This lesson is part of a series of one-hour lessons that will help students improve their prosody skills. Prosody, in short, is word stress, timing, and intonation. For an introduction to the series, click here.
Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: It depends on how much you already know about word stress. You may have to learn a little more before starting.
Materials: This Worksheet
Primary Objective: Improve Word Stress Skills
Other Benefits: Become familiar with some money expressions
5 Minutes Review what word stress is. Explain that today, instead of focusing the stressed words, you’re going to work on noticing the unstressed words.
15 Minutes Pass out this sheet. Read the full sentences from the answer sheet. Make sure to say the missing words with minimal stress. The students should try to write the missing words. Review the answers.
20 Minutes Put the students in groups and ask them to add to the list of commonly unstressed words. Ask them to try to make groups of similar words. Demonstrate by making a list of helper verbs (e.g. have, do, etc.) on the board.
Then, each student should come to the front of the class and write one commonly unstressed word on the board. Demonstrate the groups of words by circling the prepositions, underlining the helper verbs, and putting a square around the pronouns.
Write an example sentence on the board with one word from each group.
5 Minutes Have the students practice reading the sentences on the sheets in pairs.
15 Minutes Have the students write their own sentences. They should leave out or erase the unstressed words. Finally, they should read the sentences for their partner. The partner should try to fill in the missing words.
Extension Practice reading the sentences a final time, but use physical movements to reinforce the stressed/unstressed words. For instance, have everyone stand up. When there is a stressed word, they should jump. When there is an unstressed word, they should duck.
Notes: Just because a group of words is commonly unstressed, doesn’t mean they are always unstressed. Of course, lots of prepositions, pronouns, and helper verbs are stressed sometimes. This is all just a guideline.
Ideas for Homework: Students might watch a short clip of something and rewrite the transcript. They should underline the stressed words. (For example, they might watch a video like this, open the interactive transcript on the right and choose one paragraph for them to do).
These words are not usually stressed
Listen to your teacher read these sentences. Use the words above and other words to complete them.
1. I __________ never saved __________ __________ __________ money.
2. Don’t __________ think that __________ too expensive?
3. How __________ __________ usually spend __________ money?
4. This __________ __________ good price. You should think __________ getting __________.
5. __________ __________ usually find __________ good deal?
6. How much __________ __________ pay __________ __________ dress?
7. Who handles __________ money __________ __________ family?
8. He asked __________ __________ new loan, but they denied __________.
1. I have never saved a lot of money.
2. Don’t you think that is too expensive?
3. How do you usually spend your money?
4. This is a good price. You should think about getting it.
5. Do you usually find a good deal?
6. How much did you pay for that dress?
7. Who handles the money in your family?
8. He asked for a new loan, but they denied him.