Beverly Stout's Posts (8)

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Recently Selma posted a link in the Karaoke Group for a Voice of America video titled "Are You Learning English? These Songs May Help" -- 

Well, I thought it was a great idea but had trouble remembering the names of all the songs mentioned! So from the video I compiled this list of the artists, the songs mentioned, a website where you could actually HEAR the song mentioned, and another site where you could read the lyrics.

So, if you like songs, here's the list! Enjoy!



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Conflict Resolution

As English learning friends of mine graduate and find themselves in the work force, I am beginning to hear complaints from some of them about how terrible the job is, how terrible the boss is, or how unkind their co-workers are. Often their first reaction is to try and find a job somewhere else. Anywhere but here. There may be times when moving on is the best choice, but I would suggest you at least think twice about it before you leave.

When we first enter the work force, we have high ideals and high expectations about what we will be contributing, and we have perhaps unrealistic expectations about how much freedom we will have to apply our new skills as we wish. The “politics” of the work environment is rarely taught in school, and certainly not something we give a lot of thought to in the beginning. It has been my experience that, no matter how high or how professional our skills are, a large part of succeeding in the work environment has to do with conflict resolution. It is important to find ways to resolve conflict with co-workers, bosses, and customers.

Unless we are fortunate enough to be fully self-sufficient and self-employed with no boss over us, we will always have some authority above us telling us how they would like to see things done. And, they will usually have the power to enforce that. If we are very lucky, the boss will be kind, gentle, and wise; the boss will be quick to notice our best efforts, and will offer us lots and lots of praise. When they wish us to do something differently, they will be helpful and constructive, and will give us a clear understanding as to how to implement the changes they’d like to see. Right?

If we are unlucky, our bosses might be self-centered, under pressure from their own bosses to produce better performance, and they might be poor communicators. When they want us to change our actions, it might be clear that they are unhappy with us but it might not be clear just what changes they want to see from us. We have no clear idea of what actions we need to take to satisfy them.

Sometimes in this situation our first reaction might be to seek work elsewhere, where our efforts might be more appreciated. But if we do that, we are really just avoiding the issue, and the same situation is likely to happen in the next job. It is important to learn to communicate well with the people we interact with, even if they are not good communicators themselves. We need to continue to work with them, to get them to clarify just what is needed to resolve the conflict. We might even try to think of it as a challenge, and try to come up with innovative ideas for satisfying all people concerned with the issue.

Also, if we proceed to apply for a different job, it is these same people that we didn’t get along with that the prospective employer will be talking to, to find out what type of employee we are. Do you think they will give us a good reference if we didn’t try to resolve conflicts?

What do you think? What is your experience in the work force?

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How Do YOU Organize Your Life?

My husband’s desk is always neat and clean, with maybe one or two stacks of things “to do.” You can see him in the picture, and a desk that is pretty clean. All that is on his desk is a monthly calendar, the book on Egypt’s Nefertiti he is currently reading, a book by C.S.Lewis that he keeps trying to read but is really not very interested in, but he feels he should read it because his son recommended it to him. Also, there is the TV remote, ONE pencil, another calendar, 2013, smaller, that our granddaughter gave him for the holidays, with photos of family on each month’s page, a pen set, an address book that is open to the page with the phone number of a friend he is trying to reach. My husband is 86; this friend he is trying to reach has been his friend since elementary school! Imagine! There is also a small stack of bills that he is planning to pay January 2. Oh, also a telephone and electric pencil sharpener. That’s it!

My desk, on the other hand, seems to be always out of control. I can spend a couple of hours each day organizing bits and pieces and filing them away, but still there seems to be a large pile I did not get to, still sitting there. I guess I “take on” more things to do than I can efficiently handle.

For example right now, on my desk, here are some of the items:

My camera. My camera is not in the picture I took, of course, because I was using it. But recently a friend at English Club, Junko, asked me to participate in a group song about New Years. Hmmm. I am really a pretty bad singer. But I agreed to try, and recorded myself over and over until it was at least acceptable. It turns out that I used the website for my recording, and I don’t know how to change that to an .mp3 file, which is what they need. Darn. I didn’t realize. Well, she thinks Rajesh might be able to figure out a way to make it work (he did!). Since then I purchased a “Pro” copy of Quickbooks so I could use that program for this task when they ask me again. They will love my voice sooo much, they are sure to ask me again! And she also asked that I might provide a picture to go with the stanza that I recorded. I didn’t have anything I thought appropriate for the topic, so I wrote a phrase on a whiteboard in several colors of dry-erase-ink and photographed that. I don’t know if they will use that in the video they are making from the stanzas we sang (they did). I might see the end result today, and then I’ll find out. But really, except for this blog, I am finished with the camera and really should put it away. They HAVE finished the video, here is the link:

A stapler and scotch tape dispenser. I use these often, especially the stapler.

A coffee cup with cooling coffee in it.

Headphones with mike, not in use at the moment.

More pens, pencils, and highlighters than I can actually use. Why don’t I just put most of them away? Why do I need TWO ink pens close by, or THREE pencils, one with a broken tip? Ha ha. Guess I’ll stop writing this blog for a minute to take care of that little piece of clutter.  Done.

A gift card from a relative for Barnes & Noble bookstore. OK, OK, guess I could put that in my purse right now, too. Oh, probably I will use it online, so I’d better keep it on my desk so it is ready when I need it.

My computer. My computer is my “life,” nearly everything I do revolves around my computer and the internet. Currently I have an iMac all-in-one, there is no tower sitting under the desk somewhere, all the parts are inside the monitor. On the screen in this photo is English Club Sweety’s picture of her desk, which inspired me to write this blog. (This blog which is already waaaay to long, and I seem to be just getting started….).

A wireless mouse, and peeking up from behind the large stack of papers is the transmitter for the mouse. You probably can’t really see the transmitter in the picture.

Out of sight, to the left, a digital photo frame. This was a gift from a daughter, complete with photos of family loaded on it.

Behind my headphones, toward the back of my desk, you can see a green circular piece of cardboard. This is part of my world clock that helps me schedule appointments worldwide for speaking to people on Skype. Recently we had a time change, in October each year we set our clocks backward 1 hour as part of “Daylight Savings” time. Well, when we did that, it didn’t occur to me that the REST of the world didn’t also do that! And I found myself missing appointments that I had made, always 1 hour off. I finally figured out why, and made a handheld clock in two pieces, for myself. The stationary piece is an 11 x 8 ½ piece of paper taped to a firm piece of cardboard. It has a 24-hour clock in the center. Around the edges of it I have listed each country I communicate with in their own time zone, relative to London time (UTC/GMT). The movable piece (the darker green cardboard that shows up in the picture) I place over the stationary clock, and rotate it until the current time in California is showing on the movable disc, and I point that at California on the stationary cardboard. Then I can locate the country I want to talk with on the stationary cardboard, and see what time the movable disc shows. Of course, when our clocks change again in the spring, I’ll have to make a different one again! Yes, yes, I know there are websites with world clocks, and I do use those also, but sometimes having this one nearby is actually easier for me.

Underneath the world clock is a book, Arabic Reading & Writng. I bought it at to go along with a free, self-paced course I am taking at Wiz-IQ online, Arabic 101. I initially became interested in learning Arabic because so many of my Skype contacts, and English Club contacts, are Arabic speakers. Sometimes they would post comments to each other in that language and I became curious. It also has become a bit of a challenge, because the alphabet is so different from the one I already know! The going is slow for me, but I am enjoying it and making steady progress in learning the new alphabet. And a few phrases, too.

Next to that, across the back of my desk, is a stack of about 10 recipes I recently collected from magazines and internet that I want to try and have not yet filed. I am an undisciplined collector of things that I am interested in. I already have collected more recipes than I will ever have time to cook, but, hey, these looked sooo good! I had to keep them. I do the same thing with books. I am ALWAYS reading something, and also listening to another on audio, but still I have accumulated more books than I will live to finish. It must be a genetic fault or something.

Next to the recipes are 3 advertisements for comfortable earphones. I am often listening to someone or something with earphones, and most that I have tried actually hurt my ears, which I guess are on the small size. So I am a “sucker” for products that say they are comfortable. Most really do not turn out to be any more comfortable than the ones I already have, so I have not bought another pair yet. But I am tempted. They SAY they are sooo comfortable!

Now at the front of my desk, near the computer, is a very large stack of paper, a variety of things that I need to deal with eventually. I don’t want to file them yet because I might forget about them and they won’t get done! So here they sit, on my desktop, piling up higher and higher. Some examples of the contents:  An email note to me from one of the other members of the nonprofit board where I am a volunteer. In addition to being an English tutor for them, and a board member, I am responsible for our 2 times a year newsletter, and chairperson for design changes on our website ( This email note has some suggestions for a few changes we might consider on our website. It is an old email, and I am pretty sure we have already implemented these changes, but I need to do some checking on the website to see. And I haven’t gotten around to doing that checking yet. So I keep the email handy so I won’t forget to check. Next are some notes I took when meeting with another nonprofit member who is in charge of handling SCRIP, one of our fundraising efforts. In 2013 I will be assuming the SCRIP function from her, and am in process of learning how to do it. Next in the stack are 6 months of 2012 calendar pages. From those pages I need to figure out how many hours I spent preparing lessons and actually tutoring my 3 local students, as well as the travel time involved. Also the amount of administrative time I spent for the nonprofit. We are supposed to turn in our hours every month so the people doing fundraising can quote these volunteer hours to our prospective donors, it helps in convincing them to give us funding. But obviously I’m a bit late in this task. I will finish it before the end of the year, though. Next down in the stack is a document I printed from the internet that has links to other pages about how other teachers are using Skype for teaching. I am always collecting links that will improve my online skills. Next down the stack is a notice from National Geographic magazine on how I should be able to activate their site on my digital e-reader. I have tried to make it work several times and have not been successful. I guess I need to call them to have them help me get it to work. But I keep putting it off…

Off to the left front of my desk is a binder I keep on the lessons I have worked with my 3 local students, and the hours that I have spent with them (as mentioned in the above paragraph). I WILL bring this material up to date within the next 2 days!

So, as you can see if you managed to read this far, I am a bit hopeless. I guess I will start a list of how I can correct these personal failings in 2013! I’ll add the list to the stack…


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Slang/Idiom Chuckle

The following slang/idiom quotes can be found all over the internet, with author unattributed. I found these at:

Can YOU think of any more?

I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, some thanks to my friends and family but mostly due to work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have never been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!

And more and more I think of the Here After ... several times a day, in fact, I enter a room and think "What am I here after?"

And adds these:

I have been in Dutch many times; the older I get, the easier it is to get there. 

Sometimes I think I am in Vincible, but life always shows me I'm mistaken.

And some folks think I'm in Decisive, but I'm not so sure.

Have some fun with it!


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Here is an extensive list I've collected of video and audo sites for learning English, especially pronunciation:

ENGLISH  Listening & Speaking links (Videos, Podcasts)

 Video Note: When captioning is available, it is not automatically enabled. You will generally see a “CC” symbol or a white triangle in a red box symbol somewhere in the lower right corner of the video window.                                              


Click on the symbol and there will be an option to turn on captioning, or to “transcribe” the audio. You will need to click “OK” on an additional popup.

Sometimes captions on You Tube are very poor and don’t really match the spoken words. Other times they are OK.

Podcast with Transcript Note: Sometimes the podcast and transcript are on the same webpage, making it easy to read and listen at the same time. But most of the time, the transcript is on a separate link. In these cases, the easiest way to accommodate reading and listening at the same time is to open TWO separate tabs or windows for the podcast link in the browser. Leave one of them “tuned” to the podcast, and on the other one, click the transcript link. Then you can read the transcript while the podcast is playing “in the background” on the other tab.

LISTENING: For  English Language Learners, often includes transcripts or captions:


22 This site looks pretty good! Has lots of already captioned videos on a variety of topics. The captioning that I saw looked quite good, not like the ones on You Tube, which are pretty terrible.

Accurate English – Pronunciation  Lisa Mojsin: a few free videos on pronunciation (for more you need to buy the DVDs): “wo” in “world” and “work”, “fifty” or “fifteen”, “heel” or “hill”, “r”, “t”.

American Accent – Articulation (rebeccalinquist channel):   The Rebeccalinquist channel has MANY articulation videos.  Also see more speaking links on the side panel of this video.

American Accent in Two Minutes a Day  (mnovaksan channel)   Also see links on sidebar of this video.

American Accent Training (CuongAPB channel)   Pronouncing “r” and “w”.

American English / rachelsenglish channel:  many good videos on American phonics and pronunciation.

Australia Network: Video Podcasts for Learning English  It is Australian English, but I didn’t find it difficult. A variety of videos with transcripts.

BBC: Learning English  Although this is British English, I found it easy to understand. A wide variety of videos, podcasts and other activities. To see the transcript while listening to podcasts, you will need to download and print, or open two tabs on your browser, one for the podcast and one for the video.

British Council Learn English  Yes, again, this is British English, but I found it understandable and they have MANY learning videos with either captions or transcripts.

Business Book Mail: Learning English Video Lectures  ESL videoHas a LOT of captioned videos. Looks interesting. Some of the speakers seem silly but enunciate VERY well and captions are automatic. Includes videos on passing TOEFL tests, as well as Business English interviews.

CBC Radio Canada 10 video lessons with transcript and comprehension questions.  4 for Beginners,  3 for Intermediate, 3 for Advanced learners.

Daily Dose of English (on YouTube)  video blogs on various topics, with captions. British but not too strong.

EFL Classroom This site has a variety of resources, but for videos with captions go to: (Jazz Chants)

 Elllo: English Listening Library Online—Learn English Naturally!  (British) Videos and podcasts with transcripts

English Café Written lessons, tips, thousands of  videos and podcasts.  Learning level is indicated for each lesson.  Content is provided by various teachers, some provide transcripts for video and audio, some do not.


Also see Jennifer on  Learn Pronunciation of English Vowel Sounds, Lesson 1

English Club Listening / Joe’s Cafe:  News videos, most with caption option.

EnglishMeeting channel on YouTube: Many good pronunciation videos. Captions are not the greatest, but not the worst either. The videos themselves are quite good.

“TH” sound:

“W” sound:

ɪ, ɚ r, d, ð TH, f, æ, n, t, k sounds :                           

 English Pronunciation Pod:   Click on the “Read and Listen” link to be able to read the transcript while you listen to the various podcasts. Some sample podcast titles: “Using Contractions to Improve Your Accent”, “The Vowels: /a/  vs. /æ/: ‘hot’ vs. ‘hat’”, “How to pronounce words that end in /l/ correctly.”

 ESLPROF2 (ESL LAB MIAMI)   Many YouTube ESL videos on grammar. Lots of explanatory text on each slide, captions available.             Verbs followed by infinitives and gerunds:

 Eslclick   Many YouTube ESL videos on pronunciation and grammar

 Eslspells    Some YouTube ESL videos on pronouncing various American phonics sounds

FunEasyEnglish    LOTS of videos and activities.  Try this example for learning the sound “o” as in the words: beau, bureau, sew, joke, smoke, woke, coast, coat, soap, throat, toe, brooch, although, shoulder, soul, blow, grow, low, mow

 How to say “v” and “w” in English (ConfidentSpeech channel)   how to differentiate the two sounds

 Learn American English Online Includes grammar lessons and captioned videos. Arranged by 6 learning levels.

 Learning English Pronunciation: YouTube Video (madhubkrishnan channel) )  Humorous video on attempting to pronounce English.

 Many  ESL videos with option for captions.

 Minute of Speech: ESL Accent Reduction Lessons—TarleSpeech Channel: h   many videos on pronunciation, including “woman” “would”.For “would”: 
For “would”:  
For “woman”:

For “women”:

 Nina Faust Videos (2):  These videos are made by Nina Faust, a naturalist living in Alaska, who raises 2 alpacas. Her main site on Vimeo is here:  but I have only transcribed the two where you can clearly see her speaking.    5.05 minutes         Porcupines

My name is Nina Faust, and I am going to be reading a selection from the National Geographic website, on porcupines.

 The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents, though its Latin name means “quill pig.” There are about two dozen porcupine species, and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predators a sharp reminder that this is no easy meal. Some quills, like Africa’s Crested Porcupine, are nearly 37 meters long. Porcupines have really soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail, it is usually mixed with sharp quills. These quills usually lie flat, until a porcupine is threatened, and then leap to attention as a persuasive deterrent. (1:00 min) Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched. Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their snouts or bodies. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales, or barbs, that make them difficult to remove once they’re stuck in an animal’s skin. Porcupines grow new scales to replace the ones they lose.

 (1:30 min) Porcupines found in North and South America are good climbers and spend much of their time in trees. Some even have prehensile gripping tails to aid in climbing. The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and, is the largest of all porcupines. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills.

 (2:00 min) North American par porcupines have large front teeth to satisfy a healthy ah appetite for wood. They eat natural bark, and stems, and have been known to invade campgrounds, and, chew on canoe paddles. North American porcupines also eat fruit, leaves, and springtime buds. Other porcupine species live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. These animals usually live on the ground, and can inhabit deserts, and grasslands, and forests. (2:32 min)  Female porcupines have between one and four young, depending on the species. Babies have soft quills at birth, which harden within a few days. Most young porcupines are ready to live on their own at about two months of age. A baby porcupine is named a “porcupet.”

 And now, for a couple of Alaskan porcupine stories from my own experiences. (3:00 min)   I love to walk my alpacas in the fields around my house. Sometimes when Gypsy, Canela, and I are walking in the lower field, a little tiny black dot will be visible waaaay in the distance. Both alpacas will stop, and stare, and sometimes I don’t see anything. Then, Canela will sound off with his alarm call: “Eeeee Eeeeeee Eeeeeee Eeeeeee Eeeeeee.”  Then I get worried, (3:30 min)   and think that he might be smelling a bear. I look intently, and then I spot a little tiny dot waaaay over there, and I say, “Oh, Canela, it’s just a porcupine, come on.” Surprisingly, Canela and Gypsy then want to just walk right over to see. But, since my alpacas are sometimes not on a lead, but roaming free, I do not let them near the (4:00 min)   porcupine, and simply say “Let’s go the other way, boys.”

 Another time, I came out of my house, because I had heard both my alpacas giving an alarm call. They were pretty frantic. I went over to the pen to see what all the fuss was about, and they were just standing near the front of the barn, and I thought, “Well, what’s up, what’s up?” I got there just in time to see a small porcupine waddle right(4:30 min)    inside their barn. I called my husband Ed, to “please grab the broom and chase the porcupine out of the barn,” while I made sure the two alpacas stayed back from the barn, to give the porky room to get out of the barn, squeeze through fence, and get on its way. So all ended well.

 (4:50 min)   And this is Nina, your Alaskan naturalist, saying, “there’s one for the big B.” (I don’t know what she meant by that).   2 1/2 minutes        Beavers

(00:04) Beavers are famously busy. They turn their talents to re-engineering the landscape as few other animals can. When sites are available, beavers burrow into the banks of rivers and lakes, but they also transform less suitable habitats by building dams. Feeling and gnawing trees with their strong teeth and powerful jaws, they create (00:31) massive log, branch, and mud structures to block streams, and turn fields and forests into the large ponds that beavers love.

 Dome-like, beaver homes, called lodges, are also constructed of branches, and mud. They’re often strategically located in the middle of ponds, and can only be reached by underwater entrances. (1:00) These dwellings are homes of extended families, and vuh monogamous parents, young kits, and yearlings born the previous spring. Beavers are among the largest rodents. They are herbivores, and prefer to eat leaves, bark, twigs, roots, and aquatic plants.

 These large rodents move with an ungainly waddle on land, (01:30)  but are graceful in the water, where they use their large webbed rear feet like swimming fins, and their paddle-shaped tails like rudders. These attributes allow beavers to swim at speeds up to five miles an hour. They can remain underwater for fifteen minutes without surfacing, and have a pair of transparent eyelids that function much like goggles. Their fur is naturally (02:00) oily and waterproof.


There are two species of beavers which are found in the forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. These animals are active all winter, swimming, and foraging in their ponds, even when a layer of ice covers the surface. (02:22) 5.05 minutes Porcupines 2 1/2 minutes Beavers

 Phonics: The Sounds of American English  From the University of Iowa. Mostly audio, but each sound also has video demonstrating making the sound.  This is great! Here is an example of the voiced sound /z/:

 Pronunciation Tip #1: Man, Men, Woman, Women (kunopresents) YouTube  good description of pronunciation of these words.

Pronouncing “w” and “wh” (onlinetutorforenglish channel)   no captions but examples for pronouncing

Real English  Each video lesson is marked by learning level. When you click on a video lesson, a page appears with more than one copy of the video. Usually the top video has no captions, but if you scroll further down you can find options for captions on other videos.

 Voice of America--Special English:


Word Stress—Lesson 6a by JenniferESL on YouTube  very clear video and speech about the importance of stressing the proper syllable.  Here is a link to her YouTube “channel” with lots more videos:


PODCASTS without video:

A4esl  Many podcasts. Slow speech. You can read a transcript at the same time. Beginning Level English Listening Comprehension Exercises    Short podcasts, slow speech. You can read a transcript on a separate browser tab.

 Aesop’s Fables:  This site has MANY stories (transcripts), those with podcasts are marked with a speaker icon. There are many more stories without audio, just text.

 (A) Cup of English (caution—British English)   Includes a daily podcast with  transcript and grammar notes (idiom explanations)

 California Distance Learning Project: Adult Learning Activities   This site has MANY stories with transcripts, those with videos are marked with a movie camera icon. (I couldn’t get the videos to work, only the podcasts).

 Diane’s ESL Podcast—POD-O-Matic  Podcasts without transcript. The first one I tried I couldn’t hear. Others were OK. Spanish English Audio Dictionary:  Select which way you want the translation (EN<>ES), then enter a word in the search box. Listing shows various uses of the word in both languages, with audio pronunciation in both languages.

 DynEd’s Podcast (Dynamic English / Voice of America)  Many podcasts without transcript or visuals “English language course, and introduction to American people and culture.”

 English Club Learn English: Pronunciation   Lists several free podcasts for English pronunciation.  Other resources available on main Learn English tab:

 (The) English  ESL podcasts from Canada for listening and pronunciation practice. Includes photo and transcripts. Also, there is a reference to private English lessons on Skype at

 English Listening Lounge  These podcasts are probably level 3 and up.  Choose a domain (American English), a level (New Listeners),  a topic, and a passage (subtopic). Scroll down and near the bottom, click on the word Transcripts above the text box. This will display the transcript for the passage chosen. Then scroll back up and on the right side click on the Start triangle to begin the podcast.

English Pond podcasts of common phrases with transcripts

 English Pronunciation Pod  Many podcasts for improving pronunciation, with transcripts available.

 ESL Business News  Podcasts for ESL news. Slow speech, no transcripts.

ESL FAST—Easy Conversations for ESL Beginners Podcasts with transcript.

 ESL Library  Podcasts for many lesson plans. This one is NOT FREE, there are several subscription rates, $22/3 mo, $33 / 6 mo, and $55 / 1 yr. For me, this was worth it if you are diligent and download as much as you can in a short period of time. Most lessons have associated podcasts. My student LOVES the lessons from this site, mostly the ones to do with various verb tenses.

 ESL Library FREE Podcasts  (no transcripts, just audio).

 ESL POD  Various podcasts designed for English learners. Speech is slow, transcripts are included.

 eViews   Various podcasts designed for English learners. Speech is slow, transcripts are included. Select a topic of interest from this link, and below the description, click the Here link. Then open the .pdf file which contains glossary, questions, lesson plan, and transcript of the interview.  Then open the mp3 file for the podcast.

 Feedburner (from Esmat Ahmed)

 Focus English: Everyday English in Conversation  Side panel has a variety of topics. Choose one, click on the Go button to reach the transcript page. On that page, near the bottom, is an icon to click on to hear the podcast.

Focus English: Conversation Starters  These are a bit more difficult than the English in Conversation. Pick a topic, formulate your own response, then listen to a sample response that they produced.

 Light Up Your Brain: Brain-Teaser Games and AUDIO STORIES for kids  Listen to podcast of children’s stories, and read transcript.

 Listen to English  British but understandable and very good. Transcript accompanies the podcast.

 Many               ESL podcasts with transcripts          podcasts for learning songs with lyrics text.           podcasts of jokes, with transcript.      ESL podcasts with transcripts.       Voice of America podcasts with transcripts.           Listen and repeat or read along American stories with podcast and transcripts.                 Listen to a story, then fill in the blanks          Dictation quiz. Listen, then type what you heard.

 Oxford University Press: Pronunciation  Choose a category,  then click on the pictures to hear the phonics pronunciation.

 Pronuncian_American English Pronunciation—Phonics:

This wonderful site uses MANY methods to help with pronunciation. They do offer paid subscriptions, but there is plenty here for free.

Here is the podcast section: It is a little cumbersome to actually get the one you want up and running.

Clicking on this link will take you to the link for the most recent podcast for this site.

The next step should be to use the search box in the upper right and enter the phonics topic you wish to explore, such as: “ed ending.” This will return you to the most recent podcast page, but at the top it will now list the number of the podcast for your topic, such as “Podcast #19: American English pronunciation of the ed ending.” You must still click on the “Listen Now” button for the current podcast, which will bring up the Podtrac Audio Player. You will then need to use the scrollbar on the right side to locate the actual topic you wish to hear, in this case, #19. Then you will need to click the square “start podcast” button to actually get it going.                Concentration game.   Turn over a card and listen. Try another card until you can match the sound.

Randall’s ESL Listening Lab:  Many activities. Web page is BUSY with ads, you have to look hard for the activities you want: 

Repeat After Us:  Online library and language lab. Choose famous poems or literature by genre, and for those that have been recorded (on the main list, the title is followed by: recorded), click on the title to play the podcast while you read the transcript.

Rong Chang’s English:  a variety of links.

A variety of listening links:       

A variety of pronunciation:       

A variety of podcast links:         

 StoryNory:  Fairy tales and original stories with transcripts. 

Train Your Accent:   LISTEN to authentic speech  Podcasts with transcripts. Also provides “reduced speech” transcript. You will need to open two tabs in your browser to read the transcript at the same time as you are listening to the podcast.


General Podcasts, OK for higher level students but not tailored for ESL:

 Aljazeera Podcasts Incudes text with highlighting on the phrases being spoken.

 Apple iTunes Podcasts:  If you already have iTunes installed on your computer, you can click on this link to open iTunes to the “podcast” page, where you can then select specific podcasts. Most are not specific to ESL, but there is a podcast site listed for “Language Learning,” which includes learning English. You can also click the “Podcasts” toolbar link within iTunes, at the top of the page, to locate even more podcasts.

 NPR Podcast Directory Links to National Public Radio podcasts.  . Just audio, no transcripts.

 PBS NOVA Podcasts Audio only, I did not see any transcripts. LARGE selection of podcasts by category of interest. For higher level students, not designed specifically for ESL. No transcripts.

 Podcast Alley  Interesting discussion, but no transcripts.

 Science Magazine  Many interesting science podcasts. Includes transcripts so you can read along while listening.


SPEAKING/RECORDING: For  English Language Learners, transcripts / captions:

Audioboo:  Allows you to RECORD audio and upload it to another site. Or, you can just copy the web address from the browser address line, and then paste the address of the recording in an email or other communication.

Busuu  You must “JOIN” to use the tools, but joining is free for a “basic” account. Indicate which language is your native language, and which you want to learn. You will begin a course of study with lessons presented to you. Some lessons include RECORDING lesson material. Your submissions will then be corrected by other members who are native speakers of the language you are learning. You can gain access to more advanced lessons by purchasing a premium account.

 English Central - Videos that pause, with text displayed, for YOU to RECORD what you just heard. Here is an example:

LiveMocha  You must “JOIN” to use the tools, but joining is free for a “basic” account. Indicate which language is your native language, and which you want to learn. You will begin a course of study with lessons presented to you. Some lessons include RECORDING lesson material. Your submissions will then be corrected by other members who are native speakers of the language you are learning. You can gain access to more advanced lessons by purchasing a premium account.

Sound Recorder: For Windows operating systems: Go to Start Menu / All Programs / Accessories and select Sound Recorder. You can RECORD your voice and paste the file into a website or into a document:  (this is a real recording, double-click to hear)

Spoken Skills Listen to short podcasts with transcript, RECORD and PLAYBACK your own voice! (Requires a microphone)

USA Learns: Create a free account, take a complete course from Beginner to Intermediate. Lessons include vocabulary, videos using the vocabulary, podcasts with transcripts, and opportunities to RECORD and PLAYBACK your own voice. This site was created by the US Department of Education and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

Vocaroo:      RECORD your voice and upload the link to another site for others to hear. (I actually prefer AUDIOBOO)

Voicethread:  Upload slides (best if PowerPoint or like) and add video and/or audio. Others can comment on each with video, audio, or text. Also can draw on the slides.

Examples of multi-page Voicethreads:

student comments on the John Steinbeck novel, The Pearl:  John Steinbeck novel, Of Mice and Men: Students describe how to say various phrases in different languages

Conjugate the verb, “To Be”:

Pronouns, made by a teacher, but very few people commented:

English learners saying the alphabet:

Mine, on pronouncing "-ed" endings: 

 Voxopop  Create or participate in a “talk group.” A subject is introduced with audio, text, and links, and you can study the topic, then respond with the Voxopop RECORDER.


 MISCELLANEOUS: For English Language Learners, transcripts or captions:

 American This page contains some tips and rules about phonics, as well as an interactive pronunciation chart at the bottom that has audio.

 ESL Aloud  Various podcasts, include transcripts. Each sentence is followed by a pause so the listener can repeat the sentence themselves. Each sentence is repeated twice. This site would work very well with a digital recorder!

 Fonetiks: American English Vowel Sounds   Click on a topic in the “American English” row, then move mouse over the sound in the left column. Or, Click in the column “More Pronunciation Practice.” Some of these are British English, some are not. Includes song lyrics.

 International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA)  Select a location, even down to a U.S. specific state, and hear the dialect.  It can take a little while for the voice recording to appear…

 International Okanagan College  MANY pronunciation tools. Videos and charts of minimal pairs. Videos showing the phonics of various sounds.

 Lingro  A toolbar that automatically translates the webpage you are on  to the language you desire…

 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary  Type a word into the text box, then click on the speaker symbol to hear the word pronounced.

 SitePal Text-To-Speech  type in the word that you want to hear and the avatar will pronounce it for you.

Read more…

After listening to many new English speakers, I have become familiar with some of the common issues that new speakers have difficulty with. One of these is the pronunciation of "-ed" endings, such as in past tense verbs. Most new speakers pronounce ALL "-ed" endings as two separate syllables, which is not always correct.

I have also been experimenting with Voicethread (  no www ) as a method of exchanging information and practicing audio. So, here is my first attempt at creating an English lesson using Voicethread. I hope many of you will add your comments to it, and will learn something new from it!

I'm trying to paste in some embed code so you can see the voicethread right here in the blog, but if it doesn't work or is too small, you can use this link to go directly to the voicethread site and use it full screen:

Hope it works!  



Read more…


Many of you use SKYPE and Audio Speaking Group and Karaoke Group to talk with each other, and practice speaking English. Has anyone tried the Voicethread website?


There is somewhat of a learning curve but would work VERY WELL with English learners. One person uploads a set of slides on a theme, and they can describe those slides and/or a task for the others, using text, audio, or video. Then as others sign on, they can all comment on each slide with text, audio, or video. Good practice!


Here are some examples:

Voicethread:  Upload slides (best if PowerPoint or like) and add video and/or audio. Others can comment on each with video, audio, or text. Also can draw on the slides.

Examples of multi-page Voicethreads:

student comments on the John Steinbeck novel, The Pearl:  John Steinbeck novel, Of Mice and Men: Students describe how to say various phrases in different languages

Conjugate the verb, “To Be”:

Pronouns, made by a teacher, but very few people commented:

English learners saying the alphabet:

Read more…