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TOEFL Tip #217: Any Digitized Text Can Be a Spoken Lecture

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on November 11, 2014

Some of our previous blog articles have taught you great note-taking techniques. But you have to practice them, and this requires that you to have a lot of lecture material on hand. But every TOEFL book and TOEFL website (yes, even ours!) has a limited number of lectures.

So where are you going to find more?

If you have already blown through all of Strictly English’s Listening Exercises and are searching low and high for more material to use, then look no further than that chunk of technology in your pocket because your smartphone (and your PC) can become a one stop shop for all of your listening material needs!

The secret is that all computers and mobile devices can read text to you! This function can usually be found in the ACCESSIBILITIES SECTION of your SETTINGS. We have included a list of helpful how-to guides and videos for the most popular pcs and smartphones at the bottom of this blog article.

So once you figure out how to turn on this feature for your particular device, have your computer become a lecturer! Not only can this make a variety of public websites (one great one is Wikipedia) into a treasure trove of interesting lectures but it provides you with the added benefit of being able to read along while it talks to you! With this, you can strengthen the connection between the sound of a word and the word itself.

Furthermore, considering that most TOEFL lectures are often not on the most interesting of topics, when the lecture if in your hands, you can decide the content that you find interesting to note-take on.

The good part about computers reading to you is that you can often change the speed of the voice. So you can start slow and, as you get better, you can speed up the voice until you’re listening at top speed!

But the benefits extend beyond your listening comprehension.

Having your pc or smartphone talk to you is that you can also use this feature to edit your writing. Often when you hear things read back to you, you can hear mistakes that you overlook when you read it to yourself in your head since listening comprehension usually develops far earlier in language than written reflective comprehension.

For example, You might write:
“I like flower.” and when you read it back to yourself, you say in your mind, “I like THE flower”. Your mind is making the correction and you’re not noticing the mistake. But if the computer reads:

I
Like
Flower

You’ll hear the missing THE immediately and you can go back and correct it.

Speaking device links:
IDevices: http://www.imore.com/tip-iphone-read-voiceover

PC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzWEhFPj7j4 or http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-ways-to-make-your-windows-computer-speak-to-you/

Mac/Mavericks: http://andynaselli.com/how-to-make-your-mac-read-text-aloud

So, go ahead, have your computer read this blog article back to you now!


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