Category Archives: GOTTA READ IT

READING COMPREHENSION

READING ALOUD IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (1B2)

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WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF READING ALOUD IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE? IS IT A WASTE OF TIME?

Among many other benefits “reading aloud can help your pronunciation. Even if you already know how to pronounce the language pretty well, it is hard to fit your mouth and tongue around the foreign sounds. Reading aloud gives your vocal organs the exercise they need to speak without getting tired or stumbling. If you are still fuzzy on pronunciation, use texts with recordings on CD or MP3 files, and repeat after the native speakers. But following along in the book will give you added input over simply listening and repeating. Try to copy the intonation and rhythm as well. You will be using eyes, ears, vocal apparatus, and of course, brain — all at once!”

http://www.ehow.com/how_5528527_use-aloud-learn-foreign-language.html

SOME APPS CAN HELP YOU DO THIS WORK WHENEVER YOU DON´T HAVE THE RECORDING: READINGS ON YOUR TEXTBOOKS, GETTING READY FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS, ETC….

  • DO YOU KNOW ANY OF THESE WEBSITES OR APPS ?
  • WHAT ARE THEY GOOD FOR?
  • CAN YOU RECOMMEND ANY SIMILAR APPS?

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http://www.acapela-group.com

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You can paste the text.(SUITABLE FOR IOS &ANDROID)

http://www.naturalreaders.com

TIPS TO IMPROVE PRONUNCIATION WHEN YOU´RE READING ALOUD

(BY my colleague JAVIER SANTOS ASENSI)

Step 1:  Find CONTENT WORDS in the fragment you have chosen and make sure you know how to pronounce them.

  • Even if meaning is different for different speakers, there are certain word categories that are usually more meaningful and therefore commonly stressed. They are often called content words: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, negative words, pronouns (demonstrative, possessive –mine, yours…, reflexive –myself, yourself…,  reciprocal –each other, one another , interrogative –who, what…), question words (where, how often, etc), intensifiers (too, much, quite, etc.) and modifiers ( numerals, cardinals, etc.)
  • Pay special attention to those words you are very familiar with. Are you positive you have not made a habit of mispronouncing them?  Check their pronunciation in your print or online dictionary or CD Rom
    • First locate the stressed syllable (long words usually have a secondary stress as well)
    • Then make sure you use weak vowels / Ə / and / I / in unstressed syllables
    • Is there any consonant or vowel sound that you have problems pronouncing?

Step 2: Check the pronunciation of GRAMMAR WORDS (also called function words)

  • Most times grammar words are not stressed. These include articles, determiners (the, some, each), auxiliary and modal verbs (do, have, be, may, will, etc.), one-syllable prepositions and conjunctions (to, from, of, and, but, etc.)   If they have a weak pronunciation form, use it instead of the strong form you might be familiar with (check the pronunciation of these words in your reference chart)

Step 3:  Are there any words you can contract?

  • Remember that contraction is a feature of spoken language. You do not usually contract words in more formal written texts.  If you are reading aloud you should try to contract whenever possible even if you do not see the contraction
  • Revise the most common contractions: in the reference chart your teacher will provide you with.

Step 4: Connect unstressed words to meaningful stressed ones in a logical way

  • First connect words into phrases (noun or prepositional phrases, etc.) in a logical way to avoid reading word to word and stressing every single word. These connected groups of words are often called thought groups
  • Then try and connect phrases into short sentences
  • Contracted forms as well as Word linking (connecting words ending in a consonant with the next word starting in a vowel or else words ending and beginning with vowels) will help us do it.  In British English final “r” will be pronounced if the following word starts with a vowel (linking “r”).
  • As a result the number of words in spelling and pronunciation will be absolutely different.

Step 5:  Make sure you respect punctuation marks: pauses and intonation

  • Periods (full stops) , commas, colons, semi-colons, parenthesis and the kind are realized as pauses in oral speech. These pauses will allow the listener to follow our utterance and ourselves to breathe.  Moreover, if you run over the sentence limit, your utterance will make no sense at all for listeners, for they mark the end of an idea, a piece of explanation or clarification, an example, etc.
  • Question and exclamation marks are realized as intonation patterns. Avoid flat intonation patterns, otherwise it will be difficult to make out your speech intention

RECORDING YOURSELF WOULD BE THE FINAL STEP AND PLAYBACK…. BUT WE´LL TALK ABOUT THIS IN ANOTHER POST…..

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WHAT´S IN A NAME? (1B2)

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Spanish parents win battle to name their newborn son ‘Wolf’

After a very public campaign, a couple from Madrid have been told they can name their son ‘Lobo’. Ignacio and Maria have won the battle to name their son, who was born on July 12th, Lobo – meaning wolf – after collecting nearly 25,000 signatures supporting them.

The couple had made their fight public after officials initially refused to allow them to register their son with the chosen name, initially because “it was offensive to the child” and then under the rules that it was only to be used as a surname.

The issue has made headlines in Spain and sparked debate over parents’ rights to name their child whatever they like.

But on Wednesday, the director general of the national registry announced that the name Lobo would in this case be allowed.

Javier Gómez Gálligo said the name Lobo was “considered socially acceptable” and therefore would be allowed. He also said the official criteria would now be reviewed.

The couple, from the Fuenlabrada suburb of Madrid, had referred the case to the Ministry of Justice and launched a petition on change.org that garnered more than 24,000 signatures.

“Do you, like us, think it is unfair that the criteria decided by an official has more relevance when naming a child than parents who will educate, guide and love that child for the rest of their life?” the couple wrote in the change.org petition calling for support.

The case had even won the attention of politicians with Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the Podemos party, speaking up for the parents.

“Wolf seems to me to be a beautiful and dignified name,” he tweeted. “If you can be called Paloma (Dove) or León (Lion) then why not Lobo (Wolf)?”….

https://www.thelocal.es/20160803/spanish-parents-win-battle-to-name-their-newborn-son-wolf

SHOULD PARENTS BE ALLOWED TO NAME THEIR CHILDREN AS THEY PLEASE? HAVE YOUR SAY!

22 Outlawed Baby Names From Around the World

DESCRIBING A PICTURE (1B2)

IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE A PHOTO ON YOUR MOBILE IN DETAIL, WHAT KIND OF LANGUAGE WOULD YOU NEED?

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CLICK ON THIS PICTURE IF YOU WANT TO VISIT A WEBSITE WITH USEFUL LANFUAGE ON HOW TO DESCRIBE A PICTURE / PHOTO.

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YOU CAN ALSO TRY TO SEE THIS DOCUMENT ON DESCRIBING PICTURES AND PHOTOSDESCRIBING PICTURES

AND NOW GET READY TO DESCRIBE YOURS……

WRITING BASIC FORMAL AND INFORMAL EMAILS (2A2, B1)

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LAST YEAR WE STUDIED THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WRITING FORMAL AND INFORMAL EMAILS.

  • HAVE A LOOK AT THIS USEFUL HANDOUT TO IMPROVE YOUR EMAILS. 
  • YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT ON USEFUL PHRASES FOR INFORMAL EMAILS & LETTERS BEFORE DOING YOUR HOMEWORK (SCROLL DOWN)

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise

USEFUL PHRASES for FORMAL EMAILS and LETTERS

USEFUL PHRASES for INFORMAL EMAILS and LETTERS

THE 17 WORST THINGS ABOUT LIVING IN SPAIN (1B1)

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Graham Hunt is an Englishman who has spent more than half his life living in Spain. Here he takes a cheeky look at what we all hate about living here:

(WARNING: This article is full of sarcasm).

  1. BUREAUCRACY
  2. LONG HOLIDAYS
  3. LACK OF RAIN
  4. TOO MUCH FRUIT & TOO MANY VEGETABLES IN YOUR GARDEN
  5. CHILDREN & FAMILIES IN RESTAURANTS
  6. BEING ENVIED BY PEOPLE FROM YOUR COUNTRY
  7. THE PRICE OF WINE (TOO MANY EXPERTS!!)
  8. NOT BEING ABLE TO USE RAINWEAR
  9. HOME-COOKED RUBBISH
  10. BELLS FROM CHURCHES & FIREWORKS
  11. LONG STRAIGHT MOTORWAYS
  12. CITIES ARE TOO SMALL
  13. OPENING TIMES OF BARS & PUBS (TOO LATE!!)
  14. CHEAP ALCOHOL
  15. ROAST CHICKEN SHOPS
  16. PUT UP WITH THE FAMILY

http://www.thelocal.es/20170220/these-are-the-17-absolute-worst-things-about-living-in-spain

KEEP A CONVERSATION GOING (1 B2)

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  • WHAT DO YOU FIND DIFFICULT WHEN HAVING A CONVERSATION IN ENGLISH?
  • WHAT STRATEGIES DO YOU USE TO KEEP A CONVERSTION GOING?

You don’t have to say much to keep the other person talking. In fact, in many cases you can reply using three words or less.

Here are some ways of doing that:

Make a comment

Show surprise at what the other person is saying with “No!” or “Wow!” Show sympathy at someone’s bad news with “How awful”  or “How terrible”. Show you’re interested with a comment like “That’s incredible” or “Amazing” or “Unbelievable”.

Encourage the other person

If the other person stops talking for a second or so, you can encourage them to keep talking with a phrase like “Go on” or “Oh yeah” or “So what happened next?”

Ask a question

In all the questions below, make sure your voice goes up at the end to show it’s a question.

“Really?” – to show surprise.

“Did you?” – Echo or reply questions can be used to encourage someone to tell their story.

For example, “I heard from Pete yesterday.” “Did you?” “Yes, he’s been ill for a couple of weeks.”

Over to you Listen and practise examples of these tips here:

Keep the conversation going .Make a comment

Keep the conversation going.Encourage the other speaker

Keep the conversation going. Ask a question

(from ENGLISH SPEAKING ONLINE)

HAVE A LOOK AT THE HANDOUT I GAVE YOU IN CLASS.  YOU CAN ALSO DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT FROM DROPBOX.

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HOW EFFECTIVE IS “LANG8” FOR WRITING TASKS? (1B2)

IN A PREVIOUS POST IN NOVEMBER I TOLD YOU ABOUT “LANG8”, A LEARNING PLATFORM WHERE NATIVE SPÈAKERS CORRECT WHAT YOU WRITE. DO YOU REMEMBER?

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bigupdateanimJUAN, one of your 1B2 classmates,  TRIED IT AND WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE WITH THIS TOOL:

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“In my opinion it´s a very interesting and effective tool, considering that when you upload a text people don´t delay in making comments.
However, there are some risks as always on the internet, as the information you get may be right or not depending on the person who has corrected you.
It’s fine in order to have an extra revision, but I’d rather be corrected by someone I trust.
Despite this, It´s worth a try.
I also wanted to warn you that it is addictive! Once you start helping to correct texts in Spanish, written by Japanese, English or German people, you can´t stop!”

I HOPE YOUR WORDS ENCOURAGE SOME OF YOUR CLASSMATES TO TRY IT! THANKS FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION!!!

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SOME OF YOUR CLASSMATES LAST YEAR TRIED IT AND I´VE CHOSEN ONE EXAMPLE OF THE ASSIGNED INFORMAL EMAIL: THE STUDENT´S FIRST DRAFT (IN BLUE) AND THE SAME EMAIL CORRECTED (IN BLACK).

I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT THE CORRECTED VERSION IS NOT 100% PERFECT BUT, ANYWAY….. I´D LIKE YOU TO COMPARE BOTH VERSIONS AND ASSESS THE RESULT. HOW EFFECTIVE AND USEFUL DO YOU THINK IT COULD BE FOR YOU IN THE FUTURE?

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IF YOU REALLY WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING SKILLS IT MIGHT BE A GOOD IDEA TO GIVE IT A TRY.

WRITING COLLABORATIVE OPINION ARTICLES (1B2)

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An article is usually written for a magazine or newspaper. The main purpose is to engage the reader, so the opening paragraph should catch your reader’s interest. Attracting the reader’s attention can be done in a number of ways

An article is usually factual and includes some comment, recommendation or opinion. It can be formal or informal depending on the target audience.  This is academic writing, so you cannot use contractions, abbreviations, or colloquial language.

An ARTICLE  consists of the following parts:
Opening. It is the general presentation of the topic, in which you also state your opinion clearly.
Body (two or more paragraphs, each presenting a separate viewpoint supported by reasons / examples). The first paragraph should contain the strongest argument or example. The second paragraph the second strongest argument and the third the weakest.You could also include a paragraph giving the opposing viewpoint supported by reasons /examples…
A paragraph consists of several sentences about a certain topic. It has the following parts:

  •  A topic sentence, i.e. an idea.
  •  One or several supporting sentences to expand on the idea.
  • A concluding sentence.

Conclusion. It is the paragraph that summarizes the main idea (using different words) or presents a conclusion, depending on the kind of article you need to write. Some things to bear in mind:

  • It should not bring new ideas.
  • o It shouldn’t be very long.
  • o It can be similar to the opening, but presented in different words.

(BY CRISTINA CABAL. Adapted)        https://tackk.com/jvkmh1

NOW, WE ARE READY TO START A COLLABORATIVE OPINION ARTICLE: “IS TODAY´S TV WORTH WATCHING OR JUST RUBBISH?”

GO TO PADLET (BY CLICKING ON THe WALL BELOW)

  • Click on the brick  board below,
  • A box will pop-up,
  • Please add your name.
  • Start typing your contribution. It should be an argument to be used in an opinion article
  • You can add an image or a link to a video or sound clip to accompany your argument.

Made with Padlet

WATCHING FILMS & SERIES WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES (1B2)

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After a long, long wait, the American video streaming site HBO has finally arrived in Spain, offering Spaniards access to the streaming service that not only provides all seasons of HBO’s content, but also content from Disney and Nickelodeon.HBO España, a brand new broadband streaming service, offers a subscription video on demand service providing premium content directly to consumers via hboespaña.com. The launch was first announced last January, set to compete with Netflix. But what about ORORO.TV?

This brings us to the question: Is HBO actually better than NETFLIX or ORORO.TV to watch films and series in English with subtitles? What are the main differences?What is the best choice for students of English?

Here, I would recommend ororo.tv. What can ororo.tv do to help you improve your English? What will you find on this website? An amazing number of TV shows and films in their original versions and with subtitles in English. Surely you’ll find attractive alternatives here to suit every taste and mood.

https://www.bloomsbury-international.com/blog/2013/10/04/how-to-improve-your-english-with-movies/

I CREATED A WALL  ON PADLET FOR ALL MY STUDENTS TO WRITE A CONTRIBUTION BUT NOW YOU DON´T NEED TO GO TO PADLET AS THE WALL IS AUTOMATICALLY ACTIVATED BY CLICKING ON IT(BY CLICKING ON THE BLUE BOARD WALL BELOW)

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  • Click on the blueboard, a box will pop-up, please add your name
  • Start typing your contribution. It should be a brief comment based on your own experience
  • You can add an image or a link to a video or sound clip to accompany your argument.

Made with Padlet

 

IMPROVING YOUR WRITING (1 B2)

WE´VE BEEN WORKING  ON WRITING SKILLS . HERE ARE THE STEPS TO BE FOLLOWED, WISELY WRITTEN BY MY COLLEAGUE JAVIER SANTOS ASENSI.

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IN CASE YOU NEED FURTHER WRITING AND CORRECTION, HAVE YOU HEARD OF LANG8?

LANG

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http://lang-8.com

Smart Up Your English

LEARN NEW WORDS, EXPRESSIONS, PHRASES...

Helendipity Weblog

learn English and share your experiences (SERENDIPITY= the accidental discovery of something pleasant and useful!)

Adrian Underhill's Pronunciation Site

Practical Discovery of English Pronunciation

Smart Up Your English

LEARN NEW WORDS, EXPRESSIONS, PHRASES...

Helendipity Weblog

learn English and share your experiences (SERENDIPITY= the accidental discovery of something pleasant and useful!)

Adrian Underhill's Pronunciation Site

Practical Discovery of English Pronunciation