LearningEnglish.voanews.com is a site that provides engaging and interesting content based on news and information. Special English is “special” because stories are read at a slower rate of speech than regular VOA English programs. Also, the stories are written at the intermediate and upper-beginner level, and in some cases at lower levels. The content changes regularly. There is something for everyone of all ages and fields of interest, whether learning or teaching English. Additionally, users can access content on foreign policy issues to review, discuss, or debate.
Explore the site! Regular use of Learning English will help teachers and learners use and improve their English, while learning about a broad range of topics, in an innovative and creative way.
1. Go to http://learningenglish.voanews.com/
2. Choose a story that is relevant and interesting to your learners or related to your curriculum.
3. Read and listen to the story. It may take a moment to explore how to listen and read the story at the same time. (Print the story or cut and paste the text to a word processing document to be able to make copies or work with it offline in a classroom setting.)
4. Decide what activities go best with the story or for your class. Activities like discussion groups, giving speeches based on the topic, vocabulary study, and word games are some of the many options.
5. Now try the YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/voalearningenglish). How can you best use this resource? Over 1,000 short captioned videos on many different subjects are available.
6. Gather participants to use the material. Take this opportunity to preview ECA’s American English website (http://americanenglish.state.gov/) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanEnglishatState) as resources to use. Ask participants to "like" the Facebook page. This will give you a way to organize activities in advance of the arrival of Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur products, integrating these into American Spaces and other venues.
7. Organize a lesson around a Special English story. You may wish to focus on the story itself, reactions to it, or aspects of the language presented in it. This is a good way to work in foreign policy topics and promote discussion as relates to learners’ lives.
8. Let students work online or explore how they can use the stories working from their mobile devices or CDs you burn for this purpose (or on computers where you have downloaded a number of text/audio files.)
9. You or your participants may be able to take part in a Skype call-in show with VOA in Washington. Watch the VOA Learning English Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/voalearningenglish) for details.