The Final Post

This will be the farewell post of the Speaking of Language blog on the Language Teaching Professionals site. I’d like to thank David Paul and all the members of the forum for the opportunity to write for the LTP community.  After four years and 45 posts, it’s time to move on.  I hope future readers … Read more

The Future of English

  This writing marks the 100th post in my Fun Facts About English series on the Kinney Brothers Publishing website – a goal I set almost two years ago.  I thought it worth sharing this personal milestone with all the LTP members.   Out of the world’s approximately 7.9 billion inhabitants, 1.35 billion speak English … Read more

English Day 4/23

  In 2010, the United Nations introduced an initiative dedicating one day to each of its six official languages: French (3/20), Chinese (4/20), Spanish and English (4/23), Russian (6/6), and Arabic (12/18). The language days recognize the importance of global communication through multilingualism and cultural diversity. The UN first celebrated English Language Day on April … Read more

Communication Series – A Closer Look

The Kinney Brothers Publishing Communication Series is designed to extend students’ skills and interest in communicating in English. The four-book series includes Stories For Young Readers and Dialogues For Young Speakers. The textbooks work in tandem to provide students with exercises in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Each textbook is detailed below with links for … Read more

Phonics Series – A Closer Look

A solid phonics program is the cornerstone of many pre-K through elementary classes. Focused phonics lessons and phonemic awareness improve pronunciation, listening comprehension, and give students the confidence to read and understand English. The Kinney Brothers Publishing five-book Phonics & Spelling Series is designed to teach kids the fundamental sounds and spelling of English in … Read more

Christmas Puzzles!

  It’s the time of year to start planning for Christmas parties! Like Halloween parties, I’m tasked with organizing a series of activities that are easy to set up and repeat over multiple days for dozens of classes ranging in age from wee little ones through junior high students.   Many games I use in … Read more

Dude! An Amazing History

Although this blog post was part of my weekly Fun Facts About English in October, the history is so culturally rich, I thought it worth publishing as one of my monthly educational posts.  The Kinney Brothers phonics textbooks featured in the image below are available through David Paul’s online ETJ Book Service.       On … Read more

Blank Game Boards

Growing up in a family with six siblings, there was no end of board games to play. I remember playing Candy Land and learning colors. Checkers and chess taught me strategy. Monopoly presented a world of real estate, property taxes, and banking. The Game of Life taught me about life insurance and the cost of … Read more

Halloween 2020

  It’s hard to believe it’s time to start preparing for Halloween. I hope you don’t let the holiday pass without celebrating, even if it means doing things a little differently.   I was thinking about Halloweens past. There is one that stands out most in my memory.   The fall of 1967 was an … Read more

50+ Flashcard Activities

    My first post on the Language Teaching Professionals blog site almost three years ago was 41 Flashcard Activities.  Since then, I’ve updated the list, added visuals, and am now making it available here as a free download.  The pdf file also includes activities you can do with student name cards!  With this collection … Read more

Spelling Bees – A Brief History

Though this post was intended to be exclusive to my weekly Fun Facts About English, I feel that, given the events happening in the United States in 2020, this bit of history is quite apropos and a story worth sharing more widely. As Americans, we are being called upon to acknowledge our racist past, join … Read more

Teaching Pronunciation – A Follow-up

  As a follow-up to my previous post, Teaching Pronunciation, I wanted to share with you some files I’ve been busily producing. If you missed that post, I offered up some free templates for making minimal pair flash cards and other pronunciation activities, plus some downloadable charts for your classroom. I’ll list them here again … Read more

Back in the U.S.A.

When I moved from Tokyo, Japan, my home for almost 25 years, I went from one of the most densely populated cities in the world to one of the most sparsely populated areas of the United States: Coconino County in northern Arizona. Located in the high desert on the Colorado Plateau, and favored by astronomers … Read more

Teaching Pronunciation

  As a teacher with limited class time, how can you best meet your students’ needs when it comes to pronunciation practice? With younger kids, if you teach phonics with a rigorous focus on phonemes, pronunciation is built into the program. In this post I detail some additional activities that you and your students may … Read more

Taking it Online

With the unexpected cancellation of classes, keeping your classes going online is a real option and the next best thing to actually being in the classroom. So, what platform do you choose? Google Classroom might be the answer for you.   Signing up for Google Classroom is free for personal use and a business account … Read more

Phonics & Spelling Series – Planning for 2020

  In the last post, I talked about Stories For Young Readers from Kinney Brothers Publishing and how to purchase the series for your classes.  In this post, I’ll focus on our Phonics & Spelling series.  I’ll provide links for purchasing and recommended support materials for each text to help you plan for new classes in the spring.  … Read more

Stories For Young Readers – Planning for 2020

  No matter the time of year, I get inquiries about the best way to purchase Kinney Brothers Publishing textbooks and downloadable resources.  You shouldn’t have to worry about getting the materials you need for your students.  We offer many options so you can make the best choices for your classes.  Check out these posts … Read more


In September, I mentioned that I’d been writing a weekly Fun Facts About English series, and my original goal was to produce 50 posts. This week, I’m at number 38 with a topic that I’m very pleased to re-encounter. I thought I’d share it as a regular post with some added personal history.     … Read more

Using Maps in Class

When I began learning Japanese in the early 80s, it was imperative that I learn how to ask for directions from the get-go – especially in Tokyo. Not only did I have to deal with my lacking sense of direction, I was also functionally illiterate as I didn’t know any Japanese when I first arrived. … Read more

Teaching Plurals

  In speaking exercises, I teach my ESL kids plurals early on, for the main reason that it can’t be avoided for very long when teaching even the simplest phrases, such as I like… or I have… Importantly, when I teach kids plural sounds, I’m also preparing them for future lessons using the same morphological … Read more
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