Fannysu's Blog

whatever you do , do it with much passion!

Struggling to Read ?

Posted by Fannysu Ret on April 18, 2016

Why is your child struggling to read? This is the first question I usually ask friends when they tell me their children are not doing well at school because they find it hard to read. This issue is something that worries parents, even more when they have the feeling they cannot do anything.

I myself  love reading, I know the importance of having good readers, I believe almost everything depends on it. In order to become better citizens we need to have fluent readers. Needless to say, reading is a process, but many children go into adolescence without having learn how to read. They struggle to read, they cannot decode messages. However , along these years I have learned that sometimes just by sitting four or five minutes next to a child and hearing him struggles with some sound, or just having a talk with him/her you can help them succeed in the reading process.
How? Today I ´ll mention just one case. Last year after watching this video on you tube, and after hearing a girl speaking, I become aware that she needed help with some sounds.She lives with her grandmother, and she told me she was really worried because the little six-year old girl´s  school teacher had called her that maybe she was going to fail as she couldn´t read.

How was I going to help her? I said I´ll make some minutes in my busy schedule for her. It was a beautiful Wednesday, I had finished my class, and instead of leaving I decided to stay some minutes to see if I could help her.

So she came in, we started talking,we watched some interesting videos for  kids on you tube. And then after two classes of trying to make her read and sing songs, Eureka! I realized that it was her speech mannerism which was preventing her from decoding.For instance, in Spanish we have these  sound “CH” similar to the first sound in the word Chicken. So the little girl instead of saying chinela-which is the spanish word for flip-flops, she would say “tinela”, and I became aware that mistake was preventing her from reading all the words which started with that sound. Beside, when reading words which started with “S”, she would also made the sound T. So that was very confusing. How did I help her? Following Adrian Underhill advice, I made her aware of the sound, I taught  her where she needed to put her tongue, I train the muscles with her, I had fun when teaching her making those sound. I call her parents and I told them how to help her. I made groups of words with her, I play games, I got her involved!

The outcome?
In just one month, having just nine hours of instructions, she had made a great progress. I still remember the feeling of happiness , when she could make those sound she struggle so much to produce.  She is in second grade now, she hasn´t failed and I´m happy to say that she can even read in front of her class!

Why am I sharing this? As a teacher we need to be listening to our learners, sometime little things help them grow, and pronunciation does matter, I firmly believe it goes hand in hand with good reading comprehension. Sometimes adjustments need to be done in orther to tackle with the L1 interference while teaching a second language.If you are interested you can learn more by visiting Adrian´s Underhill blog : Speech impairment

Let me know your opinion please!


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We are learned!

Posted by Fannysu Ret on April 11, 2016

Unhealthy learning is the greatest impediment to the health,happiness and success of (most) human beings! Because learning is involved in everything changing how we think about learning changes every thing.( The Children of the Code)

“I” learned to be “me”.


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Reading to Learn

Posted by Fannysu Ret on April 4, 2016

I love teaching, as I always say teaching is my passion! And on top of it all I enjoy when learners are engaged in what they do, always leaving the class with a sense of achievement. I´m always enthusiastic about the things I do in class.

I personally think every time students read  for pleasure, they learn much more. Because of that I always provide my students with opportunities to read, I bring stories which I find on line, stories used by native teachers . This week we are working with a story called “The Whistle”, it is incredible how much young learners profit from it. Some educators may see working with stories as teaching the hard way, it´s not how I feel, seeing students enthusiastic, thinking, bringing their own images to the words empowers me to teach more. Beside stories give the opportunity to be creative, to play roles, to travel back in time, to broaden our knowledge about geographical places and to become better speakers of a second language since more grammar can be taught in contest.

As I have wi-fi connections in my class and almost all students have a mobile phone, we usually make good use of the dictionary on line, it helps us with the pronunciation of new words which we may come across while reading a story for the first time.

Things I have taught and revised while working with The Whistle:

. I was able to revise and present the  past of more than 20 verbs.

. I was able to introduce wish (subjunctive) I wish I had…

. I gave students more opportunity to work with future will.

. I exposed them to present perfect and past perfect.

. The story also enable the learners to ask and answer questions using simple past.

. We also work on a hand on project,by making a whistle, it turned out really well, it was noisy but we had a good time. Students looked for ways to make whistles, by watching videos on you tube at home, then we shared ideas in class.

. We role played conversations based on the main character of the story.

. We learned more about Benjamin Franklin and about the place where they lived.

. Things I did in order to have them read many times the story: puzzles,games,handout with questions, team work and so on!

Summing it up, I firmly believe that reading stories is a path to growing in the language, stories can lead you to many other places. It can be time consuming at first, but after you get used to work with them it becomes easier.

Click on the link to read the story:

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Time Flies

Posted by Fannysu Ret on March 27, 2016

Read the rest of this entry »

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I’m Back!

Posted by Fannysu Ret on January 8, 2016

I used to have a good time here but lack of time along with some new technological devices made me feel a bit lazy. Happily I still have my blog, and it is waiting for me!! I’m back!! I came to stay!

Saturday 26th March- Feeling Optimistic

Here I am once again, the previous post was made from my mobile phone. Although I ´ve been using it for a long time, it is hard to  update my site  from it. I won´t give up, it´s more comfortable to do things from the mobile phone, I believe I can learn the tricks. I will learn how to manage it from my gadget so I can update my blog without being much time inside.

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I´ll have a Witch Day!

Posted by Fannysu Ret on August 20, 2014

It´s not Halloween! Just that I´m working with Winnie the Witch!

I love working with stories, I love reading! And Winnie the Witch is one of my favourite! I have great fun with young learners and what´s more relevant is that they profit a lot from reading it. We sang a lot and we also wrote a lot. All of them have learned the story.

In the afternoon I´ll go on working with it!
Have you ever read Winnie the Witch?

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It´s a wonderful sunny day here!

Posted by Fannysu Ret on August 3, 2014

Hi everybody,
I haven´t been here much.I know I need to make some changes to my blog. Many of the students that are here have grown up, not me,lol!!! But I´ve gained much experience under my belt and some weight too.Althoug it is not easy to be a mother, a teacher and a coach at the same time,I will never give up. Every day I take a little time to reflect about the things I do,the things I plan to do,what I´ve done so far, and why I do them.More than once I had to make changes. Hence, the changes were for the better, working less but always trying to give my best. Today it´s a wonderful sunny day! I know sometimes it rains a sunny day, but I will keep going. A voice is whispering me, it´s August, we are almost there, soon it´ll be November, it´s necessary to recharge batteries to accomplish the goals we have set for this year. My message to all my students and to everyone is set clear goals, be realistic, don´t let anyone interfere with your dreams, learn to prioritize, you can not have your cake and eat it, keep in mind that life is short, so be happy and make other people happy. If we join efforts we surely will always have more wonderful sunny days than rainy days. Keep smiling, hugs and kisses! Enjoy this wonderful sunny day and never give up!

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FCE Sspeaking Part 2

Posted by Fannysu Ret on October 22, 2013

You will find these videos really useful if you are planning to go for the FCE.

Remember in part 2 you are supposed to compare, contrast and answer one question about two pictures.

Find two differences.(USe linking words)

One similarity(use linking words)

Answer the questions.(support your answer)

Important: Use the English that you KNOW, YOUR English.Sometimes we want to use some expressions that we haven´t adquired well, and we end up making a lot of mistakes. I think the day of the exam we need to be calm and show the examiners OUR English. They are there to see if we are ready to go on.Be enthusiastic, communicate your ideas clearly, don´t rush. Do what you are expected to do. Contrast, compare and answer the question.

This video can help you a lot with part two.

Here you can see the whole exam.

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What should I do?

Posted by Fannysu Ret on August 7, 2013

Fill each of the blanks in the following passage. Use only one word in each space.

Dear Laura,

Five years ago, when I was a student, I was short of money. So once a week I used to go home to see my parents and get a decent meal. Although I had a good relationship with my mother I never got ……….(1)with my father. I could not live up to …………(2)expectations of me.

One day I did a …………(3)terrible thing. I stole some money from him.I ……..(4)started off by asking him if he ………..(5)lend me ten pounds. He refused saying he had ……….(6)given me enough and it was …………(7)I became more responsible with money. You know what it is like …………(8)a student.I´d run out of money and wanted to take a girl out. When he refused, I ………..(9)him of being mean and we had a terrible row. He left the house and I was ………..(10)angry that I stole fifty pounds from his wallet.

When he found out that the money was gone, he ………..(11)who had done it and banned me from the house. Since then I have returned but he has never forgiven me and still looks down on me for ……….(12)I did.

My mother is very upset and I really ………….(13)to work towards creating a happy relationship with my father for ………..(14)our sakes. Half of me wants to say `sorry Dad´while ………(15)other half still thinks he is ridiculous ………..(16)having kept this attitude up for so long. How can I bridge ………..(17)endless misunderstanding?

Andy H.

Thanks for doing it.

Here are the answers: 1)along 2) his
3) really
5) could
6) already
7) time
9) accused
10) so
11) asked
12) what
13) want
15) the
17) this

I hope you had almost all of them right.

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A Letter of Complaint (Sample 2)

Posted by Fannysu Ret on June 7, 2013

Read the model and fill in the numbered gaps with linking words or phrases from the list

Moreover, Finally,To begin with, because, Despite, although

Dear Mr. Canepa,

I am writing to complain about the service I have received from your company since ordering a jumper from your on-line catalogue on 15th June.

1) ……………., the jumper was not properly packaged. When I received it, I was shocked to find the jumper actually hanging out of the package,torn and dirty. 2)…………………I had been told that all parcels were well packaged.3)……………….,I was extremely annoyed to discovered that the jumper sent to me was not the one I ordered. 4) ……………..ordering a size 10 blue jumper(code 45689), I received a size 16 red jumper (code 45658).

………….., to make matters worse, the people I spoke to in your customer services department were very unhelpful. When I telephoned to inform them of their mistakes, the staff were rather unwilling to help me solve this problem,which surprised me 6) ……………your catalogues states that you have an excellent customer services department.

Please replace the jumper with the correct one as soon as possible and provide a full explanation for the poor service I received.

Your Sincerely,

Andreina Hasselman

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A Complaint Letter- Sample

Posted by Fannysu Ret on June 5, 2013

Dear Sir/MAdam,

I am writing to complain about the poor service I received when I travelled with your airline on 20th January. I flew from London to New York on flight TMS 106 and I was completely dissatisfied.

Firstly, the on-board service was very slow and careless. When I asked for a glass of water it took the flight attendant half an hour to bring one, and the glass she brought was dirty.

What is more, the flight attendant were all very rude. One split a drink on me and didn´t even apologise or help to clean it up. They were the complete opposite of the “helpful and friendly” staff you describe in your advertisement.

Furthermore, the food was awful. It was cold and tasted horrible.Again, this was quite unlike the ” delicious in-flight meal ” you advertised.

I am very disappointed indeed. I would like a full refund for the cost of my flight as well as an apology for the appalling service. I hope to hear from you regarding this matter as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,
(Lorna´s Signature)
Lorna Smith

I´m not the author of this complaint letter. I took it from an old English book I used when I was helping some learners to succeed in the FCE exam.

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Posted by Fannysu Ret on May 24, 2013

You accused someone of doing something.

You forgive someone for doing something.

You warn someone about doing something.

You arrest someone for doing something.

You discourage someone from doing something.

You blame someone for doing something.

You punish someone for doing something.

You prevent someone from doing something.
You convict someone of doing something.
You congratulate someone on doing something

Produce sentences make all the changes
that are necessary

1) Her employer/accuse/her/steal/money/
Example: Her employer accused her of stealing money.

2) Rose/blame/parents/not/bring her up/properly

3) His mother/punish him/be rude/to their neighbor

4) The lock/prevent/the burglar/ break into/house

5) The jury/convict him/murder/his wife

6) The shopkeeper/forgive/child/steal/sweets

7) His son/ be/arrest/sell drugs/ to teenagers

8) Her nephew/be/discouraged/talk/ the police

9) The judge/congratulate/police/catch/the gang

10)She warn/children/play/park/after dark

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Crime and Punishment

Posted by Fannysu Ret on May 24, 2013

Different types of crimes


What are the crimes described in these situations?

1) He threatened to send the love letters to Mary´s husband unless she gave him six thousand dollars._______________
2) An old woman has been attacked and robbed in the city center.
She is recovering in hospital.________________
3) Pablo gave the man $100 in return for a small packet of heroin._____________
4) Department stores lose millions of dollars each year through goods being stolen off the shelves. _______________
5) The telephone box had been smashed and there was graffiti all over the school walls.________________
6) Thieves broke into the house while the family was away on holidays._______________
7) It was a beautiful sunny day. Msny people were sitting outide the café enjoying the sunshine. Then the bomb went off.
8) “If you want to see your daughter again,put $50,000 in an old suitcase and wait for further intruccions.” _________________
9)The young woman was sexually attacked as she walked across the dark park late at night. _________________

10) He has been arrested a lot of times for stealing wallets.
11) The salewoman accepted his credit card, she didn´t have the slightest idea that it wasn´t his.


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Posted by Fannysu Ret on May 23, 2013

Read the information you copied in class and answer these questions

1) Where does Alex live?
2) Was he born in the USA?
3) How old is he?
4) When did he come to Uruguay?
5) Which was he dream when he was a child?

Complete these sentences using the following verbs in the past:

1) When we were children we __________on well, we used to live in the same neighbourhood.
2) He ____________ a language teacher last year, he loves teaching.
3) Susan was one of my best friends, we first __________in 1983 when we were in school.
4) Susan was very popular, she _________a lot of friends but I was her closest one.

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Vocabulary: Relationships

Posted by Fannysu Ret on May 21, 2013

Unscramble these sentences

1) get-well-on-I-mother-with- my-
2) got-parents-my-divorced-ago-years-two-
3) good-relationship-sister-with-have-a-I-my
4) best-got-friend-my-married-week-last-
5) keep-I-my-friends-in-with-touch-facebook-by-
6) spending-love-time-family-with-I-my-
7) had-lot-of-I-arguments-brother-with-a-my-yesterday-
8) sister-argue-never-my-with-I-
9) Jean-married-times-and-three- got-Bert-

It´s easy!

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Posted by Fannysu Ret on March 7, 2013

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

― Helen Keller

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Because of You -Lyrics-Kelly Clarkson

Posted by Fannysu Ret on March 24, 2012

Because of you- Lyrics

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break the way you did,
You fell so hard
I’ve learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it’s not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that’s weakness in your eyes
I’m forced to fake
A smile, a laugh every day of my life
My heart can’t possibly break
When it wasn’t even whole to start with

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don’t know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I’m ashamed of my life because it’s empty
Because of you
I am afraid

Because of you
Because of you

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Have your cake and eat it

Posted by Fannysu Ret on March 13, 2012

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Defining relative clauses

Posted by Fannysu Ret on June 11, 2010

Defining relative clauses(3): you can define animals and things with a relative clause beginning with which or that.

The grizzly bear is an animal which lives in North america.

The lowland gorilla is an animal that eats mostly leaves.

A book is a thing that you read.

A leaf is something which grows on trees.

You can define places with a relative clause beginning with where.

A forest is a place where lots of trees grow.

A desert is somewhere where nothing grows.

You can define people with a relative clause beginning with who.

An architect is someone who designs buildings.

The following video will help you a little more with relative clause.


Complete the sentences with: Who, which or where.

1) A town is a place …………….lots of people live.
2) The bald-headed eagle is a bird ………….lives in the USA.
3) A zoologist is someone ……………….studies animals.
4) An EFL teacher is someone ………………….teaches English as a foreign language.
5) A car park is a place ………………….you can park your car.
6)A calculator is something ………………..does calculations for you.

More Practise
Give definitions with who, that, where.

Example: a cinema
A cinema is a place where you can see films.
1) cinema/place/you can see films
2) dishwasher/machine/washes dishes
3)shop assistant/a person/works in a shop
4)hat/something/you wear on your head
5)photographer/someone/takes photos
6) desert/somewhere/nothing grows

Read the following article and fill in the gaps using who, which,where,and that.

Dian Fossey was an American zoologist ______________was also an animal conservationist. She wrote a book_______________describes her work with gorillas in Africa, called Gorillas in the Mist. The countries _____________ she lived for over twenty years had a large number of gorillas and chimpanzees. In 1963 she realised that the gorillas _____________she was studying were in danger from poachers. The poachers ______________ captured them were sending them to rich countries _____________people wanted animals for privates zoos. She also understood that she needed to replace the poachers ´s business with something ___________created as much money. So she organised photographic safaris in a part of Africa _____________few tourists knew. But in 1985 Dian was killed in the town ____________she had lived and worked for such a long time. It was probably a new generation of poachers ______________killed her.

Now give definition for the following words:

a bus driver a student a bus driver a language teacher

1)a newsreader 2) a raincoat 3) a dictionary 4)a city
5) a park 6)a garden 7)a garage

On your own. Think of words for people,places, animals or things and write simple definitions.

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