Bulat and Basketball
Aidar Gizatullin, 13, Kazan



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Bulat and his parents moved into my neighborhood. On the first day at school he ran into trouble. My classmates whispered and laughed at him as it was unusual to have a newcomer. Poor Bulat was surrounded by the unfriendly atmosphere, so he sat alone at the last desk. He was alone all day.

I didnt like this situation, and I asked an older friend about this. She gave me good practical suggestions and told me to talk to him, to befriend him. She said, Everyone wants to be accepted by others. No matter how they are different: religion, age, skin color or just being new, they want to be treated with respect and friendliness.

It is true. In class last year, our teacher said that it is everyone's right to be respected, I said.

The next day Bulat came to school and again sat alone at the last desk. I went to the back and sat by him. He looked at me, but didnt say anything. He got good during the next class for his homework assignment. I found him during lunch break and we ate together. Bulat, do you like any kind of sports?

I really like basketball; actually I was the best player in my school. After our lessons we went to the playground and played basketball. Bulat definitely is a great player! We walked home
together because he lives near my house. We like a lot of the same things. Bulat is such a talented and interesting person! I was lucky to be the first one in our class to discover his

The first class next day was physical training and we played basketball with my classmates. It was after Bulat proved to be a strong player that the others started to respect him. Later he taught the boys some tricks, and they were thankful. Now our newcomer has many friends and he is happy with his present status in our class. I wish my classmates didn't need a newcomer to prove he is good at something before they give respect. Maybe they learned a lesson. I don't know. We all need to be a little more tolerant.


I. Understanding the Story
Discuss this story's main idea with a partner; write down what you think is the main idea.

II. Vocabulary
In pairs create a sentence for each of the words.
1. surrounded
2. atmosphere
3. practical
5. assignment
6. status

III. Now you Talk
1. What is your first reaction after reading this story?
2. What would you have done differently from the writer or Bulat?
3. Describe a similar situation you know about or experienced yourself.

IV. Now you Write
1. Write about one of the discussion topics above.
2. Write your opinion of the story.

V. Grammar Practice
Change the verb to present progressive. Example: Bulat played basketball well. Bulat is playing basketball well.
1. Bulat sat alone in the classroom.
2. I walked to the back of the room.
3. We lived near each other.
4. Bulat proved to be a strong player.
5. He taught the other boys some basketball tricks.

VI. Role Play
1. Bulat and his mother: They talk about his going to the new school.
2. Bulat and the teacher: Bulat complains and the teacher gives suggestions.
3. The writer and Bulat: They become friends and talk.
4. Three students in the gym: They talk about Bulat and about his playing basketball.