Five Tools for Teaching Pronunciation

1.  Always use familiar symbols.

Avoid symbols like “&” and “@”, as well as abbreviations.

Most learners are not familiar with the International Phonetic Alphabet or dictionary symbols, so those symbols may not be meaningful.

2.  Echo the student. 

Before your student can reproduce the sound, she needs to be able to hear it.You can model the difference by echoing what you hear the student saying and contrasting it with the correct pronunciation.Try asking her to try again after you say it a few times.

Tutor: I hear “how,” Now say “house.”

I hear “thirty." Now say “thirteen.”

I hear “cee-vil.” Now say “ci-vil.”

3.  Listen, listen some more, then repeat.

When introducing new vocabulary, be sure to spend time on the pronunciation of the individual words and sounds.

Encourage students to listen several times before repeating.

Point out words they already know that have the same sound.

The new word is “bird."  The “ir” sounds like the grouping of ir, er, and ur in first, nurse, father.

4.  Break words down into parts.

Clap or tap on the table to distinguish syllables, or clap only on the stressed syllable.

Example: Mi-ssi-ssi-ppi

5.  If you observe that a student can say a sound in some words, but not in others, point this out to the student. For example, remind your student that he can produce a sound when it appears in the middle of a word and now he needs to put that same sound at the beginning of the new word.

Tutor: You can say “v” in the word “stove.” Now try to say “very.”

"Give me a very hot stove!"

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