Effective Writing = Organization

Emily,  Level 5 Writing Instructor

Emily, Level 5 Writing Instructor

Many students wonder how to make their writing more effective, and the answer is quite simple: O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N-!

Yes, organization is a fundamental component to the writing process. In order to write an effective essay, it’s important to first choose the proper method of organization. This sounds easy, but different types of essays have different types of organization.

For example, let’s review one of the basic types of essays—cause-effect. In our Advanced Writing and Grammar class, we have spent time researching the basic organization methods for cause-effect essays: “focus-on-effects” and “focus-on-causes.” These two methods are suitably named because one focuses on effects and, indeed, one focuses on causes.

Focus-on-effects: analyzes the ways in which numerous effects result from one cause

Focus-on-causes: analyzes the ways in which numerous causes lead to one effect

So, let’s say that you needed to write a cause-effect essay about the picture above. If you were to use the focus-on-effects method, you could focus on the results of the boy receiving a shot.

  • Cause: receiving a shot
  • Effect 1: tears
  • Effect 2: pain
  • Effect 3: fear

However, if you were to use the focus-on-causes method, you could write about several causes of the boy crying.

  • Effect: the boy is crying
  • Cause 1: he is in pain
  • Cause 2: he is scared
  • Cause 3: he is confused

As you can see, writing an effective cause-effect essay is as easy as pie. Just choose your method and start organizing!


Nat King Cole

Emily,  Level 3 Reading and Discussion Instructor

Emily, Level 3 Reading and Discussion Instructor

During the month of February, America celebrates Black History Month, which is a celebration of African-American culture and customs. This nationwide celebration was created in 1962 as Black History Week, but the week was extended into a month in 1976. Our class has discussed numerous influential African-Americans such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.; however, we focused our discussion mainly on a legendary musician, Nat King Cole. In honor of this revolutionary artist, we read Nat King Cole: An Unforgettable Life of Music. 

natkingcoleNat King Cole was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up to revolutionize music. Though he began his career in jazz, he eventually transitioned to pop music. Our class thoroughly enjoyed learning about Nat’s interesting life, and I hope you take the time to do the same.

Language Assistance Program (LAP)

Emily,  Level 2 Listening and Speaking Instructor

Emily, Level 2 Listening and Speaking Instructor

I am very excited to announce that we will be participating in the Language Assistance Program (LAP) this term in our Listening and Speaking course. In this program, Auburn University Montgomery students from the School of Nursing will be sitting in our class every Tuesday. These students will be helping our ESL students with daily class activities, pronunciation, and conversation skills. For our first week of LAP assistance, our class will be holding Conversation Circles. Essentially, Conversation Circles are mini conversations that encourage students to practice their English communicative ability. I have provided a list of topics that our class will work through during this term. I hope you guys enjoy!

Emily’s Level 2 Listening and Speaking: Conversation Circle


-Introduce yourself to your partners.

Topic #1: Food

  • What’s your favorite food in your country? Describe how to make it.
  • What are your favorite foods here in the United States? Are there any foods here that you don’t like?

Topic #2: Holidays

  • What are the most important holidays in your country? How do people celebrate them?
  • Which holiday is your favorite? Why?
  • Do you celebrate any American holidays? Which one do you like best? Why?

Topic #3: Landmarks

  • Describe a famous landmark or attraction in your country.
  • If I’m going to your country on vacation, what should I be sure to see and do?

Topic #4: Children

  • In your country, what role do children play in the family? Do they do household chores or help families earn money?
  • Should teenagers work at paying jobs, or focus entirely on school?
  • Do children in your country help make any family decisions?
  • How do you think children’s lives are different in the United States?

Topic #5: Relationships

  • Describe dating customs in your country. What’s appropriate? What’s not?
  • How is dating different in the United States?
  • How do people celebrate weddings in your country? Describe a wedding you attended — your own or someone else’s.

Topic #6: Vacations

  • What’s the best vacation you ever took? Where did you go? What did you do?
  • If you had unlimited time and money for a dream vacation, where would you go?

Topic #7: Jobs

  • What’s the best job you ever had? Why was it good?
  • What’s the worst job you ever had? Why was it bad?

Topic #8: Hobbies

  • What do you like to do when you’re not working?
  • Do you play any sport?
  • What’s the most popular sport in your country? Is it popular here?

Topic #9: Household

  • When you were growing up in your country, what chores did your parents do?
  • Did your mother and your father do different chores? Which chores were for men and which for women?
  • Do people still have to do those chores now? Why or why not?

Topic #10: Future

  • Are you in school?
  • What is your major?
  • What are your plans for the future?

Sources: LETC Teachers’ Corner

conversation partners

Book Club Begins February 5th

Emily, Book Club Sponsor

Emily, Book Club Sponsor

The English Book Club is very excited to invite all students currently enrolled in Intensive English classes at levels 3, 4, and 5. Come join us as we read, discuss, and have fun!

We will begin this term by reading Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” We hope to see you there!

Book Club Spring-1 2013

February 5th Book Club Reading

Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

Simplified Version: “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”
You can read and listen to the story at


Pronunciation Practice

During this term in Listening and Speaking, our level one class has focused on common problems with pronunciation. Through repetitive practice of certain word sounds, our class has definitely improved our pronunciation! We are excited to share some helpful methods of pronunciation practice that we have enjoyed this term.

1. Minimal Pairs:

Sound 1: /i:/                       Sound 2: /I/

Heel                                       Hill

Sleep                                     Slip

Leave                                    Live

Reach                                    Rich

Sheep                                   Ship

Sound 1: /ʃ/                        Sound 2: /tʃ/

Ship                                       Chip

Sheer                                    Cheer

Share                                    Chair

Wash                                     Watch

Sheet                                    Cheat


2. Sentence Use:

Is that the (bell/bill)?

The green (heels/hills) are very high.

Jim wants to (sail/sell) his boat.

Go get the (pen/pan).

She (left/laughed) after the speech.

There is a (bag/bug) on the chair.

3. Tongue Twisters: 

Suzie sold seashells down by the seashore.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.

Roberta ran rings around the Roman ruins.

If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?

Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.

4. Top 10 Pronunciation Tips from rediff.com:

 i. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well and try to imitate them.

When you are watching television, observe the mouth movements of the speakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm of their speech.

ii. Until you learn the correct intonation and rhythm of English, slow your speech down.

If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, native speakers will have a hard time understanding you.

Don’t worry about your listener getting impatient with your slow speech — it is more important that everything you say be understood.

iii. Listen to the ‘music’ of English.

Do not use the ‘music’ of your native language when you speak English. Each language has its own way of ‘singing’.

iv. Use the dictionary.

Try and familiarize yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary. Look up the correct pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say.

v. Make a list of frequently used words that you find difficult to pronounce and ask someone who speaks the language well to pronounce them for you.

Record these words, listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and read at the same time.

vi. Buy audio books.

Record yourself reading some sections of the book. Compare the sound of your English with that of the person reading the book on the tape.

vii. Pronounce the ending of each word.

Pay special attention to ‘S’ and ‘ED’ endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English.

viii. Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes every day. 

Research has shown it takes about three months of daily practice to develop strong mouth muscles for speaking a new language.

ix. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes. 

Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making.

x. Be patient.

You can change the way you speak but it won’t happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it.

Emily, Level 1 Listening & Speaking Instructor

Emily, Level 1 Listening & Speaking Instructor

An Entertaining Way to Study English

If you ever want a fun, easy, and entertaining way to study English, AUM’s level 2 reading class recommends propping your feet up, popping a bowl of buttery popcorn, and watching a movie in English.

This week our class has been discussing movies and the increasing trend of computer generated imagery (CGI). By using CGI, filmmakers create characters that are otherwise left to the imagination. We took a poll of our favorite movies and were surprised to see that some of our favorite characters were brought to life by CGI! Some of these characters can be found in movies such as:

The Lord of the Rings


Star Wars

Pirates of the Caribbean


As you can see, CGI characters are taking over the entertainment industry. Our class discussed the possibility of these characters completely taking over the jobs of actors and actresses. Can you imagine a world without Brad Pitt? Our class voted that movies just wouldn’t be the same.

So, which do you prefer?






Here’s a clip to Emily’s favorite CGI enhanced movie:

Emily, Level 2 Reading & Discussion Instructor

Fall-2 Book Club

Auburn University Montgomery’s ESL Program is proud to host ESL BOOK CLUB! This club is open to all ESL students currently enrolled in the Intensive English Program at levels 3, 4, and 5. We will be meeting every Monday from 2:45pm to 4:15pm.

This term’s theme is “flash fiction,” so we will be reading short stories from the highly acclaimed anthology, Flash Fiction Forward:

Image: BetterWorldBooks.com

After publication of the first Flash Fiction anthology over a decade ago, “flash” became part of the creative writing lexicon for readers, writers, students, and teachers. In this follow-up collection, the editors once again tackle the question: “How short can a story be and truly be a story?” Determined to find the best flashes from America in the twenty-first century, James Thomas and Robert Shapard searched everywhere for stories that were not merely good but memorable. Moving, and certainly unforgettable, this collection includes stories from the best and most popular fiction writers of our time, including Ron Carlson, Robert Coover, Steve Almond, Amy Hempel, A. M. Homes, Grace Paley, and Paul Theroux. In addition, Rick Moody properly defines armoire, Lydia Davis delves into a world of cats, and Dave Eggers explores narrow escapes. Over and over, these stories prove that often less is more.

Book Club Sponsor