The MICHIGAN Stories for Newcomers

The MICHIGAN Stories for Newcomers are original fiction written for adult English learners who wish to improve their reading and English skills. These stories allow adults to read about the experiences of new speakers of English and learn about life in the United States. The stories have been written so as to incorporate authentic language and experiences and use sentences and vocabulary at about the 4th grade level. A modified, simpler and shorter, version of the story is provided on this website.


Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams talk about modified versions of Stories for Newcomers.

Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams talk about how they started a book club.

Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams on their Stories for Newcomers Series.

Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams talk about writing the stories and their favorites.

Modified Version of Flor

Flor's Journey to Independence begins as Flor and her four-year-old daughter, Betina, are unexpectedly abandoned by Flor's husband, Ricardo. Flor is suddenly faced with paying the bills and caring for Betina on her own, as she struggles without speaking much English. Still, Flor's determination gets her through the hard times, and once she enrolls in an English class for adults and begins working, she finds that her new life brings her new friends and opportunities.

Modified Version of Senem

In Senem's Journey to a New Beginning, Senem is a Turkish woman living in the United States and taking care of her family—her husband, Tarkan, and their son, Hasan—while adapting to a new language and new customs. Her task becomes even more challenging when Hasan is kidnapped and when she gets word of a natural disaster back home. With the help of her family and her new friends, however, Senem manages to find the strength to thrive in her unfamiliar setting and make new beginnings in her life.

Modified Version of Andrew

In Andrew's Journey to a New Life in America, Andrew is a Chinese man living in the United States, working hard, and trying to make a better life for himself and his fiancée, YaoLin. While adapting to a new language and customs, Andrew faces an even bigger challenge when his credit card is charged with purchases that aren't his. Andrew learns that his identity has been stolen, but with the help of his friends, he sets things right and begins a new life for himself in America.

Modified Version of The Kims

The Kims' Journey to Harmony is a story about one Korean family's journey to the United States following the death of Hyo Kim's father. After the funeral, Hyo's brother asks him to stay and take his father's place in their engineering company. But tension between the brothers disrupts the harmony in the lives of their mother, wives, and children as they try to adjust to life in America. With the help of new classmates, colleagues, and friends, the Kims embark on a different type of journey to balance their responsibility to family with their dreams for life in America and restore harmony to everyone.