Where has summer gone? I am writing this on July 31st and cannot believe preK-12 schools, SMSU, and other area colleges and universities will soon be starting academic year 2015-16. Today I opened an email from a resource we often use, ESL Library, and read that August is “Audio Appreciation Month.”
I have not yet tracked down the origin of this monthly recognition but did discover many libraries and music-related sites use this time to highlight audio resources. The Audio Publishers Association celebrates June as “Audiobook Month” while the American Speech – Language – Hearing Association (ASHA) celebrates May as “Better Speech and Hearing Month.”
Speaking and listening are essential to learning any language. Our adult EL learners enjoy opportunities to combine reading with listening, so we have them use News for You online and make use of BBC Learning English, Minnesota Public Radio News, NPR , and numerous other sources of online audio and podcasts. The Marshall-Lyon County Library and other public libraries have audio books for all reading levels and computer and Internet access for those who do not have this readily available.
We strongly encourage our tutors to integrate speaking and listening tasks and activities into their lessons. Most of our tutors are not trained professionals in speech and hearing, but we ask them to be aware of any possible speech or hearing issues that could affect learning. ASHA has a great campaign called Identify the Signs with resources to help parents and others know some signs that could indicate a speech-language disorder and/or hearing loss.