Rhythm/Stress/ Intonation

 Patterns of Rhythm, Stress and Intonation

Students’ Learning Outcomes

·         Produce in speech, appropriate patterns of rhythm, stress and intonation of English language by listening to stories and poems read aloud in class.

Information for Teachers

·         Intonation patterns:  The pitch of the speaker’s voice gives information or changes the meaning.
·         There are three basic pitches in English: normal, high, and low.
Ø  The normal pitch is where the voice usually is.
Ø  High is where the voice rises to indicate information focus.
Ø  Low is where the voice falls, usually at the end of a sentence.
·         Stress: When we put emphasis on a word or sentence it becomes a stressed word or a stressed sentence.
·         The importance of a stress is that the position of a stress can change the meaning of the word.
·         Notice the difference in: I can’t do this work! And: I can’t do this work.
·         A syllable is a group of letters that has one vowel sound in it.
·         Revise the previous lesson.
·         While teaching the lesson, the teacher should also use textbook where required.

Material / Resources

Chalks/markers, duster, board, chart, etc.

Worm up activity

·         Say this sentence aloud:
Sara can play the piano.
Ali is from Lahore.
‘Can’, ‘from’ and ‘is’ are unstressed and the vowel is very weak.
·         Revise the difference between stressed words and non-stressed words. Ask students which words in a sentence are stressed and which remain unstressed (i.e. principal verbs (walk, talk) are stressed, auxiliary verbs (is, are, was, were) are not stressed words.

Activity 1                         

·         Discuss with students that, in English we stress certain words while other words are quickly spoken.
·         Write the following sentence on the board.
I am your uncle.
·         ‘I’ is stressed. It means that ‘I am your uncle, not somebody else’,
·         I am your uncle.
‘Your’ is stressed. It shows that I am your uncle, and not somebody else’s uncle.
·         Ask the students to read different sentences taken from the textbook. Put stress on different words and notice the change of meaning.

Activity 2

·         Select a dialogue on any topic. Arrange a class competition and ask students to read one sentence each, in pairs. They should stress appropriate words to convey correct meaning. The best pair must be awarded with a star.
·         Ask the students to write the sentences in notebooks.
·         Give reasons for the best pair’s speech performance.
·         Encourage students’ comments on this too. Ask them if they agree with your decision on who read the best. If they disagree, ask them reasons for their opinion.

Activity 3

·         Read aloud a poem to the students.
You may choose one that they have already done. Read it by changing the intonation.
Encourage them to decide which intonation sounds better.
For example you may read Ba Ba Black Sheep, and read the second line ‘Have you any wool’ not like a question but like a statement. See if the students can notice the mistake and are able to correct it.

Activity 4

Write the poem on the board.

                                                                   Hickory, Dickory, Dock
                                                                   Hickory, Dickory, Dock,
                                                                   The mouse ran up the clock.
                                                                   The clock struck one,
                                                                   The mouse ran down.
                                                                  Hickory, Dickory, Dock.
·         Read the poem to the students.
·         When children read the poem ask them to stop on a full stop (.) and take a deep breath when a comma comes, let them take a short breath.
·         Use of this exercise provides children the training of pauses which is good for producing effective speech patterns.
Sum up / Conclusion
·         Ask the students read in pairs the poem written on the board and practice the rhythm, stress and punctuation patterns for five minutes.
·         Ask the students to read / recite and repeat.
·         Assess students through their responses in the class during the lesson by checking their pronunciation
Follow up
·         Practice reading these at home. Put stress on different words and note the change in meaning.
      I play football.
    They work nicely
   Ahmed goes to school daily.

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