Improve your ability to speak English


M:   Stay low and bend your knees! Come over here.
B :   Yes, Coach?
M:   Jackson, when you’re playing defense, keep your knees bent and your body low. It helps you keep your balance. And it allows you to move more quickly in every direction.
B :   Like this?
M:   That’s right. You should attempt to stay on the balls of your feet. It’s like you are getting ready to pounce. Athletes never rest on their heels.
B :   Should I stand with my legs close together or far apart?
M:   It is best to keep them about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Spread your arms straight out at your sides.
B :   This seems almost like I’m getting ready to attack the ball.
M:   It is a little bit like that. Your stance looks much better than before.
B :   Coach, how do I move forward and backward on defense? I feel like my stance is fine, but
when I try to dart toward my opponent, I keep tripping over my feet.
M:   When you move forward, put your right foot in front of you, with your toes pointing in the direction you want to go. When you move backward, just reverse it: follow the direction of your left foot. How are you feeling?
B :   My legs are tired and my back aches.
M:   Playing defense is hard work. Take a break, then we’ll try it again.

The Importance of Writing

B :   This is terrible! I hate this assignment.
W:   What’s wrong, Timmy?
B :   I am frustrated because I need to write a book report, and I can’t get started.
W:   May I see your paper? There’s nothing here!
B :   I can’t think of anything to write, and it’s due tomorrow. To make matters worse, we have to perform an oral presentation in front of the entire class. I don’t see the purpose of writing a book report, anyway.
W:   Writing is a necessary skill that you’ll use for the rest of your life. This book report is just one way to begin learning that skill. It’s another form of communication and a means of expressing your thoughts. It allows others to understand what is in your heart and mind.
B :   I’ve never had to write before. Why should I start now?
W:   Now is the best time to begin. The best writers read a lot, and practice writing. Anyone can learn to write well. I know you can do it.
B :   OK, Mom. When you put it that way, I think I can do it.
W:   That’s the right attitude. Let’s try to organize some of your thoughts by brainstorming. What can you tell me about the book?
B :   The book? I’ve only watched the movie! Does that count?
W:   Oh, goodness! What kind of child am I raising?
B :   One that probably won’t be a famous writer! 

The Course Schedule

W:   It’s so difficult to choose what courses to take this semester. Henry, have you chosen all of your courses yet?
M:   No, Sue. I’m having a hard time making up my mind, and I still need to select two more. Do you have any ideas? Do you know anything about the professors?
W:   I heard that the psychology professor is tough but fair. If you work hard, you can get a good grade.
M:   Psychology sounds interesting.
W:   How about we both sign up for psychology? Then we’d be in the same class, and we could help each other with assignments.
M:   I remember the last class we took together. I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.
W:   Oh, come on. It would be fun. I promise I’ll attend the classes and not just borrow your notes this time.
M:   Thanks!
W:   I was thinking about taking film studies. Why don’t you take that?
M:   I like going to the movies, but I don’t want to study them.
W:   I know someone who took that course last year, and she said it’s very easy. Almost everyone gets an “A” or a “B.” And there is no homework.
M:   That is tempting, but I want to learn something useful.
W:   Fine, but don’t complain to me if you get a “C.”

Food, Family, and Fun

W:   Thanksgiving is a special family holiday in America. Families come together to give thanks for all they have. Although every family celebrates in slightly different ways, a typical Thanksgiving is full of food, family, and fun. My family celebrates Thanksgiving, too.
Everyone in my family goes to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving. We have a large meal.
Everyone helps on Thanksgiving. The children set the table. My mother cooks the turkey using her own secret ingredients. My father makes the side dishes. He makes potatoes, beans, carrots, stuffing, oysters, and beets. My mom makes cranberry sauce. My sister-in-law brings a pumpkin pie. I come early to help my parents cook.
When it is time to eat, we put all the food on the table. Everyone sits down. We each say what
we are thankful for before we eat. Some of us are thankful for our health, and others are thankful for their jobs. Everyone is thankful for something different.
There is a lot of activity after the meal. My aunt and uncle clean off the table. My sister-in-law helps me wash the dishes. The teenagers wash and put away the silverware. The children help to tidy the dining room. My brothers take out the garbage. Then they go play football in the backyard. The rest of us sit down and relax. We are thankful for the food and our blessings. Most of all, we are thankful to have each other.

The Project

B :   Hey Dad! Do you think you can help me out? I’ve just been assigned this enormous project at school, and I really don’t know where to begin.
M:   Sure Jason, I’ll give it my best shot.
B :   Oh, Dad, I know you will be a great help and inspiration to me.
M:   OK, OK. That’s enough flattery from you for one day. What’s this project about?
B :   Well, I have two choices. I can research a profession, or I can interview someone that I admire about their profession. If I do the second option, I must also add my own opinion about their profession.
M:   Well, I am an expert when it comes to my profession. Accounting is a noble profession and one that I am always happy to talk about.
B :   Dad, I know how much you love your career. It isn’t that I don’t admire you. But what I was hoping actually, was that you could speak to Mr. Chang, your diving friend, and see if he would agree to an interview. Diving for a living sounds cool!
M:   I see. That’s a great idea! You know how I really dislike talking about myself for too long. Let me give David Chang a call right now and find out.
B :   Thanks, Dad! You’re the best! I know this will be an awesome project!

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