Top Ten Tips for Teachers

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    Top ten tips for teachers

    How to get the most out of Cambridge Storybooks

    Cambridge Storybooks are authentic texts, which have been carefully adapted for children who

    are in the early stages of learning English. Here are some ways to help the children enjoy thebooks and develop their confidence.

    1. Keep it stress-freeChildren, like adults, learn best in a stress-free environment where they can relax and feel

    their efforts are valued. It is important to let them learn at their own pace and to give lotsof praise and encouragement. Wait till the children are ready to speak, read or write

    remember they are learning while they are listening.2. Make it fun

    Children are more motivated to learn when they are having fun. Choose stories they willenjoy and exploit the elements of humour, fantasy and surprise that will appeal to them.

    Personalise wherever possible, and keep it interactive.3. Exploit the pictures

    The illustrations, in a range of styles, are of high quality and closely match the text. They

    will certainly catch your children's interest and help them to follow the story, but you canalso use them in many other ways, for example to pre-teach or revise vocabulary, predictwhat will happen next or to help them re-tell the story in their own words.

    4. Choose the best activitiesAll children are different. Activities are suggested for several levels and it is important to

    select carefully. Text strips, for example, can be used in a variety of ways, e.g., matchingstrips to the story, sequencing them, or for children to make and illustrate their own copy

    of a book.5. Adapt the materials

    You know your children's needs. Many of the activities can be easily adapted or extendedto practise other useful vocabulary and structures. You can use the picture cards, for

    example, for playing games and storytelling as well as to introduce and revisevocabulary.

    6. Offer varietyThe books have many topics that children are interested in, e.g., animals, monsters,

    fantasy adventures, fun at home and at school. Make sure that your children are exposedto a wide range of stories so they can develop their own preferences. The pre- and after-

    reading activities also offer a variety of different activities such as playing games,

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    miming role-playing, drawing etc. Children usually enjoy doing all of these things, butringing the changes each lesson helps to keep their interest fresh.

    7. Use the audio cassette / CDHearing English spoken by different voices is also important for developing listening

    skills and the music and sound effects that accompany each text help to keep the

    element of surprise and fun.8. Sing the songsMake the most of the rhyme and rhythm in many of the texts. These are enjoyable for the

    children and also help make the language more memorable. Encouraging them to join in,clapping out the beat to start with before they are ready to chant or sing along with you

    and/or the audio cassette / CD.9. Keep it short and sweet

    Children usually have a shorter attention span that adults and will quickly become boredif you try to labour the point. This can lead to behaviour problems and a negative attitude

    to learning so be sensitive. Stop each session while the children are having fun and stillwant to continue.

    10. RecycleTake every opportunity to revise vocabulary and structures the children have already met

    many concepts such as talking about likes, abilities, counting, colours etc., recurfrequently in the books. Regular practice is vital to support learning, and some repetition

    will also enable the children to participate more actively in the lesson. Last, but not least,it will build confidence and reinforce their image of themselves as successful language

    learners!

    These top ten teaching tips were written by Jean Glasberg, Consultant Editor of the Cambridge

    Reading series. Cambridge Storybooks are based on material from the Cambridge Reading series

    and have been specially adapted to make them more suitable for learners in an English LanguageTeaching context.

    10 tips to improve the way you speak English

    10 tips to improve the way you speak English

    i. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well

    and try to imitate them.

    When you are watching television, observe the mouth movements of thespeakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and

    rhythm of their speech.

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    ii. Until you learn the correct intonation and rhythm of English, slow

    your speech down.

    If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, nativespeakers will have a hard time understanding you. Don't worry about yourlistener getting impatient with your slow speech -- it is more important that

    everything you say be understood.

    iii. Listen to the 'music' of English

    Do not use the 'music' of your native language when you speak English.Each language has its own way of 'singing'.

    iv. Use the dictionary.

    Try and familiarise yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary.

    Look up the correct pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say.

    v. Make a list of frequently used words that you find difficult to

    pronounce and ask someone who speaks the language well to

    pronounce them for you.

    Record these words, listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and

    read at the same time.

    vi. Buy books on tape.

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    Record yourself reading some sections of the book. Compare the sound of

    your English with that of the person reading the book on the tape.

    vii. Pronounce the ending of each word.

    Pay special attention to 'S' and 'ED' endings. This will help you strengthen

    the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English.

    viii. Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes every day.

    Research has shown it takes about three months of daily practice to develop

    strong mouth muscles for speaking a new language.

    ix. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes.

    Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening tothemselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing

    it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making.

    x. Be patient.

    You can change the way you speak but it won't happen overnight. Peopleoften expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way

    you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it.