A Timely Text: An activity for diphthongs

Make pronunciation practice fun and meaningful. Why wait until Halloween to use a spooky story? Try the following activity with upper level students.

Click here to view the Diphthongs_handout.

Step 1 – Write the key words on the board in the following manner and have students listen and repeat after you:

find                            boy                             owl                 climbed                nine

cry                              house                        time               voice                     brown

doubts                       joy                              noise              eyes                       shout

join                             tried                           loud               lives

Step 2 – Have students group the words above into three lists according to the vowel sounds: /aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ/.  Correct their work by having three different volunteers read the lists aloud, one list per student.


/aɪ/      climbed, cry, eyes, find, lives, nine, time, tried

/aʊ/     brown, doubts, house, loud, owl, shout

/ɔɪ/      boy, join, joy, noise, voice


Step 3 – Ask students to work in pairs. Give one copy of the text (see handout) to each pair of students. Explain that each paragraph has missing words and that all the missing words in one paragraph share the same vowel sound. They must fill in the missing words to complete the text. Each word from their lists will be used once.

Step 4 – Correct their work as a class. Have volunteers read 1-2 sentences at a time. Then do a final choral reading.  Completed text:

                                     The Eyes and Voice of a House

The brown house looked dark in the night. An owl hooted somewhere nearby. John had doubts about anyone living in such an old building. He began to walk past it, when he heard a loud shout.

The boy thought about running, but what if someone was in trouble? That was no shout of joy. The voice sounded scared. Surely help was needed. Should he go get an adult to join him? No. He had to act fast. Listen. Bang! Another noise.

John climbed the stairs to the front door and began to knock. No answer. When he began to knock a second time, there was a cry from an open window above. John stepped back and tried to see who was there. He saw a pair of yellow eyes in the window. They belonged to a big black cat. Did the cat need help? No. Didn’t they say all cats have nine lives? So when John heard a man angrily shout, “Go away!” he did just that. He did not need to find out who lived in that old house.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Gaya says:

    Great work!!

  2. Gaby says:

    Thanks! Your You Tube video and this link are helping me get ready for the RICA.

    1. I’m glad to hear that. I haven’t focused heavily on academic vocabulary or really addressed reading skills, but since all language skills are so closely related (for example, grammar and vocabulary), it’s true that my more advanced lessons can help you build a stronger foundation in general. Good luck!

  3. awesome..thanks 4 this

  4. i really like this.. helpful for my lesson plan..thanks

    1. I hope it works out.
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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