The Big Dream

Synopsis: The Big Dream is a low intermediate level interactive story, which roughly follows the plot of the Charles Dickens story Great Expectations. It adapts it to a Japanese setting and tells the story of a young Japanese orphan who grows up and leaves his country home for the city and later New York City, where he finally meets the mysterious benefactor who has influenced his life so much.

The syntax that we focus on in this story is listed on the first page under contents and there are thirteen episodes so if a class does one episode a week, the story can last roughly a term/semester.

The Big Dream

Listen to Episode 1: The Graveyard (mp3), voices by Mark White and Hiromi Campbell. Note: this is meant to be an example of what a guided story might sound like when two people engage with it in a classroom setting.


1. The Graveyard (“be” verbs)
2. The Strange Old Woman (there is/there are)
3. The Letter from a Stranger (present simple)
4. The Attack in the Park (present perfect)
5. The Transfer (present continuous)
6. The Trip to New York (future “going to”)
7. The Restaurant (“would” conditionals)
8. Working in New York (gerunds)
9. The Rich Stranger (one/some/almost all of them)
10. The Bad Day (adjective plus infinitive)
11. The Old Man (should)
12. The New Job (comparatives)
13. The Temple (used to)