Learn to think in English and speak with confidence
through picture stories
If you want to speak English with confidence, you have to think in English. To get there, you need a lot of practice listening to English speakers in everyday situations. The problem is how to listen and understand naturally without reading translations at the same time. Exploring English has the solution: CARTOON STORIES!
These “illustrated conversations” use action pictures to help you understand spoken English. More than words and phrases, the pictures help you understand English conversations. This is the easiest way to start thinking in English and there is a big advantage: you will develop your listening and speaking skills much faster. With Exploring English, you will learn very practical language that you can use in real life. In addition, the illustrated conversations are a great way to learn grammar and vocabulary in context. Just what you need to improve your English fluency!
Improve your listening and speaking skills quickly and easily through illustrated conversations
Learn grammar and vocabulary in context
Master the essential English you need to start communicating right away
Build fluency through frequent repetition and practice of common phrases
Record and compare your pronunciation to native English speakers
Practice your English communication skills anytime, anywhere
HOW IT WORKS
All of the lessons are based on illustrated conversational stories. There are six activities in each lesson. Working together, these activities create a powerful learning experience.
LISTENING Watch the pictures as you listen to the story. The actions, facial expressions and body language of the speakers will help you guess what they are saying. You will get the gist of their conversations even if you don’t understand all of the words. Guessing meaning from context is an essential listening strategy that you will find very useful in real life when you have conversations in English.
LISTENING & READING As you have done previously, use the visual clues from the pictures to guess the meaning of the sentences as you listen to the audio. Translations are provided in your native language, so you can check and make sure that your guesses are correct. With repeated practice, your listening skills will improve dramatically and you will be able to understand everyday conversational English.
QUIZ Each conversation is broken up into 12 mini-conversations. Read the text of each mini- conversation while listening to the audio. Then translate the mini-conversation silently, sentence by sentence, into your native language. There is a pause for you to translate each sentence before the correct translation appears on the screen. Repeat this activity and pick out all the sentences that you were unable to translate. Then review and practice unfamiliar words and phrases until you have a good understanding of the whole conversation.
SPEAKING Look at the pictures, listen to the audio, and mimic the words and phrases you hear. The pictures make it easier to understand and imitate spoken language. Imitating speech – without relying on a written text – is one of the best ways to develop your listening and speaking skills, along with proper pronunciation. In fact, your ability to imitate what you hear is a strong predictor of your success in learning to speak a new language. The more you practice, the better you get.
READING ALOUD As you read aloud each line of dialogue, try to match the rhythm and intonation of the characters in the stories, as if you were an actor. This will help you sound more natural when you speak English. To improve your fluency, repeat this activity many times until you can produce whole sentences without hesitating. This is very good training for anyone who wants to speak English with confidence and sound like a native speaker.
PRONUNCIATION Listen to the audio and read each line of dialogue out loud. Try to match as closely as possible the pronunciation of the native speakers. Then listen to both versions and compare your pronunciation to standard American pronunciation. Later, when you feel more confident, you can listen to the audio again and repeat what you hear without reading the text. With regular practice, you will learn to speak English naturally and with good pronunciation.
Exploring English really works!
Frequent interaction with illustrated conversational stories will enable you to learn grammar intuitively, understand and use many common phrases, and master the most important language functions. These are the essentials you need to speak English with confidence.
Each level contains 16 illustrated stories that show how basic grammatical structures are used in conversational English. As you watch and listen to the stories, you learn how different verb tenses are used to talk about events in the past, present and future, how adjectives are used to describe people and places, and so on. Repeated exposure to basic structures in context enables you to recognize patterns and understand how the language works. You develop a “language sense,” a working knowledge of grammar that carries over into your daily use of English.
One of the best ways to improve your fluency is by using chunks of language – common phrases and expressions – whenever you engage in conversation. Putting sentences together word-by-word takes longer because you have to stop and think about what you are doing. Native English speakers achieve fluency by using language chunks that they have used many times before without thinking about them. Memorizing rules of grammar and lists of isolated vocabulary words is not an efficient way to build fluency. You are much better off listening to, absorbing and repeating useful phrases that you understand.
Exploring English enables you to learn hundreds of common phrases and expressions in context through illustrated conversational stories. Each story is followed by a series of integrated activities that recycle the phrases and expressions introduced in the story. Repeated practice puts these language chunks – the building blocks of fluency – into your long-term memory. When this happens, you can recall ways of saying things and express yourself with much greater confidence.
Native English speakers use specific phrases for practical purposes, such as greeting people, introducing yourself, or starting a conversation. These are called language functions. Learning the phrases that are associated with these functions will make you a better communicator. The Exploring English program features illustrated conversational stories and a range of activities that provide many opportunities to practice language functions in context. This kind of practice will boost your confidence when you speak English in real life because you already know what to say – just like a native.