Month: diciembre 2014

Cómo mejorar la pronunciación a través de la lecturas con audio

Para aquellos interesados en reforzar tanto vocabulario como compresión oral os recomiendo una lectura graduada adaptada a vuestro nivel. Realizar una primera lectura sin escuchar el audio, para así poder centraros en la trama y el vocabulario nuevo.

Tras esta primera lectura, os recomiendo una segunda lectura escuchando el audio al mismo tiempo, de esta forma podéis asociar la pronunciación que oís a la forma escrita. Aunque no parezca algo muy importante, es un ejercicio fundamental para mejorar la comprensión auditiva, ya que muchas veces los alumnos reconocen perfectamente el significado y uso de una palabra al verla en un texto pero desconocen por completo su correcta pronunciación y por lo tanto les resulta muy difícil comprender un diálogo oral.

El primer paso para pronunciar correctamente es establecer la conexión entre la forma oral y la escrita. Por último os recomiendo realizar una tercera lectura, escuchando el audio y leyendo en voz alta el texto. De esta forma incluimos el ejercicio de expresión oral prestando atención a la correcta pronunciación y entonación. Este último ejercicio se puede repetir tantas veces como se desee.cathat


My Favourite Christmas Books

Here is a list of some of my favourite Christmas Books…


“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! / Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Like the Skin Horse, Margery Williams understood how toys–and people–become real through the wisdom and experience of love. This reissue of a favorite classic, with the original story and illustrations as they first appeared in 1922, will work its magic for all who read it.velveteen

Illustrated in full color, this is a wordless story. The pictures have “the hazy softness of air in snow.” A little boy rushes out into the wintry day to build a snowman, which comes alive in his dreams that night. The boy invites him home and in return is taken on a flight high above the countryside.

The Snow Queen is a story about the strength and endurance of childhood friendship. Gerda’s search for her playmate Kay–who was abducted by the Snow Queen and taken to her frozen palace–is brought to life in delicate and evocative illustrations.

Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure dad sets up the tree, wait for Santa, watch mom make the Christmas dinner, wait for Santa, oversee the care with which the stockings are hung and, of course, OPEN HER PRESENTS! Do you see how hard it is to be so helpful during the holidays?

Meet Jack Skellington. He’s in charge of making Halloweenland the coolest creepy place around. But when Jack suddenly grows bored with tricks and treats, he goes searching for new ways to celebrate…and he finds them in Christmas Town! Christmas, Jack decides, is just what Halloweenland — and the world — needs!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children’s book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.

As the story starts off, a young boy, who used to adore Christmas, hears a train whistle roar. To his astonishment, he finds the train is waiting for him. He sees a conductor who then proceeds to look up at his window. He runs downstairs and goes outside. The conductor explains the train is called the Polar Express, and is journeying to the North Pole. The boy then boards the train, which is filled with chocolate and candy, as well as many other children in their pajamas.



Passing the speaking part of the Cambridge Exams (FCE, CAE, CPE levels)


For the last four years I have been preparing students for the speaking part of the Cambridge Exams. I have outlined below many of the problems that students encounter:

1. Grammatical Errors:
Nerves take a toll on students and the even basic grammar rules are bypassed. BE CAREFUL with verb tenses. In upper-level exams these errors are very critical.

2. Connectors:
These words must become part of everyday language and not remain as memorized vocabulary. A connector embellishes language and keeps the conversation flowing. Practice using these words in writing and everyday speech. They are essential.

3. Vocabulary Level:
In upper-level exams, the students must use vocabulary for the level. For example:
In a FCE exam it is not enough to say:
“The man is wearing a jacket and looks happy.” (B1 level)
instead of
“ The man is wearing an elegant jacket and seems confident in the situation.”

4. Listening:
It is possible that you might not understand the question that the examiner has asked you. That’s OK, you can counter or buy time by phrases such as:
“I’m not sure what you mean?” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite understand the question?”
If you are working with a partner on a dialogue I cannot express how important it is to LISTEN to your partner. The dialogue is supposed to be a natural conversation and if you are only focusing on the next picture the entire exercise seems strained.

5. Pronunciation :
There are many free apps available on the internet if you need to practice specific words. It doesn’t matter what English accent you choose to emulate, but it must be consistent. Be careful with the vowels and the –ed endings.

Weeks before the exam you should be practicing the speaking section almost every other day so that when the exam date arrives, it should be almost automatic. You can record your voice at home and detect your mistakes if you don’t have the opportunity to practice with a teacher.


Nuevo formato en el FCE speaking part 3!!

What’s in the FCE Speaking paper part 3?

If you’re taking the exam in December, you will be given a task to discuss together for 3 minutes, based on a set of pictures. You should try to reach a conclusion together, but there is no right or wrong answer to the task, and you don’t have to agree with each other. IT IS THE INTERACTION BETWEEN YOU THAT IS IMPORTANT

Sin título

In the updated exam (for exam sessions from January 2015), you will be given a task to discuss together for 1-2 minutes, based on written instructions and prompts. You then have 1 minute to try and reach a decision together. (You don’t have to agree with each other)

Sin título2


Exámenes de Cambridge por ordenador

Aunque muchos alumnos lo desconocen desde hace unos años se ha implementado el formato digital para la mayoría los exámenes de Cambridge English. De esta manera los alumnos pueden realizar los mismos exámenes que se realizan en papel pero a través de un ordenador. Dentro de las ventajas del formato digital la más importante es la reducción del tiempo de espera para conocer el resultado (solo dos semanas tras realizar el examen) y por tanto obtener la certificación. El sistema es sencillo, presenta un temporizador que permite al alumno saber en todo momento el tiempo exacto del que dispone y un contador del número de palabras para la prueba de writing. Las respuestas se pueden editar en la pantalla durante el examen y se pueden realizar notas sobre el texto. Por último otra gran ventaja de este formato es el uso de auriculares para la prueba de listening lo que evita interferencias o problemas de sonido, ya que se puede ajustar el volumen según la necesidad de cada alumno.

Este formato está recomendado para aquellos candidatos que se sienten más cómodos trabajando con un ordenador y sobre todo necesitan obtener el certificado más rápido.

Los alumnos interesados pueden probar el formato digital realizando uno de los exámenes modelo que podéis ver en la web de Cambridge English