Alvin wants a new laptop His parents are poor though. His mom recently lost her job. His dad recently quit his job. Alvin knows that he can't ask his parents for a laptop. He decides to ask his rich uncle Todd. He drives over to Todd's house. Todd's house is beautiful. It has three stories. There is a chandelier on the ceiling. There are expensive paintings all over the place. There are five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Alvin wishes he could live there. Todd offers him something to eat. Alvin says, "No, thanks. I already ate." Todd asks him why he is coming. Alvin does not know what to say. He does not want to come off as rude. "My laptop is really old, and I need a laptop for school. I would ask my parents, but they don't have jobs anymore," Alvin says. "I understand," Todd says. Todd takes out 800 dollars from his wallet and gives it to Alvin. Alvin jumps up and down. He has never felt so happy in his entire life. His mom asks Alvin why he is so happy. Alvin does not say anything. He doesn't want to make his mom feel bad.
It's hard to get into college these days. It used to be a lot easier. Now it's even not enough to get good grades. You need to have good grades in advanced classes. You need to do some extracurriculars. Extracurriculars are activities you do outside of class such as playing basketball, playing the violin, singing, and more. You need to have a high score on the SAT or ACT. The SAT and ACT are used to test what you know. They both have questions on various subjects. You need to have some leadership positions. It is not just enough to be a member of a club. You need to be the president or the vice president. You also need letters of recommendation, letters in which your teachers,coaches, or bosses... ...write about your abilities and personality It also helps if you won some awards. It shows that you can achieve something. You also have to write good essays that show who you are as a person. Colleges want people who have interesting personalities and stories. Students with good grades but boring essays will not get into the college of their dreams. Students should not be sad if they don't get into the college of their dreams. They need to know that getting into college is tougher as years go by.
Abby lost her mom yesterday. Her mom got into a car accident. A drunk driver hit her mom's car. The drunk driver is now in jail. Abby visited the jail to make him feel bad. "You know what you did, right?" Abby asked. The drunk driver nodded and said, "I'm sorry". He started crying. "'Sorry' is not going to bring my mom back. Your carelessness took away my mom". The drunk driver continued to cry. "I drank, because I was feeling lonely". Abby was mad and left the jail. She didn't want to see his face ever again. She wanted him to go to jail for life. Abby could barely wake up. She requested to take a week off her work. She loved her job, but she could not stop thinking about her mom. It was time for her to start doing something productive. She wanted to do something that would make her mom proud. Abby created a program to prevent drunk driving. She wanted to give drunk people free rides. Abby visited colleges, clubs, and bars all across the country to encourage people not to drive when drinking.
Ten years ago, most adults had regular cell phones Now people have smartphones. With smartphones, you can not only call people but you can also go online, download new games, calculate a math problem, organize your schedule, and more. Smartphones are really helpful. Even kids have cell phones now. People use their phones a lot these days, especially when they are waiting. People do not like to be bored, so they go on their phones. A lot of news reports are saying that people are looking at their phones way too much. People look at their phones when they are with others, and that is bad. Being addicted to something is never good. When you go into a restaurant and look at other customers, most of them have phones in their hands. They would rather text, play a game or go online than talk to the people around them. Some restaurants have even offered a free meal or a discount if customers are willing not to use their phones for an entire hour! People also use their phones before they sleep. This is bad for them, because it makes it harder for them to go to sleep. The light from the phone tricks our bodies into thinking we need to be awake.
The terrorist attacks have scared a lot of people from studying abroad. Many students go to big cities to take pictures, shop, and explore. Terrorists attack these big cities though, because they know that there will be a lot of people. The truth is, we should not stop people from studying abroad. These terrorist attacks can happen anytime. We can't live life in fear. We must do the things we love. People are also scared to travel in general, because of plane accidents. Terrorists often bring explosives on planes. Some people are also scared of dying on a plane. All the passengers in Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are missing. We still don't know what happened to them. Not too long after, all the passengers in Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 died It was a very tragic event. It is scary that our lives can end so quickly and suddenly. We need to live life to the fullest. We need to love the people around us and be thankful for every day that we live.
Brenda has to make an important decision. She got accepted to an internship in France; she also got a job offer at a hospital. She can only do one though. She made a list of pros and cons. Pros are the good things while cons are the bad things. The internship in France was good, because Brenda always wanted to go to France. Her plane tickets and living accommodation would be paid for. The bad thing about the internship was that it had nothing to do with her life goals. The internship required her to teach French children English Brenda was okay with children, but she didn't love them. One pro of the job offer at the hospital was that it was good for her end goal. Brenda's end goal was to be a doctor, and the job will teach her a lot about medical school. One con of the job offer was the location. The hospital is in a dangerous place where people have to be careful of being robbed and getting hurt. After a lot of thinking and looking at her list, Brenda decided to work in the hospital. She knew that working there would be good for her future.
A lot of kids are smart. The thing that stops them from getting an A is procrastination. Procrastination is putting things off to a later time. An example of procrastination would be starting a project one day before it is due. Procrastinating is bad, because it makes a person stressed out. It is also bad, because the end product is usually not very good Since studying is not very fun, students play video games, hanging out with friends, and eating out before studying. They end up studying the night before the test and do not get much sleep. This is bad, because eight hours of sleep or more is needed to do well. Students who procrastinate end up doing badly on tests. Teachers always encourage students to start early and do a little bit of studying every day. Procrastination does not just happen in school, it happens everywhere. People put off going to the doctor, applying for jobs, and more. Some people say that procrastination is just human nature. However, some people say that they do well when they procrastinate. They say that stress makes them work faster.
Dean was known as the tough guy at school. He always wore tight shirts that showed off his muscles. He always pushed the skinny kids at school. He always treated the teachers like they didn't matter. He never did his homework. He got in a lot of fights. People were afraid of him, and Dean loved it. Dean's world turned upside down when his brother passed away He still went to class. His English teacher was talking about Shakespeare, whom Dean's brother admired. Hearing about Shakespeare reminded Dean of his own brother. His eyes started to water. He didn't want anyone to see him cry. He got up from his desk "Dean, you can't get up while I am teaching," Mr. Chen said. Everyone stared at Dean. Everyone could see the tears in his eyes. They laughed at him. Dean ran out of the classroom. Mr. Chen followed him and sat down with him. "Dean, it's okay to cry. Something tragic happened. Go ahead and cry." Dean put his head on Mr. Chen's shoulder and cried out loud. It was the first time he cried in front of someone. It was the first time he didn't act tough.
Jared has a green water bottle that he brings to school every day. He loves it, because it keeps his water cold. It also has a cool robot on it. One day, he loses it. Jared asks his friend Richard, if he has seen it. "Yeah, I saw Albert holding it," Richard says. Jared walks over to Albert's locker. "Hey, you have my water bottle, right?" Jared asks. "I did, but I let Denise borrow it, Albert says. Jared goes up to Denise. "Hey, do you have my water bottle?" Denise shakes her head and says, "I thought it was cool looking, so I showed it to Amanda. She has it now." Jared goes to Amanda. "Amanda, tell me you have my water bottle." Amanda shakes her head. "I thought it was Lucas's, so I gave it to him. Jared screams in frustration. Jared goes to Lucas. "Do you have my water bottle?" Jared asks. "I gave it to Richard to give to you," Lucas says. That was weird since Richard was the first person he asked about the water bottle. Jared went back to Richard. "Lucas said you had my water bottle," Jared said. "I told you, I saw Albert hold it. Lucas probably meant Richard Lopez, not me," "I'm just going to buy a new water bottle," Jared said. He bought a blue one this time.
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.