A suggested technique for improving English-speaking skills

During the course of a conversation partner appointment with a student of English at DePaul University’s writing center, my partner and I stumbled onto a suggested technique for improving English speech and recognition. Pick up an audiobook AND its corresponding print text, and follow along viewing the text while the recording pronounces each word for you.

In many ways, this technique mimics the way many of us native speakers of English first learned: following along as someone, maybe mom or dad, read the text to us. One problem of English is that many words are not necessarily pronounced as written (think “two” or “eight”), and hearing the word pronounced properly while the eye and brain register an image of the word, could really help retention of exceptional words.

If the book is interesting, so much the better. Also, audiobooks are performed by some of the greatest speakers of the language, people of perfect diction and wonderful emotive, interpretive skills. Who better to study with?

Here’s another tip: if you can find the audiobook and the print edition at your public library, you won’t spend a thing. Support your local library!