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Voice of America Learning English: We are American English News

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required

Website: https://learningenglish.voanews.com/

Website Example: http://learningenglish.voanews.com/archive/as-it-is/latest/3521/3521.html

More Ways

Computer(s), Internet access, projector, speakers (for class presentation)

Activity Description

The Web site has text, photos, and audio support for news stories from around the world. The "As It Is" section has news stories with the script and MP3 file that can be downloaded. The news is presented in English that is spoken clearly and slowly.

Preparation

  1. Make sure that the Web site it not blocked at your school if your plan to play audio from the browser or if you plan to have students use the site at school.
  2. Download the script by choosing a story and selecting the "Print" button.a printable version of the transcript will open, and there is another Print button to select after you decide if you would like to include any images or comments made by others. Make enough copies for your students if necessary.
  3. Preview the transcript and audio/video file.
  4. You may download the audio file by selecting "Download" (below the audio/video player) or you can play the audio from the browser using the Web site's built-in audio player.
  5. Select vocabulary words that you may need to pre-teach.
  6. Prepare an exercise to teach new vocabulary, pre-listening questions, a listening cloze activity and/or post-listening/reading comprehension and/or discussion questions.

How-To

  1. Open the Example Web Site link (above) for Voice of America Learning English.
  2. Distribute materials you have created for the daily news story.
  3. Teach vocabulary and do a warm-up activity related to the content of the news story/stories for the day.
  4. Play the audio and have students listen and take notes, complete a listening cloze activity, or listen while reading the script.
  5. Follow up with comprehension and/or discussion activities concerning the daily news broadcast.
  6. Put students in small groups or pairs for conversation.
  7. As a follow-up activity, students can write and/or make oral presentations about their thoughts and opinions of the story that was covered in the activity.

Teacher Tips

  • Because the "As it Is" news broadcast changes regularly, you may not be able to prepare a lesson far in advance. Rather, this part of the Web site may be a good warm-up or filler activity.
  • The texts and audio are most appropriate for use in higher levels of ESL as supplementary reading and listening materials.

More Ways

  • The Web site contains numerous news stories and feature programs that are broadcast on Voice of America. Most news stories have a transcript along with an MP3 audio link and the script as downloadable printable file.
  • Your students, individually or as a class, can share their comments on any of the posts as well, thus extending the reading and listening lesson by incorporating writing.
  • Another feature of the site is the pop-up dictionary. Students can click on any word, and the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary definitions are provided.
  • If you select the Level One, Two or Three tabs, you will find stories appropriate for that level. You can also browse for articles categorized under the News/Topics tab.
  • Other features of the site include:
  • The English In A Minute ¬†section features mini lessons on idioms.
  • News Words ¬†offers explanations of possible new words in the news stories.
  • The WordBook [PDF] is a printable list of words used in the VOA Learning English site with definitions and a few images.

Levels

  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced

Standards

Basic Communication

  • (2.7) Understand aspects of society and culture

Basic Communication

  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.6) Demonstrate the ability to view the media critically
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.