Hi guys,

Here's a CAE speaking test part 3 task (taken from Ready for Advanced, the book I never shut up about). 

My students recently asked me for help with it - they didn't really know how to answer the question. I said I'd try to record me and my girlfriend doing the task over the Christmas holiday, but my girlfriend was too busy eating scones and jaffa cakes to record something.

So, I'll write some ideas here instead.

In case you can't read it, it says:

Here are some things that schools can do to help improve literacy standards in children.

Talk to your partner about how useful these approaches might be in improving literacy standards.

And there are 5 bullet points:

  • inviting authors to schools

  • setting literacy tests at an early age

  • organizing regional writing competitions

  • campaigns encouraging parents to read to their children

  • providing e-book readers to pupils

I'm just going to type out a possibly conversation between Anna and Bob. This is just the first part of CAE Speaking Test Part 3, which lasts about two minutes.

A: So Bob, what do you think?

B: Shall we start with inviting authors to schools? I think that could be good. Maybe it would inspire the children to want to read more.

A: You're right, but some authors are more interesting on paper than in reality.

B: Oh, good point. That's a good point. There's a risk the students would meet some dusty old man with a quiet, mousy voice and think writers were dull. So you'd need to be careful to get the youthful, energetic writers.

A: Absolutely. But at least there's some upside to doing that. It drives me crazy when governments insist on testing kids. I mean, what's the point giving a 4-year-old a reading comprehension test? All you do is crush their spirit and make them hate reading for years! Don't you think?

B: Oh, yes. I loved reading as a child but we had to plough through so much... excuse me, garbage... that after University I was sick and tired of books! It took me five years to pick up another novel.

A: Right. I don't think literacy tests are good in any way.

B: So we agree on that one, too. What about writing competitions? Some children are competitive. Maybe this is a good way to get them interested in writing?

A: For some kids, sure. But not for all. Probably not for most.

B: No?

A: No, I mean, me for instance. I was very shy as a kid. No, really! There's no way I would have written something that someone else was going to read! The horror!

B: I see what you mean, I think. We have to think about the needs of all the students, not just the ones who strive to be top of the class.

A: I think the next one is much better. If you want kids to be able to read and write it's essential that parents are involved. My dad read to me every night and I grew to love literature. What about you?

B: Oh, my parents had no interest in books and no time to read. I started to like reading when I discovered comics.

A: Oh! So we have to teach parents it's okay to read comics to their kids!

B: Yes! I think even my dad would have found time to read some Lucky Luke with me!

OH MY GOD, my girlfriend just woke up from her winter hibernation! And she agreed to play the role of Anna in the conversation! You can listen to it by clicking on the following button:

You're welcome!