Jason made a new friend. His name is Daniel. Daniel only has one arm. He lost it in a car accident as a child. Jason really enjoyed Daniel's company. He invited Daniel out with some other friends. Jason was sure the other guys would like Daniel, too. "Meet us at the restaurant," said Jason. Daniel walked into the restaurant. All the other guys stared at him. Daniel got very nervous. "I hope they don't make fun of my arm," he thought. He really wanted to become friends with Jason's buddies. "Wow," said one of the guys. "That's a really nice shirt! Daniel was relieved. He was invited along every week after that.
Steven loved almost everything about his grandma. There was only one thing he hated. She always knitted sweaters for him. Steven understood that she did it to be nice. However, all the sweaters were very ugly. Steven visited her once a week. She had a new sweater for him each time. Steven lived in a small apartment. There was no room for him to keep all the sweaters. He had to give all of them away. "Grandma will never find out," he thought. One day, Steven's grandma visited him by surprise. She asked to see his sweaters. "Someone stole all of them!" he said. They were too nice. She made him ten more by the next month.
John and his friends were going on a road trip. They were driving from Los Angeles to Washington. John had everything planned out. He even packed his trunk full of their favorite snacks. John picked up his friends early in the morning. He showed them a map. It was full of dots. "These are all the stops we should make," he said. John wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Grand Canyon, Old Faithful, and many other monuments. They stayed this way the whole trip.
George's best friend was visiting him. Joseph lived in Arizona. George moved to Los Angeles two years ago. He hadn't seen Joseph since then. George wanted his friend to have fun. He wanted to convince him to move to Los Angeles with him. George had a great idea. He would take his friend to Six Flags. They didn't have big roller coasters in Arizona. George and Joseph got on a ride called Tatsu. It was huge and had more than five loops. Joseph screamed more than any other people. "Isn't this great?" asked George. If you move here, we'll be coming here all the time! Joseph never returned to Los Angeles again.
Sea World is one of the most famous parks in the world. Thousands of people visit each year. Most of them go to see the dolphins and whales perform tricks This is something they could never see in the wild. Sea World has been under a lot of pressure lately. Thousands of people have been protesting the parks. These people say that dolphins and whales should not be forced to live in such small spaces They should also never be forced to perform pointless tricks. Most people are starting to agree with this. Sea World will hopefully start listeningto the protesters soon.
Robert's family got together every Sunday. They always had lunch together. Every week, they went to the same restaurant. It was an "All-You-Can-Eat Buffet". Robert's family loved eating. This was the perfect restaurant for them. Robert's mom always ate the most. She would serve herself at least four plates for one meal. His dad was a picky eater. The buffet gave him plenty of options. Aunt Nancy loved the buffet the most. She always brought a bag with her. She would make sure no one was looking at her. Then, she would drop food into the bag. Her bag was three times bigger than before by the time she left.
Andrew Williams got a new pet. It was a baby chick. His parents brought it home one day. At first, Andrew did not like the chick. He wanted a different pet. "All of my friends have dogs or cats," he complained. The chick followed Andrew everywhere. She was very cute. After two months, Andrew grew very close to her. He named her Rex. Andrew got home from school one day. He started looking for Rex. He couldn't find her anywhere. "Rex ran away from home," said Andrew's mom. Andrew was confused. Then, he looked at the oven. His mom was cooking a chicken for dinner. Andrew cried.
Mr White had a bad habit. He was a chain smoker. Mr White knew his addiction was unhealthy. He couldn't even take walks anymore. He spent all day coughing. Mr White spent one year trying to quit smoking. He would always buy a pack and promise himself it would be his last cigarette. Mr. White went to his doctor for a check-up. His doctor asked him to take an x-ray. His doctor asked him to take an x-ray. They found a tumor on his left lung. He had cancer from all the smoking. Mr. White went home scared. He threw out his cigarettes, but he kept one. This would finally be his last cigarette.
Mr and Mrs. Smith had a fun night out. They had been dancing all night. They did not get home until 3 am. They found their front window broken. They ran inside. Everything was thrown on the floor. Their televisions were missing. Their laptops were gone. Even their fancy plates were taken. Mrs Smith started crying. "We've been robbed!" she screamed. The police were called in. Mr. Smith started cleaning the mess. He saw something lying by the window sill. It was a wallet. The burglar had dropped it while jumping through the window.
Mr. Gonzales was a janitor He was unhappy with his career He was a smart man He knew he could do more with his life Mr. Gonzales wanted to go back to college He had always dreamed of becoming a teacher If he finished college, this could come true Mr. Gonzales was forty years old His children told him he was too old to go back to college "You will look like a grandpa," they joked "That's not true!" said Mr. Gonzales "I will be the wisest student there!" Mr. Gonzales graduated from college four years later His children were very proud of him
Deborah and Paul Evans loved nature. They especially liked hiking. They hiked the mountain almost every evening. They always took their dog Buddy. Buddy loved his owners. Hiking was one of his favorite things, too. One day, the news reported a cougar sighting. "We advise hikers to beware the mountains tonight," said the reporter. Deborah and Paul thought about staying home that evening. "I&'m sure we'll be safe," said Paul. "Cougars usually hide from humans." Deborah, Paul, and Buddy made it to the top of the mountain. Suddenly, they heard a roar. The cougar jumped out. It leaped at Deborah's face. Buddy jumped to save her. He scared the cougar away. Mr. and Mrs. Evan bought him a thousand treats and toys the next day.
Kenneth Baker woke up early Sunday morning. A terrible thing had happened. His cat was missing. "He must have run away again," thought Kenneth. He went around asking neighbors for information. "That's odd," said his neighbor Sandra. "My Chihuahua went missing last night, too!" Kenneth kept walking around the neighborhood. He hoped to find his cat roaming the streets. Instead, Kenneth found something else. There were signs everywhere. They all said,"Missing cat" or "Missing Dog". "I don't think all these animals are running away," thought Kenneth. Then, Kenneth saw something that broke his heart. There was a trail of blood on the floor. It led to the mountain side. A coyote must be taking all the small pets in the night.
George Hernandez had two best friends. They had been friends since elementary school. Now, they were all grown up. George was moving away to a university. Steven was starting a family in another city. Charles got a job in another state. They had to say goodbye. George didn't want them to ever forget each other. "Let's make a time capsule," he said. They all went home. They looked for things that held memories of their being together. They found old toys, pictures, and CDs. They put them in a box. Then they buried the box in a park. The boys promised to get together in ten years. They would dig up the box and feel like children again.
Betty Scott got big news. Her only son was going to have a baby. "I'm finally going to be a grandma!" she thought. Betty was very excited. She couldn't wait for the baby to arrive. "I need to get the baby something special," Betty said. She decided to make a blanket. She would knit it herself. Betty was an elderly woman. Her hands weren't as strong as they used to be. They shook a lot and hurt often. Knitting was much harder than she remembered it. Still, Betty kept working on the blanket. "Anything for that baby," she thought. Betty struggled with the blanket for many months. She finished it right before the baby was born. It was the best present the baby ever got.
Brian Nelson was late for work. He had been stuck in traffic for half an hour. The cars were finally starting to move. Brian had to make it to work in ten minutes. If he was late, he would be in big trouble with his boss. "There's no way I'll make it in time," said Brian. Suddenly, a car raced past him. Three seconds later, another car raced past him. They were going around 80 miles per hour. Brian knew that speeding was the only way he would make it to work on time. He looked around him. There were no cops in sight. He decided to push his speed up to 70. Two seconds later, he heard sirens behind him.
Michael lived in Minnesota. He was visiting the West Coast. His friends were going to show him around. "I just want to see Las Vegas!" said Michael. "Are you sure?" asked his friends. Michael insisted. He had always wanted to go to Las Vegas. Michael had seen a lot of movies about Vegas. Everything looked very bright and fancy. He couldn't wait to see it. When they arrived, Michael was confused. The streets all looked dirty and old. In the movies, everyone looked happy. In reality, half of the people were drunk. The other half were angry from losing money in casinos. "This isn't what I pictured," said Michael.
Jeff was a forty-year-old man. He had no job. He never even went to school. Jeff had lived with his parents his whole life. They were starting to worry about him. All Jeff did every day was to play video games. "You need to do something with your life," said his parents. Jeff ignored them. He was happy with his life. Jeff's parents came up with a plan. They started asking him for rent money. "How am I supposed to pay that?" asked Jeff. "With a job!" replied his mom. When Jeff didn't give them rent, they took all his video games and sold them. Jeff was furious. He went out to look for a job. He needed to buy the video games back.
Christopher bought a new car. He was going to travel the country with it. His friends helped him prepare for the trip. "You should carry a spare tire," said Brian. Christopher didn't see a point to that. "New cars don't need spare tires," he said. One week later, Christopher went on his trip. He couldn't wait to explore the country. Suddenly, he heard a loud pop. His car started making a strange noise. Christopher pulled over to the side of the highway. He walked around his car. A back wheel had popped. He had barely driven for one hour. Christopher had to call Brian for help. Brian laughed at him for hours.
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest holidays in the US. It is followed by another major US holiday. This day is known as Black Friday. On this day, stores hold big sales. Then, Americans across the country go crazy. A lot of people get violent on Black Friday. One year, Carol went shopping on the day. She wanted to buy a new coat. "I hope the mall isn't too crowded," she said. She couldn't believe her eyes. Every store was flooded with people. Carol spotted a nice blue coat in one store. It was on sale for twenty dollars. Carol was about to try it on. Suddenly a lady jumped at her and took the coat away. "I'm going home," said Carol.
Barbara invited her friends over to her house. She was excited to show them her new house. "What do you guys think?" she asked them. Her friends didn't know what to say. They looked around and tried to think of something nice to say. "It's interesting," said Betty. Barbara had a strange taste. Everything in her house was pink. This included the curtains, the sofas, and even the carpet. "What does your husband think about it?" asked Betty. "He loves it!" said Barbara. Betty and the other women didn't believe her. "I swear he does," said Barbara. "He picked the color himself!".
Richard had always been very tall. He was the biggest boy in elementary school. He used this to be a bully. He always pushed the small kids around. He did this all through high school. Many kids hated Richard. He made many people cry. As an adult, Richard was not very successful. He always thought he would be a basketball player. However, he hurt his knee and could not play anymore. Now, Richard needed a job. Richard applied to many places. He knew all the bosses of the companies. They were the men Richard used to bully as children. Richard had a very hard time finding a job.
Patricia went to a private university. She couldn't afford it herself. She was lucky to receive a scholarship to pay for her. Many other people at the school were very rich. This made Patricia uncomfortable sometimes. All her classmates dressed in expensive clothing. Patricia could barely even pay for her books. The last thing she was going to do was spending money on clothing. Her classmates all drove fancy sports cars. Patricia took the bus to school. She was embarrassed for not having money. "Don't worry," said her mom. Soon you're going to graduate. You will get a great job with your degree. One day, you will be as rich as them. Maybe you will be even richer.
John was new to Los Angeles. He had never lived in a city before. He used to live on a farm. He had loved the city so far. One evening, John agreed to meet his friends in downtown L.A. He was late to their dinner. He couldn't find parking anywhere. A stranger walked up to his window. "I can park your car for you," he said. John thought this man was valet. John thanked the man and gave him his keys. After dinner, John couldn't find the valet booth. "We don't have valet," said a waiter. John's car had been stolen. Even though he like the city, he did not like the people.
Harris had just turned 75 years old. He was feeling so ancient. He wanted his youth back. He used to be strong and handsome. Now he was wrinkly and flabby. He used to love adventure. He even wrestled an alligator once. Now, he was too lazy to even go for walks. "Time passed by too fast!" he kept thinking. I need to be more daring. Harris knew what to do. "I'm going to go skydiving!" he said. He picked up his grandson. "We're going on an adventure!" he told him. By the time they got to the airport, Harris was asleep. "Forget it," said Harris. "It's nap time.
Wilson hated his job. His boss was a mean man. He didn't even get paid well. Wilson wanted to just give up and quit. However, he had to take care of his two kids. "I want to give them a better life," he always said. Finally, Wilson decided to start changing their lives. He enrolled into college. He took classes every night. He quit his awful job. He eventually became a doctor. He started getting paid a lot. He was able to buy a nice house for his family. It even had a white picket fence. The American dream was finally his.
Clark had a lot of passions. He liked science. He was a great swimmer. He was even great at singing. However, his biggest passion was pizza. He loved pizza. Clark graduated from college with a degree in chemistry. His parents were so excited for his future. "You're going to make a great doctor!" they always said. Clark did not want to be a doctor. All he wanted was to open up his own pizza place. "That's ridiculous," said his mother. "Think about how much money you could make as a doctor!" All he wanted was to spend every day making, smelling, and eating pizzas.
Mrs. Adams took a knitting class. She did not expect it to be very fun, but she ended up loving it. She began knitting all day and night. First, she practiced making blankets. Then, she learned to knit hats and mittens. She even tried making socks and pants. Within one month, she had given all her grandchildren dozens of knitted pieces. She expected the kid to wear them at all times. It was the middle of summer. The children wanted to be in tank tops and shorts. Not scarves and sweaters. They told their grandmother to stop.
Ronald was moving to college. He needed a place to stay. Every apartment around the school was very expensive. "I'm going to be a homeless college student," he joked. Ronald thought of a solution. He posted an advertisement online. He wrote, "Looking for roommate around college campus. Must be neat and sane" Within one day, he had twenty replies. Ronald didn't really want to share an apartment with a stranger. However, this was the only way he could afford anything. "I just hope he's not dirty or crazy," he thought. After interviewing everyone, he picked a guy he really liked. They ended up being friends their whole lives.
Laura cared a lot about the environment. She worried about the future of the planet. She made sure to recycle everything she could. She even rode her bike everywhere she went. Laura wanted to do whatever she could to prevent pollution or global warming. One day, Laura was riding her bike home. A truck in front of her threw a bag of trash out their window. This made Laura furious. She picked up the bag and followed the truck. When it finally parked she threw the bag into the window. The driver of the truck turned out to be a cop. He charged her on two counts. One was for assault on an officer. The other was for littering.
Donald Campbell needed to go to New York. He lived in Los Angeles. Driving there would take three days. His only other option was to take an airplane. That would take around six hours. Donald was afraid of airplanes. He had never been on one. "That's a dumb fear," said his friend. "Cars are more dangerous than airplanes. " Donald was sure this was a lie. He didn't trust something so big in the air. Donald ignored his friend. He was going to drive for three days. Halfway through the trip, Donald got very sleepy. He was on a highway. He crashed into a giant trailer.
The Wright family loves fishing. They head to a nearby lake every weekend. They used to catch a lot of fish. Now, they are lucky to end up with two fish altogether. There are other differences at the lake. The water used to be crystal blue. Recently, it started looking a lot greener. It even smells a bit nasty. Mr. Wright is getting worried about it. There is a factory about a mile away from the lake. Mrs. Wright suspects that they are responsible for the changes. "They're probably dumping their waste in the water," she says. "That's probably killing all the fish. " They probably won't eat the fish they catch there anymore.
Mr. and Mrs. Green were new parents. Their baby was born two months before. For two months, they hadn't gotten any sleep. The baby took up every minute of their days. They needed a break from parenting. "We're going to go crazy," said Mr. Green. Mr. Green's mom told them to go on vacation. She would take care of their baby while they were gone. "That sounds like a great plan!" said Mrs. Green. The couple packed up their bags and were on their way quickly. The new parents thought they would love their first time away from the baby. They were very wrong. All they could do was worry about whether he was okay. They drove back home after one day.
Mitchell buys a cup of coffee at his local cafe every morning. He always sees the same homeless man sitting outside. This man waits for people to come out. He asks everyone for change. Although the homeless man is very friendly, Mitchell does not like him. "He is useless and lazy," Mitchell always said. One morning, Mitchell was running late to work. He stormed out of the cafe doors. Then, he ran across the street to his car. Since he was in a hurry, he did not check for traffic. Suddenly all he saw was a big white truck about to run him over. Luckily, the homeless man pushed Mitchell out of the way just in time to save his life. Mitchell gave him five dollars every morning after that.
There is one student in the class. He is from South Korea. This student from Korea says that he has a question. He says that he has a big problem with pronunciation. He knows that his pronunciation is not very good but he doesn’t know how to make it better. He doesn’t speak much because he doesn’t like his pronunciation.
He says that he reads and watches films in English a lot. He understands very well but he also wants to speak well. He asks if there is something what he can do with his pronunciation.
The teacher says, “OK, I can tell you something about pronunciation and how to practise it. I also want to teach you a technique which can help you with pronunciation.
First, we have to look at why students have problems with pronunciation. When we speak, we have to move our mouth. We have to use muscles in our mouth. The problem is that when you speak English, sometimes you use your muscles like in your native language.Then your English pronunciation is like pronunciation in your native language.
This happens to many students who learn English. Almost every student has a little different pronunciation than native speakers have. It is not a big problem because usually people understand what you want to say. You are a student and it is logical that your pronunciation is not perfect when you study English.
But you can work on your pronunciation and make it better. There is a great technique that can help you a lot.
The name of this technique is shadowing. The technique is very simple. When you do shadowing, you simply copy the sound which you hear. When children learn their first language, they also copy what they hear. They copy after their parents again and again and after some time their pronunciation is perfect. You can learn English proununciation the same way.
You can take some video which is not very fast and which you understand very well. You listen and you copy what you hear when you hear it. It is all.”
Then our teacher tells us, “Shadowing is also good when you are prepareing for a presentation and you want to have good pronunciation. Before the presentation you can go to some place where you are alone and you can do shadowing for about 10 minutes. You will see how much it will help you to have better pronunciation during the presentation.”
When you want to have good pronunciation, repeat after native speakers.
Monica is a student from Italy. my teacher asks Monica some questions. My teacher knows Monica because Monica visited her class one year ago. It was a class for beginners and it was only for two weeks during summer holiday.
When Monica speaks, her English is beautiful. Her pronunciation is very good and she is very fluent.
My teacher is very happy and she tells Monica, “Your school in Italy must be very good.”
Monica says, “I don’t go to any school. I learn English at home. I use techniques from you. I do a lot of reading, shadowing and thinking aloud. I try to think more in English than in Italian.
This is how I work on my English. The two weeks which I spent last summer at your class helped me a lot. You showed me the way. I know how to work on my English every day. This is why I wanted to go to your class again because one year ago, I was a beginner and now I can speak English. I want to learn from you again.”
My teacher is very happy when she hears these words. She thanks Monica for her hard work.
Our teacher says, “It is a very effective technique. You have to have a strong motivation to learn English if you want to have benefit from this technique.
It is also good to know that for some people this technique is a little crazy. But when you start to think aloud, your English can be better very fast.”
“OK, it is actually very simple. You think in your native language all day every day. It is normal. Now, you can start to think in English. And when you start to think in English, then you can think aloud. You simply say aloud what you think. It is all.”
Then our teacher asks Monica if it is OK for her to speak about her experience with thinking aloud. It is no problem for Monica.
She says, “When I started with this technique, it wasn’t easy. I started with very simple sentences. For example, ‘I can speak English. It is good that I can speak English. I want to be better. I need to practise every day. I don’t know many words. But I can use these words well. I can say my ideas with these words. I can do this. This is great.’
The sentences were really simple. But at the beginning there was one problem. My thinking in Italian was long and complicated. I wasn’t able to say in English exactly what I was saying in Italian. I needed to find a simpler form for English. To think in simple English was the hardest part. But after some time it was normal for me to think in English.
Then something interesting happened. I met a girl from Australia. She was on holiday in Italy. I was still a beginner, but we started to speak English. I could see that I was able to speak with her without big problems. My sentences were simple and short, but I was able to speak. I didn’t translate in my head from Italian to English.
After the meeting with the girl from Australia, I started to use thinking aloud more. This technique helped me a lot with my speaking. I still use it every day. It is really a very effective technique.”
When you want to speak English fluently, think aloud.