A good way to practice your growing English skills is to read news headlines and stories. That way you stay current (up-to-date) with goings on and you can always go back and look for the story in your native language if you can’t understand a certain detail. Even if you don’t fully understand every word of the story, you can figure out the gist of (main idea) what happened while expanding (making larger) your English vocabulary. If this seems still challenging, why not start with just the news headlines!

We’re taking out the middleman this week and bringing the news headlines to you! Here are some of the biggest stories from this week, each with a short summary. If you want the full story, just click the link and get reading! (It’s a bit like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but with more grammar.)

Also, check out The Times in Plain English brought to you by the New York Times. They write an easy English version of many of the top stories in the news.

Neil Gorsuch Sworn into the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is one of the three branches (houses, areas) of American government (along with Congress and the Presidency) and usually has nine members. After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February, his seat has remained vacant (free), as the Senate refused to hold confirmation hearings (meetings, interviews) for Obama’s choice of replacement.

In this news headline, Trump’s nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed and sworn in (confirmed, officially starting the job) by the Senate, but not before a long battle. The Republican-led Senate changed the rules to confirm someone to the Supreme Court. In the past, 60 votes (of 100) were needed to confirm a nominee, but now they only need a simple majority: 51.

With Gorsuch now on the Supreme Court, there are four liberal Justices and five conservative Justices.

Scotland Would be Welcomed in the EU

Scotland’s independence vote may get another chance. Last summer’s Brexit vote determined (decided, confirmed) that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, but it might not be so “united” in the future. Scottish politicians are calling for another independence vote (like the one held in 2014), as Scotland voted to remain (stay) in the EU.

Fifty EU politicians signed a letter stating that Scotland would be welcomed into the EU if it gained its independence from Britain as “swift, smooth, and orderly as possible”, this news headline says.

Perpetrator of Stockholm Attack Denied Residency in Sweden

According to this news headline, the perpetrator (man who committed the terrorist attack in Stockholm last Friday) has been denied (refused, turned down) permanent Swedish residency. The man, who has only been identified as an Uzbek national, applied for residency in Sweden in 2014, but was ultimately denied. Up until the attack, he managed to avoid being deported by authorities, but he is now in custody.

The attack last week killed four people and injured fifteen others.

Scientists Have Identified the Parts of the Brain Involved with Dreaming

Some researchers believe that dreams are something we invent (make up, create) after we wake up in the morning, but scientists have now proved (shown) that dreaming is real, and have even identified the parts of the brain involved. The areas involved are surprisingly small, as scientists had thought that large areas of the brain were needed for consciousness.

The findings (results) of this study in this news headline could help researchers learn the purpose of dreaming and even the nature of our consciousness.

Make sure to stay tuned to your favorite English news site for all the top news headlines, as well as your daily dose of English practice. Some news sites (such as NPR) also offer audio version of the articles so that you can practice your listening skills!

What news story did you think was most important this week? Were there any news headlines you didn’t understand? Share your thoughts below!

Ready to start learning English? What are you waiting for? Read more about our native-speaking English teachers, and about how online English lessons are the fastest way to proficiency.

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, yoga instructor, and always reads the news headlines, even when she doesn’t have time to read the rest of the article!