Interactive Stories Training Course – Lesson 4

Listen and Speak

This is the part of the Interactive Story where you can practice speaking on your own. To gain maximum benefit from Listen and Speak, it is important to pay attention to the points below.

Note: Listen and Speak was designed for two or more people. If you are alone, the only thing you can do is listen to the recording and try to repeat what you hear out loud. You can listen and repeat many times if you wish. This will help your pronunciation and intonation.

Important Points to Remember in Listen and Speak:

  1. One person (the storyteller) will tell the story and read the questions. The other person (the listener) will answer the questions.
  2. The storyteller should practice SPEAKING one sentence at a time, not reading. Therefore, the storyteller should look at the listener in the eyes when speaking. This is important for improving speaking. Otherwise, the storyteller is only getting reading practice. Go slowly!
  3. The listener should close his/her eyes when listening and speaking. This stimulates the imagination and makes the story more powerful and colorful.
  4. The listener should practice saying “uh-huh” or “OK” or “I see” when the storyteller pauses. This lets the storyteller know that the listener understands. If the listener doesn’t understand, then the listener should ask the storyteller for clarification by saying, for example, “I don’t understand” or “Could you say that again” or “What does that mean?” Here is an example:

    Storyteller: There was a man.
    Listener: Uh-huh
    Storyteller: He went in to a café.
    Listener: OK.
    Storyteller: Was it crowded?
    Listener: Yes, it was.
    Storyteller: He ordered a drink.
    Listener: Uh-huh.
    Storyteller: Was it a latte?
    Listener: What does “latte” mean?
    Storyteller: It is a type of milky coffee.
    Listener: I see. Thanks.
    Storyteller: So, was it a latte?
    Listener: Yes, it is.
    Storyteller: Uh-uh! That’s wrong. You should say: “Yes it WAS.”
    Listener: I see. Yes, it was.

  5. Whenever possible, the listener should try to answer questions in complete sentences. For example, if the storyteller asks “What color was the dog?” the listener should answer “It was brown,” not “Brown.” This is VERY important for learning to speak naturally, with correct grammar.
  6. The listener should also try to expand on his or her answers. For example, in response to “What color was the dog?” the listener can answer, “It was brown. It was a big, brown dog with white spots. It had short fur and small, pointy ears.”
  7. The listener should, whenever possible, try to have further conversation with the storyteller. This can be done by asking the storyteller a question. So, in the above example of the dog, the listener could ask, “Do you like dogs?” or “Have you ever had a dog?” Conversation is good for your speaking! When both the storyteller and listener are finished with a conversation, the storyteller can come back to the story by reading (speaking) the next line.
  8. It is possible to have more than one listener. In this case, the storyteller should practice asking questions to a single person with eye contact or by pointing to them or by saying that person’s name. Further conversation can be stimulated by asking another person, “What do you think?” or “How about you?”

Task #4
Download either of the following files containing the story text:

Get together with friend or group of friends, choose a storyteller, and begin Listen and Speak. The important thing is to have fun and use your imagination, while following the points above. If you do so, you will give your English speaking ability a great workout.

To find a partner to do Listen and Speak online, visit our Interactive Stories Partner Linkup Service.

If you have any questions about Listen and Speak, leave them in the comments section below. Have fun!

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