieve these goals.  We recommend WOOP – an easy-to-follow but effective goal setting framework to get you started.
  • Buy an academic planner/calendar with large daily blocks in which to write your assignments and class schedule.  Get in the habit of writing assignments in them while you are still in class, as teachers are writing or handing them out, to cut the risk that you’ll forget.
  • Plan manageable chunks of time to work, not one long slog.  This will lower your resistance to settling down to work and you’ll get positive reinforcement each time you finish a chunk.
  • Schedule personal time as well as work time in your planner.  It’s important to put aside time for things you want to do, so that you know that schoolwork isn’t taking all the fun out of your life.  

Since the COVID-19 virus has not been defeated yet, there’s a good chance your school year will involve some distance learning, depending on where you live.  If that’s the case, you’ll need to take responsibility for your own schoolwork and assignments, even more so than if you were enrolled in strictly traditional courses.

2. Get the best grade you can

Middle-school grades certainly matter.  But grades matter in a different way in high school.  This is because colleges will see them.  Remember your freshman year grades do count.  They will affect your GPA and will be viewed by colleges. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll have plenty of time to bring your grades up later.  Every year will affect your overall chances of getting into the college of your dreams.

The work in high school builds on what you learned in middle school, giving you a more advanced knowledge of many academic subjects.  So you may find you have more work to do or that it’s a bit more challenging.  But these challenges can make you feel less bored with the usual routine – it feels great when you’ve mastered something really tough.  Maybe you’ll find a new appreciation for biology or discover a passion for literature.

3. Build relationships with teachers

When you get to high school, your academic performance really matters.  To excel in your classes – other than hard work and studying – is to respect and communicate with your teachers.  Ask questions, and thank your teachers at the end of class.  Make an effort outside class to connect with your teachers. Even if your peers make snarky comments or accuse you of trying to be a teacher’s pet, at the end of the day, your teachers are the ones controlling your grades and giving you your education.  Not only will they be able to help you throughout your high school career, but you’ll also feel much more comfortable asking them to write the recommendations for your college applications.

4. Find extracurricular activities

High school also has more extracurriculars than middle school did, such as clubs, music and theater groups, student government, and sports teams.  While this is a great time to try new things, figure out what your skills and interests are, also be willing to try activities that are new to you whether it’s volunteering, a new sport, or a club. 

Successful high school students don’t disappear outside the walls of their classroom.  They are also engaged members of their community.  Get involved with issues that impact your student experience.  Educate yourself about the issues facing your community and learn to use your voice productively so that people will listen to your ideas.  The experience you can get out of these activities will also enrich your school life, provide you with more materials to craft your personal statement – in case you want to apply to a school abroad.

While too many activities can get in the way of homework, too few may get in the way of getting into the desired college.  Think quality, not quantity.  Non-academic activities – clubs, sports, community service – matter to admissions departments.  It’s better to be very involved and productive in just a few outside activities than minimally involved in a lot. 

5. Make meaningful connections

As cliché as it sounds, your friends in high school are going to be the ones who make your final year the best it can be.  Academic success is a huge part of high school, but socialization is just as big.  Your friends will help you have fun at school and get through any tough experiences life throws your way.  You have the rest of your life to be an adult; this is your time to still be a kid.  Find a group of friends with similar interests and stick together to make the most of high school.  

Try to make friends with everyone.  Be kind to everyone you see.  Making these friendships can be the determining factor between an isolating high school experience full of drama or a positive one with meaningful connections.  Branching out your social groups can mean making new friends that have different interests, talents, backgrounds, and values as you.  By doing this you’re preparing yourself to meet different kinds of people when you go off to college.  It’s important to note that not everyone will dress like you, like the same music as you, or celebrate the same holidays as you.  But by exposing yourself to that early you’ll be more tolerating and accepting of other people and the transition to college will be much easier. 

6. Take practice standardized tests

The SAT, ACT, IELTS, or TOEFL are an important aspect of your college application if you want to study abroad, and will be a plus point to take you straight to a local university with decent results.

Check out test prep books from the library and work on a few practice problems or vocabulary words a night, then take a timed practice test every other Sunday. If you’ve been studying, chances are your scores will start to go up, and you’ll be much more prepared and confident when test day rolls around.

Even though some colleges are going to stop requiring SAT test scores for admissions, we still recommend students sitting the exam, especially if you are an international student and want to apply to competitive colleges, as this is a concrete data point to compare you among thousands of applicants, and is what makes your application stand out more. 

>> Check out our Updates on changed SAT requirements in 2020 and 5 common FAQ here: https://blog.e2.com.vn/updates-on-changed-sat-requirements-in-2020-and-5-common-faq/

7. Don’t compare yourself to others

When it comes to grades and learning, comparison is always a bad idea. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, so don’t get nervous when yours don’t align with the majority. Even though there will be some times when you do badly and everyone else does well, there will also be times when the opposite happens. Similarly, don’t be discouraged if there is a subject or topic with which you are not completely comfortable. All students have academic weaknesses, but these can be overcome by working a little bit harder, asking plenty of questions, and getting extra help, if necessary. 

You’ll get the most satisfaction out of high school if you focus on the subject, people and activities that feel right to you, rather than spending time comparing yourself to others.

8. Ask for advice

You might think that juggling all this by yourself is the marker of true strength and independence, but successful students are those who know how to use the resources available.  Build strong relationships with teachers and peers, establish connections with learning resources like the writer’s center or study hall teachers, and connect with mentors to ensure that you have a support system in place, even if you never use it.

Further, don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate resource should you need a hand.  Don’t wait until you’re drowning to call for help; instead, let others know when you’re worried or confused and let them help you out before it gets over your head.  It’s amazing to see how people will open up, so don’t hesitate to ask a teacher, parent, or older student for some tips.  Even a brief question can lead to further discussion, and you might make a connection or form a friendship you wouldn’t have otherwise.  Recognize that some things just have to be learned the hard way — through experience.  Ask for advice, think about what other people have to say, and ultimately do your best to make the decisions that are right for you.

If you need any help relating to college admissions, feel free to reach out to us at College Compass – a college admission consulting program by Everest Education. We have assisted many students get into top colleges in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Cornell, Williams, Amherst… Read the story of My Hien – a College Compass alumni who who received a full-ride scholarship from Harvard last year here: 



9. Take time to break (and reflect)

When university application deadlines approach, you’ll want to focus your time and energy on doing your best in your classes, but make sure to take time for yourself.  High school can get stressful, particularly in your final year, but all your hard work will pay off in the end!  Different people have different ways to manage stress. 

Take a step back to relax, and leave space for yourself to do reflection.  Reflection is also a natural part of learning, which allows you to reflect on academic and social-emotional growth. This can feel like just one more thing to cram into an already too-short course.  But stopping to take a breath rather than jumping right to the next project or activity helps students learn from mistakes and recognize strengths and weaknesses.  It can make the difference between success and failure, in school and beyond. 

10. Enjoy high school! 

The high school years will fly by.  Take your time and don’t let things get you down.  It won’t be memorable if your only memories are of you sitting alone in your room watching tv or listening to music.  The best memories are the ones you make with your friends on crazy adventures, where nothing happens twice.  Be intentional about making memories and having fun.  Be the person who cheers for their team, asks someone to dance, and has fun with their friends.  Those are the memories that you could one day tell your grandkids!

Take lots of pictures. Get pictures of social events, parties, important moments, and just humorous or extremely memorable moments. You can never have too many memories!  Chances are you’re not going to the same college or university as all your friends next year, so now’s the time to take pictures and capture those unforgettable moments with your friends.  Go on your senior trip.  Buy your high school yearbook and have everyone sign it.  Make a photo collage or a photo album.  These activities are sometimes overhyped, but the moment when you graduate from high school, you’ll know how precious those photos and memories are.

To sum it up…

High school is a great time to figure out who you are as a student, friend, and peer.  Some things, like dances, some friendships, and many memories are fleeting.  But the lessons you collect from your experiences will stay with you.  You’ll face challenges no matter how you approach high school.  Sometimes, you’ll come out on top of these challenges, but other times, you’ll mess up or make a wrong decision and face the consequences.  Think of high school like a dress rehearsal.  You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll also improve immensely by learning from those mistakes.  Be open to new opportunities, and challenge yourself to be present. Let’s be back to school, we know you can make it your best year yet!

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more useful articles about college admission and studying coverage at


7 books to inspire your kid to be a great leader

7 books to inspire your kid to be a great leader

Leaders are a fundamental part of any functioning society, even in a small community in your children’s world: whether it’s helping a team score the final point in a basketball game, organizing a community project to promote recycling, or something as simple as taking the lead to help another student understand a mathematical concept in class.  There is no such thing as a “natural-born leader”, these are skills that we develop as children and then continue to strengthen over time.

Parents are well-positioned to be the first leadership developers of their children. And yet, we find that most parents do not take a deliberate approach to grow leadership in their kids. Parents work to give them an “early start” in English, math, music, or sports, but for some reason wait until they are older to talk about leading. This article will give you the encouragement and tools to jump-start leadership conversations with your young children. 

One of the best sources for timely lessons about building leadership skills comes in the form of books, with important takeaways for leading teams and working together more effectively.  Parents can help to nurture these skills in children by encouraging them to read certain books that promote these habits. 

While something like “7 Habits of Highly Effective Preschoolers” might be a bit excessive, there are some simple stories and ideas on leadership in the books below that will help young children build the traits and skills that will set them on the path to becoming courageous, compassionate and positive leaders. 

This article gives you a shortlist of children’s books that teach great lessons about leadership for children, as maybe adults as well.  And best of all, these books are already translated into Vietnamese, you can easily find them in the local bookstores or libraries.

For Toddlers and Primary Readers

1. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

A boy named Duncan opens his box of crayons one day and finds it empty.  Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon.  Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water.  And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.  What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

Kids will be imagining their own humorous conversations with crayons and coloring a blue streak after sharing laughs with Drew Daywalt and New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers.  This story is perfect as a back-to-school gift!

Why we love it: The Crayons decide to leave their home due to various grievances, which include overwork, boredom, and professional jealousy.  In the end, a solution is reached that makes everyone happy.  This funny story shows that part of leading is about understanding the perspectives and feelings of others.  And maybe after discussing with your child about the importance of each individual and how to treat them fairly as a leader, you can read to your child the second book of this story – The Day the Crayons Came Home – a happy ending for our lovely Duncan and his Crayons.

Recommended ages: 3 – 7

2. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

“OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! You’ll be on your way up! You’ll be seeing great sights! You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.”

A modern classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was first published one year before Dr. Seuss’s death at the age of eighty-seven. For out-starting upstarts of all ages, here is a wonderfully wise and blessedly brief graduation speech from the one and only Dr. Seuss.  In a mere fifty-six pages, Dr, Seuss managed to impart a lifetime of wisdom. It is the perfect send-off for children starting out in the maze of life, be they nursery school grads or newly-minted Ph.D.’s. Everyone will find it inspiring and good fun. 

Why we love it: This classic encourages children to have confidence in themselves and broaden their horizons. Yet it doesn’t shy away from telling them that they’ll face a variety of challenges along the way; it gives them the encouragement that they have the potential to do whatever they set their mind to.

Recommended ages: 4 – 8

For self readers

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!  But only five lucky children will be allowed inside.  

And the winners are Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

Why we love it: Set in the wondrous chocolate factory of the eccentric Willy Wonka, this classic children’s novel is commonly read as a tale about morality.  The inherent goodness of Charlie Bucket is amplified against the greed of Augustus Gloop, the brattiness of Veruca Salt, the competitiveness of Violet Beauregarde, and the arrogance of Mike Teavee.  There’s an alternate reading here with an important takeaway for leaders: to build a world-class team, it’s important to consider cultural fit and shared values in addition to skills and experience.  As it turns out, Willy Wonka was a trailblazing recruiter.

Recommended ages: 8 – 12

4. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafza with Patricia McCormick

Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. 

Why we love it: This special edition of Malala’s biography is formatted for younger readers. Boys and girls will be inspired by Malala’s quiet bravery. Malala’s powerful story opens their eyes to another world and will make them believe in hope, truth, miracles, and the possibility that one person — one young person — can inspire change in her community and beyond.

Recommended ages: 12+

5. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

“So many things around you are reusable. Where others see garbage, I see opportunity.”

This is a gripping memoir of survival and perseverance about the heroic young inventor who brought electricity to his Malawian village.

When a terrible drought struck William Kamkwamba’s tiny village in Malawi, his family lost all of the season’s crops, leaving them with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. William began to explore science books in his village library, looking for a solution. There, he came up with the idea that would change his family’s life forever: he could build a windmill. 

Why we love it: Like Malala’s story, this book is a reminder to kids that they are indeed powerful and can change the world.  In this true story, William Kamkwamba sets out to build his own windmill to ensure his village can survive another drought.  Retold for a younger audience, this exciting memoir shows how, even in a desperate situation, one boy’s brilliant idea can light up the world. Complete with photographs, illustrations, and an epilogue that will bring readers up to date on William’s story, this is the perfect edition to read and share with the whole family.

Recommended ages: 12+

6. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers.  A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine.  

Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut – young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity.  Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. 

Why we love it: Ender’s Game is a classic. Not only does the book make for enjoyable reading at the surface level, but it also is littered with hidden leadership lessons. As a leader, Ender faces many challenges: isolation, confrontation, and more. He must gain the support and reverence of his subordinates who were formerly peers.

Recommended ages: 14+

7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The Alchemist is one of the most widely read novels of all time and continues to inspire its readers in many ways.  The book follows the journey of a young shepherd, Santiago, who faces numerous challenges from both external forces and from his own desires.  The leadership lessons that can be learned from Santiago’s journey is worth a read.  The Alchemist’s lessons are in line with the theme of the book: you can only find the answers you seek within yourself, no one is going to answer them for you.  Santiago must look inside himself to realize his life goals and overcome the difficulties on his path.  Friends and teachers may help guide the way, but ultimately Santiago reaches his goal by himself and through his own perseverance.

Why we love it: The Alchemist will teach your child to have a trusting heart.  Santiago must interrupt “good omens” on his own and trust his intuition to recognize them.  A good leader can trust their instincts and be able to be confident in their decision.  Not every decision in life is going to be black and white.  Emotions are a reliable and legitimate reason to make a decision.  Of course, leaders also need to recognize when they are biased as well, which influences a feeling about a decision.  Making a decision based on feelings could also be out of place if you are making a convenient decision.  A good leader knows when they are afraid or biased and works out these feelings before making a decision.

Recommended ages: 14+

Explore open reading spaces at Everest Education’s libraries

These books are now available at Everest Education’s libraries – where children can get access to English books, e-books, digital audiobooks, movies, magazines, games, and many other traditional and digital resources. Parents can bring your child over to read, check out, and exchange books without losing a penny. 

>>> Learn more about E2 Libraries at https://e2.com.vn/e2-library/

Some Questions That Spark Great Kid Conversation

It’s never too early to start giving your kids lessons in leading others. Talking to your children about the books they read is one of the best ways to help your child cultivate these lessons, and support her literacy development. Below are some sample questions that you can use in the follow-up stage to hold a book talk with your child.

  • What does this book teach us about leadership?
  • Who do you admire in this book? Why?
  • What other choices did ____ have?
  • What would you have done in this situation? Why?
  • What do you think happens next in this story?

You can also learn more best practices on guided reading, and some techniques to use before, during and after reading to make the most out of the storytime with your child in our older article: https://blog.e2.com.vn/the-difference-between-teaching-kids-to-read-and-teaching-kids-to-love-reading/

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox, and find more parenting coverage at

6 free audio books for kids to enhance reading and listening

6 free audio books for kids to enhance reading and listening

Reading a book can be a challenging task for kids, especially kids who have difficulties in reading or have trouble paying attention.  In the hustle and bustle of daily life, reading also does not incorporate into the busy schedule.  Not many parents can sit for hours to read a book to their children.  That is why the industry of audiobooks is growing rapidly.

Audiobooks have traditionally been used with second-language learners, learning-disabled students, and struggling readers or nonreaders.  However, after a few decades, audiobooks have proven to be successful in helping these students to access literature and enjoy books.  Listening to audiobooks can provide a wealth of support for readers of all ages, help them gain more knowledge and joy in the very little time that students have.  Audiobooks also are a perfect treat for a sick day or a private listening experience anytime. 

In this article, we want to introduce some amazing benefits that audiobooks can bring to your children, and include a list of resources that provide excellent audiobooks for free.  Check them out and tune in during quiet time this summer!

What is Audiobook?

An audiobook is voice recordings of the text of a book that you listen to rather than read.  They can be exact word-for-word versions of books or abridged versions.  Audiobooks have been around since the 1970s and have come in many forms over the years including cassette tapes and CDs.  You can listen to audiobooks on any smartphone, tablet, computer, home speaker system, or in-car entertainment system.  

Audiobooks are usually purchased and downloaded in the same way as digital music and video.  They can also be purchased from online bookstores or downloaded free from public domain sites.

5 amazing benefits of audiobooks

We’re happy to report that audiobooks offer tons of brain benefits – from improved reading comprehension to an expanded vocabulary. 

  1. Audiobooks can help improve your child’s comprehension and vocabulary

Hearing new words – independent of or in combination with reading them – can significantly help with comprehension and vocabulary, especially for kids learning English as a second language.  Just as early elementary school classes encourage children to new readers to say words aloud, audiobooks promote the same healthy learning habits.  Mary Beth Crosby Carroll from The Children’s School in Brooklyn, NY, told Scholastic that “following along visually while listening can enhance word-recognition ability, while listening alone can expand vocabulary.”  Audiobooks provide unique context clues and intonations that can help readers better understand the meaning and application of specific words.

  1. Audiobooks may help our brains better imagine the story

The vivid images and jump-off-the-page characters in books create a sort of magic, no matter the format.  But a study conducted by the Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior found that our brains are actually more likely to create meaningful imagery when we listen to a story – as opposed to when it’s read in a traditional format – because it allows more room for our brain’s visual processes to kick into gear. This explains, in part, why so many younger children love when someone reads to them!

  1. Compared to reading, listening to audiobooks can help kids attach deeper meaning to phrases

When your child reads a book, a lot of focus is placed on filling in gaps: voices, sounds, settings, accents, and more.  Dr. Art Markman from The University of Texas tested whether hearing a proverb versus reading it resulted in a difference in comprehension.  

The results showed that when we hear a statement like “empty vessels make the most noise,” we’re more likely to connect this to other proverbs that have similar deep meanings.  But when we read that same proverb, our brain will pick out the literal elements rather than those that contribute to its deeper meaning, making us more likely to associate that proverb with others that mention wheels.  According to Markman, because we can’t go back and “reread” audiobooks as easily, we’re inadvertently forcing our brains to extract deeper meanings more quickly.  In other words, listening to audiobooks enables the mind to comprehend phrases at a faster speed.

  1. Listening to a story rather than watching one can spark a more emotional response

According to a study from University College London, people have a more emotional reaction when listening to a novel than they do when watching an adaptation.  When we listen to a story, our brain has to create more content, such as imagery, to supplant the words.  This helps create a “greater emotional and physiological engagement than watching the scene on a screen, as measured by both heart rate and electro-dermal activity,” according to conclusions drawn by Dr. Joseph Levin.

Psychology Today cites audio as “one of the most intimate forms of media—listeners work together with the narrator and author to create mental pictures of situations and characters.  Audiobooks can captivate the imagination, allowing listeners to create a whole world at once within and outside themselves.”  Being able to escape our daily worries is a powerful tool that we can easily tap into through the wonder of audiobooks.

  1. Audiobooks may offer a welcome alternative for children having reading difficulties

Young children, and people with dyslexia, and those who are auditory learners may find that they can retain more of the story when listening to audiobooks than when reading the written word.  Audiobooks allow children to hear fluent reading and — especially for growing readers — listen to what reading should sound like. 

These are keys to future reading successes. When children listen to audiobooks, they hear firsthand the proper pacing and intonations of reading, how punctuation should sound, and how reading should sound. Ideally, they will transfer that knowledge to their own reading, both independent and aloud.

Using audiobooks in conjunction with actual hard copies of books allows kids to follow the words on the page with their eyes as they listen to the words being read. The shared visual and audio reading experience provides extra support for readers: They learn to pronounce new words, hear fluent readings, and get to enjoy a new story.

Where to get free audiobooks?

There are endless reasons why audiobooks are an essential part of learning – time to get the kids listening anywhere and everywhere!  On the internet, there are dozens of websites that provide free audiobooks and digital books.  Here are a few helpful sites that share audio versions of books to use alone or in conjunction with hard copies.

1. StoryNory

StoryNory is a British site featuring free downloadable and streaming stories for young children. Titles include fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and classics like Alice in Wonderland. Each audiobook includes the digital text of the book.  This site offers free audio downloads of classic fairy tales, myths, world fairy tales, fables, 1001 Nights, and more. StoryNory is a particularly good option for young kids and students in elementary and middle school.

2. Lit2Go

Lit2Go provides free audiobook versions of books that are no longer protected by copyright laws.  Lit2Go offers downloadable PDFs of books so your child can read along as she listens to classics like The Call of the Wild. The site also categorizes books by reading level.  What we love about this site is that it’s not only packed with hundreds of free audiobooks, but many of the books and poems have free PDFs to download and print so that children can read along, highlight, and mark up the passage being read.

3. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an online resource, housing more than 45,000 audiobook, including a sizable library of children’s classical literature by some of the world’s most beloved authors. The stories can be downloaded to read on your computers, an e-reader, or other mobile device and some of the stories can be downloaded as audiobooks.

4. Spotify

You or your child might use this popular streaming service to listen to music, but did you know they also offer audiobooks? You’ll need a free (or paid) account to listen, but if your child doesn’t mind hearing a few ads now and then, she’ll be able to stream audiobooks for free. The best thing about Spotify’s selection is the opportunity to hear literature read by the authors themselves. There are also books read by great actors, including Harry Potter read by Daniel Radcliffe, Sherlock Holmes read by Sir John Gieguld, as well as classics from Shakespeare, Jane Austen, literature from women authors, fairy tales for kids…

5. Storyline Online

Sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Storyline Online isn’t strictly an audiobook service. Instead, the site features videos of actors reading popular picture books. For young children who might miss the pictures in an audiobook, this site offers some good options. Each book also includes a free accompanying activity guide to engage children in learning about the story, both online and offline. Check out Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog, James Earl Jones reading To Be a Drum, and Ernest Borgnine reading The Rainbow Fish.

6. Audible

Audible – one of the world’s largest collection of audiobooks, – is offering free audiobooks for kids during school closures. Through Audible stories, Audible allows anyone, anywhere, to access over 200 full-length audiobooks for free for the duration of school closures. There’s no log-in or registration required and it’s not a free trial. All the titles in the collection are available to stream straight from the web and there’s no limit to how much people can listen. The collection is geared toward children but there are some audiobooks suitable for adults too, and many read by familiar voices, including Alice In Wonderland (read by Scarlett Johansson), Jane Eyre (read by Thandie Newton), Anne of Green Gables (read by Rachel McAdams) and Frankenstein (read by Dan Stevens).

The platform made the announcement via social media, writing: “We wish you and your loved-ones good health and we hope that listening to a good story will offer some respite during these unsettling times.”  

It’s all part of the global effort to pull together and support children at this time so they can keep on learning, as Audible put it: “Continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.”

Parting words…

Audiobooks can also change the way we listen, read, and learn, improving the literacy of young readers and those for whom English is a second language. They can make learning a much easier process, and allow your child to absorb new knowledge and experiences while still being active.

Top 10 most in-demand jobs in the future and beyond

Top 10 most in-demand jobs in the future and beyond

What are the best careers in the next 10 years?  Which career paths can bring our child the brightest future? Our world is facing social, cultural, economic, environmental, and technological changes.  Robots, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies are poised to radically change the future of work. 

With technological innovation happening at a rapid pace, much of the work we do today could be automated out of existence.  However, it will also open up new opportunities – but no one knows for sure what those jobs may be.  In fact, according to one estimate from the World Economic Forum, almost two-thirds of today’s kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don’t currently exist.  According to an October 2018 HSBC study, nearly 40 percent of Canadian parents are concerned about how technological change will impact their children’s employment prospects. 

Predicting the best jobs for the future requires understanding that all kinds of variables will interact in complex and surprising ways.  Many of tomorrow’s jobs will likely result from today’s scientific and technological advances.  

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and hyperconnectivity will help transform industries, enable the birth of new sectors, and lead to a whole new set of professions and jobs.  Understanding what jobs will be available in the future and what skills will be required will help parents contribute to the ultimate success of today’s students.  In this article, we will show you some fast-growing occupations and several good career options to start considering.

In the future, some jobs will vanish, while others will remain – but change

Lots of today’s careers will be available for kids to pursue when they’re grown up – they’ll just have slightly morphed, thanks to the incorporation of sophisticated technology, says Rafael Gomez, director of the University of Toronto’s Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources.  For instance, we’ll always need doctors.  But instead of those physicians spending days, weeks or months trying to figure out what’s wrong with someone, a supercomputer, fed information of patient data, will spit out a diagnosis in seconds.  Doctors won’t have to figure out the best medication to prescribe, either – AI will cross-check a patient’s medical records with pharmaceutical data to come up with an individual treatment plan.  With a machine taking care of tests and results – and perhaps even intricate surgeries humans can’t do on their own now – doctors will be able to dedicate more time improving their patients’ overall health and well-being.

It will be a similar story for other professions.  For example, instead of a lawyer spending hours reading case law, a computer could quickly list the cases they might want to reference in front of a judge.  In education, AI could grade multiple tests or papers at once, while teachers could give students better learning experiences by, for example, “transporting” them back 100 years through virtual reality headsets to see what life in a different era was really like.  

At Everest Education, since 2014, we have already started to invest and apply technology in the classroom to boost learning time, allow personalized and incorporate blended learning to help students achieve amazing results.  We believe that in the near future, an educator’s job will also transform into training others how to use the technological information that’s available.

What about hands-on occupations, like construction workers, electricians and plumbers?  They aren’t going anywhere, but they’ll be increasingly high-tech, as workers use technology to create better and stronger buildings and respond faster to problems.

What jobs will be in demand for our kids in the future?

The year is already halfway done, and the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a major effect on employment in nearly every industry.  However, the future of work is still looking pretty bright for medical and tech jobs, based on data and projections from the US Labor Department.

1. Data Analyst
Thanks to computing advances and a cultural shift toward more tracking and measuring, the amount of data that gets collected every year grows by an astonishing amount.  Organizations of every type now have the ability to gather so much detailed information that it’s becoming more and more difficult for a lot of them to figure out what it all means.  They need professionals who can not only collect the data they need, but also spot patterns, identify past and current trends, and forecast future probabilities.  As a result, data analysts will be in high demand in the future.  The role of the analyst is to identify patterns in the data and present such data in a meaningful way, which is understandable. 

2. Information Security Analyst
As our modern way of life gets more intertwined with computers and dependent on information technology (IT), we all become more vulnerable to cyberattacks.  So far, we’ve been lucky that criminal hackers haven’t shut down critical infrastructure on a very large scale or for an extended period of time, or tap on customer data of small businesses with bad intentions.  But that day is probably coming unless we have enough computer security specialists to help the government and essential organizations protect their networks and IT systems.  

Cybersecurity is a worldwide issue, and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in how they penetrate the computer systems.

The intricate network of computers and cloud networks makes it easier for hackers and bad guys to steal important information.  To safeguard the public and business interests, information security analysts are a type of police force of the future.  The job of information security analysts is to make systems impenetrable.

3. Augmented Reality Developer
Let’s say you’re an avid online shopper of clothes, but have been experiencing that most of the items you order online don’t fit.  Enter an augmented reality customer experience – where you would be able to enter a virtual shopping world, walk around and try on new clothes in the comfort of your home.  This will be the role of an augmented reality builder – to enable customers to interact with virtual technology to make purchasing decisions.  

Augmented reality could eventually have a major impact on everyone’s personal and professional lives since it will probably touch every industry, event, and public space.  There are several avenues into the field of augmented reality because it is not only about the technical skills but also elements of design, psychology, and art.  A background in audio technology, engineering, applied mathematics, user experience design, and customer experience will go a long way in getting ahead in this field.

4. Biomedical Engineer
Professionals in this field are already starting to revolutionize the healthcare industry.  In fact, biomedical engineering is probably one of the best careers to get into if you want your work to have a positive impact in the years ahead.  Biomedical engineering is a relatively new job that has attracted a lot of attention lately.  These engineers create medical devices that can help doctors and physicians in their day-to-day activities.

Artificial organs, body implants, and biomedical accessories are just a few examples of their intuitive creations. After all, biomedical engineers are involved in all kinds of cutting-edge research and development.

5. Mechanical Engineering Specialist

Does your child want to help develop some of the most exciting emerging technologies?  Increasingly, mechanical engineers and mechanical engineering technicians are involved in the design and testing of things like advanced robots, automation equipment, 3D-printing machines, and clean energy devices. 

Mechanical engineers and technicians are in high demand due to the growing demands from the industry to create high-tech equipment. These types of equipment include X-ray printers, advanced robotics, virtual reality hardware, and a lot of other gadgets.  It’s projected that, between 2018 and 2028, about 229,000 jobs could open up for engineers in this field and roughly 43,000 jobs could open up for technicians.

6. Electronics Engineering Specialist

Like mechanical engineering pros, a lot of people in this field get to help design, test and evaluate leading-edge technologies.  As electronic circuitry and other components get smaller, more complex, and more powerful, it’s up to these professionals to figure out how to take advantage of the latest technological advances.  Electronic engineers often work at the back-end of most electronic devices.  They take care of computer circuits, wirings, and smaller components that power a device.  They may help develop things like better computers, automated machinery, handheld medical devices, and navigation and communications equipment.  Going forward, some of them may even get to work on things like self-driving cars. 

The exponential rise in technological power has increased demand for electronic engineers.  It is expected that the demand will remain steady in the long-run. 

7. Blockchain Developer

You’ve probably heard of the digital cryptocurrency called Bitcoin.  But how much do you know about the underlying technology that makes it possible?  Blockchain technology works as a distributed cryptographic ledger that can make economic and other types of transactions decentralized, faster, and more private.  It’s all a bit hard to understand, but many experts believe that blockchain technology will eventually be just as world-changing as the Internet.  That’s why professionals who understand how to develop practical services and products with blockchain technology will probably be in high demand well into the future.

Blockchain is a new technology that became famous due to its implementation in bitcoin trading.  An article in the Computer World suggests that Blockchain is quickly becoming a widespread phenomenon as governments, the private sector, and financial institutions are experimenting with Blockchain to protect the important data of consumers.

8. Smart-Building Technician

In this modern era, new buildings demand certified installation technicians who can carefully manage the installation process.  With each passing year, more homes, offices, and factories are taking advantage of automation technology to control various building systems such as lighting, heating, air conditioning, and security.  In the future, smart buildings may dominate entire cities as people embrace the freedom and convenience of automated control and hyper-connected systems.  But we still need qualified people to install, maintain, and repair those systems.  So tradespeople such as HVAC (HVAC – Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort) technicians are starting to become smart-building technicians.

Accordingly, HVAC technicians are in demand because they are experts in providing safe solutions to install and manage futuristic appliances. 

9. Healthcare Professionals

The medical field is ripe with growth potential.  With an aging population, the demand for healthcare is expected to double over the next decade.  According to recent Labor Department data, an aging population will put healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, physical therapists, home health aides, and pharmacists in more demand.  The numbers of jobs are estimated to remain constant in the long-run.


Healthcare workers should enjoy working with people and should have an aptitude for science and math.  Less-skilled and lower paid workers such as aides may require as little as a certification course, depending upon the area they are living and working in, while doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and pharmacists require specialized schooling after graduating from college.  Those who want to enter this field should prepare early by taking college courses in pre-med, biology, and science.

10. Digital Content Specialist

One of the major cultural revolutions that keeps getting more entrenched is the move toward more dynamic, digital, interactive, and on-demand media.  Because of digital devices that keep us constantly connected to almost any kind of information or entertainment we want to consume, the need for fresh content that breaks through the noise is never-ending.  Digital content providers are becoming a top priority of tech-savvy companies.  The role of the digital content specialist varies greatly depending on the job title.  

Organizations in every industry are discovering that generating new digital content is becoming a major key to sustaining their effectiveness.  That’s why digital content specialists—with all kinds of different job titles and abilities—are increasingly in high demand, especially with the growing popularity of remote work and freelance gigs.  To prepare for this type of position, it’s smart to get training in areas like internet marketing, writing, and multimedia and digital arts.  A graphic designer or a freelancer working from home can be described as a digital content specialist.  

Parting words…

What are the best careers for the future?  How will everything change?  Is it possible to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow – today?  We wish we could give our parents definitive answers to these questions.  But, of course, nobody can say for sure what the future holds.  The only thing we know for sure is that: Change will keep happening.

The best we can do is equip our children with the skillsets they need to prepare for a changing world that will be vastly different from what it is today.  In a world where robots can automate most of the work, juniors will need to demonstrate key critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills, as well as show creativity and emotional intelligence to leading global employers.  New high-paying jobs will require technological, research, management and soft skills, while talent and creative thinking will be highly valued. 

As a parent, you should be her supportive career mentor. Remember that you were once a teenager, and how hard it was to you when choosing your career path.  Proper guidance means a lot to your child in this stage. You can try to apply tips packed in our old article: Direct your child in choosing a career path, and share with us if you have any questions about this matter.

Should you have any concerns or any topics you want us to cover, feel free to leave your comments below.  You can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates delivered straight to your inbox and find more parenting coverage at


Key differences between the SAT and ACT: which test is right for you?

Key differences between the SAT and ACT: which test is right for you?

If you’re or having a child preparing for college admissions, you might have heard of the SAT and ACT tests, and might be curious about their differences.   The SATs and the ACTs are the two different tests that students are required to take for admittance to a US university.  When it comes to the SAT vs. the ACT, both exams are widely accepted by U.S. colleges, which often prompts students to ask: Which test should I take?

The answer to that question lies in understanding the differences between the two tests.  While both are standardized tests that colleges and universities use as a benchmark when making admissions decisions, there are some differences. 

This article will provide you with a brief overview of the basic structural and logistical differences between the ACT and SAT, to help you pick the right one as you get ready to apply to college.

The SAT vs. the ACT

At a glance, the two tests aren’t that different.  Both the ACT and SAT are nationally recognized standardized tests and common admission requirements for US schools.  Catering primarily to high school juniors and seniors, each test measures students’ proficiency in various critical skill areas – such as problem-solving and reading comprehension – that are necessary for college success.

Because all US colleges and universities accept scores from either the ACT or SAT, there’s no advantage in taking one test over the other.  This means you can apply to the same schools, regardless of which test you decide to take.

Despite all these similarities, there are still many ways in which the ACT and SAT differ from each other.  For one, the SAT is overall slightly longer than the ACT.  What’s more, the number of questions and time limits are different for corresponding sections.

Need a quick side-by-side comparison of the tests?  Check out this ACT vs. SAT Comparison Chart.




Content-based test

Type of Test

Content-based test
Reading: 1, 65-min section; Math: 1, 25-min section (no calculator) & 1, 55-min section (w/ calculator); Writing & Language: 1, 35-min section; Essay: 1, 50-min section (optional)

Test Format

English: 1, 45-min section; Math: 1, 60-min section; Reading: 1, 35-min section; Science: 1, 35-min section; Writing: 1, 40-min essay (optional)
Reading, relevant words in context, math, grammar & usage, analytical writing (optional)

Content Covered

Grammar & usage, math, reading, science reasoning, and writing (optional)
Questions are evidence and context-based in an effort to focus on real-world situations and multi-step problem-solving

Test Style

Straightforward, questions may be long but are usually less difficult to decipher
Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing are each scored on a scale of 200-800. Composite SAT score is the sum of the two section scores and ranges from 400-1600


English, Math, Reading, and Science scores range from 1-36. Composite ACT score is the average of your scores on the four sections; ranges from 1-36
No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers

Penalty for Wrong Answers?

No – you do not lose points for incorrect answers
Yes – you can choose which set(s) of SAT scores to submit to colleges. However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.

Score Choice?

Yes – you can choose which set(s) of ACT scores to submit to colleges.  However, some colleges require or recommend that students submit all scores. Students should review the score-reporting policy of each college to which they plan to apply.
Math questions generally increase in difficulty level as you move through that question type in a section. Reading passage questions generally progress chronologically through the passage, not by difficulty level. Writing & Language passage questions do not progress by difficulty level. 

Difficulty Levels

For the English and Reading sections, the difficulty level of the questions is random. For the Math section, questions generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the section. For the Science section, passages generally increase in difficulty as you progress through the test, and questions generally become more difficult as you progress through a passage. 
Arithmetic, problem-solving & data analysis, Heart of algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and trigonometry; formulas provided

Math Levels

Arithmetic, algebra I and II, functions, geometry, trigonometry; no formulas are provided
Seven times per year: March or April, May, June, August, October, November, December 

Offered when?

Seven times per year: February, April, June, July, September, October, December 
Typically about four weeks before the test date

Registration deadline?

Typically about five to six weeks before the test date


More Information


Neither the SAT nor the ACT is harder than the other – but each test benefits a different type of student.  It’s essential that you figure out which test is best suited for you, so that you can achieve the highest scores possible.

ACT vs SAT: Which Test Is Right for You?

The best way to decide if taking the SAT, ACT, or both tests is right for you is to take a timed full-length practice test of each type.  Since the content and style of the SAT and ACT are very similar, factors like how you handle time pressure and what types of questions you find most challenging can help you determine which test is a better fit. 

Another quicker way you can determine which test is right for you is to take a short quiz. In the chart below, check whether you agree or disagree with each statement.

Statement     Agree    Disagree
I struggle with geometry and trigonometry.    
I am good at solving math problems without a calculator.    
Science is not my forte.    
It’s easier for me to analyze something than to explain my opinion.    
I normally do well on math tests.    
I can’t recall math formulas easily.    
I like coming up with my own answers for math questions.    
Tight time constraints stress me out.    
I can easily find evidence to back up my answers.    
Chronologically arranged questions are easier to follow.    

Now, count up your check marks in each column to find out what your score means.

Mostly Agrees — The SAT is your match!
If you agreed with most or all of the above statements, the SAT is what you’ve been looking for. With the SAT, you’ll have more time for each question and won’t need to deal with a pesky science section or a ton of geometry questions.

Mostly Disagrees — The ACT’s the one for you!
If you disagreed with most or all of the statements, you’ll most likely prefer the ACT over the SAT. On the ACT, you’ll never have to come up with your own answers to math problems, and you get to let your opinion shine in your writing.

Equal Agrees and Disagrees — Either test will work!
If you checked “Agree” and “Disagree” an equal number of times, either the ACT or SAT will suit you.  Unless you decide to take both, which does sound like a good option considering money and time constraints, try to take the official ACT and SAT practice tests to see which test’s format you’re ultimately more comfortable with.

All colleges require students to take either the SAT or the ACT and submit their scores to their prospective universities.  Despite the fact that many U.S. schools are going test-optional, an ACT, or SAT certification is still great-to-have for international students, as this is a concrete data point to compare you among thousands of applicants, and is what makes your application stand out more.  There is no advantage of taking one test over another, so it is important to choose the test that is best for you, whether you are a domestic US student or an international student.