Thursday, 8 March 2012

Breaking News English- News English with Interactive Exercise

What is it about?                                                                    

It's an amazing website. There are English lessons on current news. They are free and ready-to-print. Each lesson is quite complete, including before/while/after reading or listening activities. You can also download the audio files.The website is quite organized, and it's easy for you to see the files you can download and use. 
The database is quite large and updated every 3 days. The topics of the news is various and worldwide. You can find the news related to the topics you want by using key words to search within the website. There are also lessons arranged by themes, like environment, health, technology, or famous people and gossip. Besides, there are plenty of interactive exercises, including hangman, flashcards, fill-in-the-blank, matching, sentence jumble, crossword, no letters, missing words, etc. By doing these exercises, learners can practice the content repeatedly.

Why is it good to language learning?                                    
The lessons are news-based and suit students at intermediate level or above. Students can develop their vocabulary through the lessons and the exercises. The activities in the lesson also help students to develop listening and reading skills, like reading and listening for main ideas or specific details. There are also various kinds of discussions, which provide chances for students to communicate in English. Writing activities are also incorporated in the lesson, like finding collocations, making sentences, or writing a letter. 

How can it be used?                                                              
  • For the context that computers or Internet are not available in class, we can print out the worksheets to use. There are plenty of exercises in one lesson, so we might need to modify it to fit our class time. We also can choose different activities to use every time to create different interaction in class.
  • The lesson plans are very clear and designed in details. There is warm-up activities, like predicting the words used in the news, or discussing the topic. Various reading and listening activities are also available.  For example, synonym/phrase match, fill-in-the-blanks, discussion.
  • For classes with computers and Internet, there are motivating online exercises. For example, the one below is "missing words." We can ask students to read the news first and then play this game to see how much students remember or ask them to predict the words that might be used in the piece of news.

  • This website is also a great self-learning resource. Learners can develop their reading, writing, listening skills on line by themselves. Clear answer key is also provided.

What are the limitations?                                                     
  • Though the news here is not as long as the one on real newspaper, it suits students with intermediate or higher language level. Since the content is about news, some students who have no interest in news might not be attracted.
  • Most of the audio clips are recorded by the same person reading at the same speed, which is easier for students to be familiar with the content, but might give less chances for students to access to English with different accents and at real speed. 

More Information                                                                               
Here are other very useful websites conducted by Sean Banville, who set up the website Breaking News English:

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