The Internet TESL Journal
The Daily Word web site is at docholliday.at.infoseek.co.jp (URL updated on June 20, 2005)
Note: There is now no telephone service.
When I was introduced to Daily Word, I was working for Aichi Prefecutre Okazaki Nishi Senior High School. One day when I was waiting, one of my friends approached me and recommended I dial 052-7694-6422 to listen to a telephone message called Daily Word. On that evening, I listened and found it very interesting. Since then I have been listening to it for more than ten years, so I would like to take this opportunity to suggest several ways of using it which can be useful in improving one's English.
First of all, I recommend you listen to it on a regular basis. I listen to it first in the morning after I get up. At first, I tried to tape each message and write down every word and sentence as I listened to the tape over and over. I find it useful for increasing my vocabulary and improving my listening ability. However, I found it very difficult to spare enough time for that practice. Listening to Daily Word on the phone, which lasts for less than two minutes, is the minimum. If your time permits, you can try many other ways.
One such way is to listen to the message for easy or difficult words. If you are in the early stage of English learning, you should focus on the content of the message and count the number of words you can understand easily. You may find each message made up of many difficult words, but don't get discouraged. The message, as far as I have observed, is not easy for junior or high school students in Japan. You should follow the general flow of thought, and try to increase your vocabulary little by little by listening. If you are an advanced student, you should try to find difficult words from each message. This is what I do now. When I am too busy with my work and cannot spare any time except the time of listening to the message, I count the number of difficult words which I cannot catch as I listen to the message. Later I study those words in the written message I sent for beforehand.
Another way is to summarize each message. After I listen, I try to sum it up in Japanese or in English. I also recommend this to my students, for it helps them improve their reading comprehension
Still another way is to write an essay on a theme dealt with in the message. For example, there was an interesting message for December 13, so I used the whole message in two ways. The message was used in an English writing class for third-year students. First, the students were expected to translate the underlined sentences into English. Next, my students were recommended to write a short essay of, say, about l00 words, on the theme of "Japanese students and their study".
Finally, I would like to mention the practice of reading aloud the message over and over again. Kunihiro Masao, a former instructor of an NHK TV English program, once recommended we read aloud an interesting English text over and over again until we can master it. He recommended we use an English textbook for the third year students of junior high school. Following his advice, I read aloud the textbook over 500 times. I now realized this content was too simple. The Daily Word, however, provides us with many interesting messages worth reading aloud even 1000 times.