Surf or serve? These minimal pairs help practice the difference, targeting the sounds while having fun with pronunciation. Print the activity sheet below for greatly interactive lessons.
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- Download and print the handout.
- Illustrate the difference between the two sounds. Emphasize tongue and lip position in addition to voicing (or lack of).
- Read aloud while students circle the correct picture. (Target: Listening)
- Use the minimal pairs in “Sentences” to illustrate the importance of the sounds in context. Ask students to circle the correct word. (Target: Listening)
- Have students work in pairs with “More Practice.” In pairs, one student reads while the other chooses the word that was elucidated. (Target: Speaking/ Listening)
- Confirm understanding of your lesson by asking students to read sample minimal pairs while you or the class selects the word that was heard. (Target: Speaking/ Listening)
If you haven’t used them before, minimal pairs are an excellent way to tackle challenging sounds in an entertaining way. They truly inject life into a classroom when used at the right time.