LIDA Stories

About us


Learning Inclusion in a Digital Age (LIDA) has developed LIDA Stories, a website for immigrants and refugees learning English with the help of their mother tongue or another familiar language. The website provides 30 stories in the major immigrant and refugee languages in the UK, in addition to English and other European languages. By reading the story in both languages, learners can benefit from better understanding and draw on prior knowledge in a familiar language. The website particularly targets recent immigrants and refugees and immigrants with little schooling who have previously relied on learning orally and informally, but we hope the stories will appeal to others as well. For stories written for children, please visit Storybooks UK or Global Storybooks.

About the stories

Most of the stories have been written for this project. Five stories stem from former projects by the LIDA team, but have been edited slightly to fit this target group better. Two stories, Coming to Norway and An old man as a husband, were written anonymously by refugees/immigrants specifically for LIDA Stories. The majority of illustrations were made by students at Hamar Cathedral School, Norway, while the rest of the illustrations come from The story texts and images are openly licensed (either CC BY or CC BY-NC-SA — see the information provided on each story page), which allows them to be reused under the terms of the individual licences.

How are reading levels assigned within LIDA Stories?

LevelDescriptionWords per story
Level 1Very short sentences in present tenseUp to 50 words
Level 2Short sentences in present and future tense51 to 100 words
Level 3Short sentences in past, present, and future tense101 to 200 words
Level 4A couple of sentences per page201 to 300 words
Level 5Multiple sentences per page301 to 450 words

Our Team

Espen Stranger-Johannessen

Espen Stranger-Johannessen

Dr Espen Stranger-Johannessen is the project leader for LIDA Stories and associate professor at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. He has a PhD in Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia, Canada. His PhD research deals with teacher identity and the African Storybook, a website with African children’s stories. Based on this work, together with colleagues he developed websites for several countries with children's stories in 140+ languages, including the UK version Storybooks UK, which LIDA Stories is based on.

Pip Hardy

Pip Hardy

Dr Pip Hardy is a co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme, one of the longest-running digital storytelling programmes in the world, designed to use stories to catalyse change in healthcare. Dr Hardy has a BA in English literature, a Master’s in Lifelong learning and her PhD looked at the transformative potential of digital storytelling in healthcare. For many years, Dr Hardy has worked to develop accessible educational programmes online and text-based, that use stories to promote reflection. Dr Hardy is also a qualified counsellor and humanist celebrant.

Tony Sumner

Tony Sumner

Tony Sumner is a co-founder of the Patient Voices Programme, one of the longest-running digital storytelling programmes in the world, designed to use stories to catalyse change in healthcare. Tony has a BSc in Physics and a post-graduate diploma in astronomy and astrophysics. His professional career spans working for British Aerospace and Acorn computers, developing the first micro-computers; his ease and familiarity with technology enables him to demystify technology to digital storytellers so that they can concentrate on the stories they most need to tell!

Liam Doherty

Dr Liam Doherty is a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of Asian Studies and a Research Associate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. Dr Doherty is the technical advisor for LIDA Stories.



We gratefully acknowledge funding from Erasmus+ for "Learning Inclusion in a Digital Age — to belong and Find a Voice in a Changing Europe".


We are grateful for the website design from Storybooks Canada, the illustrations from, icons from FontAwesome (via Fontello) and Elegant Circles, and the work done by the translators, proofreaders, readers, and everyone else who have contributed to make these stories available.