Saying words and phrases aloud has several benefits. First, it is 10% easier to remember items that you say aloud compared to items you read silently (MacLeod & Bodner, 2017). Second, practicing difficult to say words will help to improve your pronunciation and rate of speech. Third, you will gain confidence in your ability to communicate complex ideas as your memory, pronunciation, and rate-of-speech improve.
Try these five oral practice strategies to accelerate your learning.
- Five-finger drill
Whenever you have difficulty remembering words and phrases, use this practice strategy to help you remember them. Practice repeating them aloud five times. Count on your fingers as you practice.
Exercise: Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect. Practice makes perfect.
- Build from the end
This practice strategy is especially useful for improving your pronunciation of difficult to pronounce words and phrases. Repeat after your teacher. Start by saying the end of the difficult word or phrase and building it up, saying the last part first, and then saying the second to last part, and then saying the third to last, and so on.
Exercise: end, the end, from the end, build from the end.
This practice strategy helps to improve your rate of speech. Aim to speak at a rate of at least 130 words per minute. Repeat a word or phrase slowly, then faster, and faster. This will train the muscles in your mouth to move with less effort and concentration. Play close attention to the liaison before words beginning with a vowel.
Exercise: Could [d] you speak [k] English while [L] you [w] are [r] in class?
- Look up and say it
Use this strategy to train yourself to look at people in the eye when you speak, instead of looking at your notes or textbook. First, look down at your book or paper to read a sentence silently to yourself, and then look up and say it to your partner. Do not look at your paper while you are saying it.
Exercise: Just like you. I care about my health, the health of my family, and the health of my friends and neighbours. I’m not an expert, but I have done some research on this subject, so I’m confident that I have my facts straight. I am a college student. I know how to research a topic and always check my sources for reliability. What’s more, I have worked at a fast-food restaurant for the past 5 years, so I have seen firsthand how fast food is prepared.
No problem. Here is a short video in French that you can show your students. I hope it helps.