Kudos to Favorite Tutor of the Week, Teel Haas, who sent us this very well-developed idea about how to use a resource you may already have close at hand to teach listening skills. Here's Teel:
What I recorded: My learner has very limited opportunities to practice speaking and hearing English, so I decided to record one of the books we are using so she can go back and listen to the lessons and speak along with them. The book I recorded is the Basic Level version of English for Everyday Activities – A Picture Process Dictionary by Lawrence Zwier. My learner really likes this book because it talks about things she does every day: cooking rice, making salad, cleaning, doing laundry. Since she knows these activities, it helps her build her English vocabulary and her confidence.
I was looking at going “old school” with a tape recorder, but accidentally discovered that my new laptop, which has Windows 7, has this great feature called “sound recorder.”
Here’s what to do:
- Click on the Windows "Start" button, a 4-color flag icon (bottom left of computer screen)
- A window box opens up that says, “Search programs and files”
- In that box type in the words: sound recorder
- A small rectangular box labeled “Sound Recorder” will appear on your screen
- On the left side of the box, click on the “button” that says “Start Recording.” Speak slowly and clearly into the computer microphone.I read through each lesson twice, the first time at a slightly slowed rate, so the learner can get a feeling for how a native speaker sounds. The second time through I read much more slowly, being careful to enunciate words, with the instruction that she should read along with me. There are some sounds and words that are particularly difficult for my learner because those sounds don’t exist in her native Wolof, so I stop and repeat those words for her.
- When finished recording, save the audio file to your computer.
- I then burned a CD for my learner, since she has access to a computer and that’s the easiest way for her to play the CD back to listen and practice. (You can also copy the file to a USB flash drive or similar portable memory stick, if that’s more convenient.)
What if you don’t have Windows 7? Check with a public library near you to find out if their public use computers operate with Windows 7. (The Madison Libraries website doesn’t indicate what operating system(s) they have available.)