Textbooks of reading material, or readers, improve reading and listening skills, especially when accompanied by the recording of the written material. This text is short overview of the listening problems, with the explanation why texts with recorded narration are useful. In addition, we will describe Macmillan Readers Series.
Listening problems in EFL
What are the problems regarding listening in language acquisition? We will use the list from an article Barriers to Acquiring Listening Strategies which states that major listening problems are:
- Lack of control over the speed at which speakers speak ,
- not being able to get things repeated,
- the listener’s limited vocabulary,
- failure to recognize the “signals,”
- problems of interpretation,
- inability to concentrate, and
- established learning habits.
Benefits of using Reader and recorded narration
By using reading materials and recorded narration, learners can address some of the problems. For example, the learners can gradually train themselves to read faster, they can repeat the recording when they like and as often as they like. Further, learners are not under pressure to know unknown words, as they can at their own time work on the text and then again on the listening.
The listening material is very important in dealing with the proper pronunciation, stress, accent and sentence rhythm. This is great way to acquire pronunciation, especially if learners can record themselves and then compare their own reading with the narration on the CD.
Introducing Macmillan Readers Series
Without any wish to promote it as the best available, we will in short describe Macmillan Readers series. The series consists of booklets with CD that contains recorded material spoken by professional actors. It is published at six levels, and each level has structure and vocabulary that suits learners’ ability. More difficult words are explained within text, or shown in the pictures. According to the publisher, the texts are “retold versions of popular classic and contemporary titles as well as specially written stories.”
The number of words is different at each level:
Starter, about 300 basic words
Intermediate, 1600 and
Upper, about 2200 basic words.
The readers contain a glossary and comprehension exercises as well. You can visit Macmillan Readers
on a bookstore site for further information. Feel free to suggest similar products in the comments bellow.