ACCENT & PRONUNCIATION TRAINING RESOURCES
As a teacher, finding quality resources for your accent and pronunciation training toolkit can be challenging, so I'm sharing my top picks of products and services that have positively impacted my business.
From time-saving software to effective materials for your students, these curated options will take your practice to the next level.
These are products and services that I currently use or have researched and tested before adding them to this list.
Need a more personalized action plan for teaching or finding students? Set up a private consulting session!LEARN MORE
TEACHER TRAINING COURSES
The Accent Channel Method Teacher Training Program
This one-of-a-kind online program is not only dedicated to teaching techniques but also to building your own successful accent training business.
You'll gain practical experience in developing programs while having access to over 300 downloadable audio lessons, session activities, and practice sheets to share with your students.
Plus, you'll get personalized support from an active community of teachers who have been exactly where you are. You'll get support and guidance as you develop your teaching and marketing skills.
There is a full course devoted completely to marketing your services and setting up a predictable selling system so you'll see consistent new enrollments and sales.
Everything you need to find students, start teaching, and build a new stream of revenue.
This is the program that I developed, so maybe I'm a little biased? So, click here to see what my students have to say about the program!
If you are looking to learn how to do a formal, structured assessment, and gain knowledge on all the sounds of the IPA, this course will give you all of that.
Where I felt it was lacking was the marketing aspect and didn't really offer many practical tips for implementing an accent training program. I learned a lot, but didn't know how to use what I learned. There was also not much discussion about stress, rhythm, and intonation, which I feel, is one of the most important concepts of accent work.
But if you are already working with students and want to deepen your knowledge of accents and English pronunciation, this course will teach you much that you didn't know.
LDS and Associates/ Lorna Sikorski, SLP
I have not taken this training, but I included it here because I have spoken to many Speech-Pathologists that I trust, who say it is a great program with wonderful information and very practical homework assignments. So, I feel that you should know about it as an option.
Here's How To Do Accent Modification: A Manual For Speech-Language Pathologists by Robert McKinney, MA, CCC-SLP
In my opinion, this is the best, modern text on the subject. This book covers everything from how to structure assessments and sessions to being culturally aware when working with accent training and the importance of counseling and advocacy when working with non-native speakers.
It also has some of the best exercises that I've seen for addressing intonation. Worksheets and audio files are available for download on the companion website.
American Accent Training by Ann Cook
A great book packed with effective exercises to use with your students, including lots of exercises that target stress and intonation. This book also has a useful and well-researched section on the sound substitutions of many common accents.
Speak With Distinction by Edith Skinner
This book is old school. And the accent that is encouraged as the goal accent is really out of date. No one speaks this way any more. BUT, it’s still a great book with wonderful information and practical exercises. And it’s a classic. Every Accent Instructor should own this book.
Accents & Dialects for Stage and Screen: Deluxe Edition (with streaming audio) by Paul Meier
My go-to resource for learning to teach different dialects of English. I work with many actors, but I also use dialects as training exercises for ESL students. Learn more about why it's effective here: https://www.theaccentchannel.com/blog/howtoteachdialects
This was the first book that I read when I started teaching accents and dialects, recommended to me by my boss at the time who had been teaching for many years. If you are interested in learning how many of the most recognizable accents and dialects of English developed throughout history, you will love this book.
VOICE IMPROVEMENT BOOKS
Very practical book with easy-to-follow exercises to use with your students. Easy to read and user friendly. Highly recommended, especially if you are new to the area of voice improvement.
Freeing the Natural Voice by Kristin Linklater
Beware. This book is really wordy and very focused on actors BUT it is a classic text by one of the most groundbreaking and world-renowned teachers of voice production. Learn more about Linklater here: https://www.linklatervoice.com/
BOOKS ON PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS
Communicate Up the Corporate Ladder by Jayne Latz, MA, CCC-SLP
From Amazon: The goal of this book is to build clarity, confidence, and careers. Helpful tips and exercises will teach you how to improve the quality of your speech, navigate complicated professional situations, and build confidence in your business communication skills.
I have not read this book yet but it was highly recommended by a few SLPs in my teacher training program. I've ordered a copy and will update with my thoughts after I've read it!
MATERIALS FOR SESSIONS AND HOMEWORK
The Accent Channel Student Practice Libraries
Your students can get access to 300+ on-demand speech training sessions for rhythm, intonation, common words, and every sound of American English. They can use these training videos + downloadable PDFs and audio lessons for practice between sessions.
With The Accent Channel Student Libraries, students create their own online account, then log into the libraries where they can practice with the video lessons between sessions and download corresponding PDFs and audio files for practice.
This is what I do with my own students and I cannot tell you how much time it saves me.
The WordVault app is one of my favorite free resources for accent training. You can easily generate word lists and sentences for all sounds in all positions. Find it in the App store.
Monologue Database: Daily Actor
I often use scripts and monologues with my students. This website is great because you can find monologues that your students are familiar with. Keeps the session fun and interesting.
Edge Studios Free Voiceover Script Library
Thousands of free scripts. These are great for working on rhythm and intonation.
KTS Speechwork Sample Elicitation Passages
These phonetically balanced reading passages can be used for your assessments, practice during sessions, or as a way to track progress. Very modern and conversational and free to download and use
IDEA: International Dialects Of English Archives
This is a Paul Meier project (obviously I'm a fan!) and one of the best resources for Accent Instructors. It's a completely free database of about 1500 samples of accents and dialects organized by region. Each sample has a full transcription, background information about the speaker, and notes from accent and dialect professionals.
I really love the fact that these speech samples are real people, from real places, speaking conversationally, not actors or people on YouTube demonstrating different accents.
So incredibly useful. Even if you don't plan to teach accents and dialects (other than the Standard American Accent) this is great ear training and practice for identifying the sound phonemic inventories of different accents.
Sounds American YouTube Channel
Simple, informative videos, many with animation of mouth placements for the sounds of speech.
Another free resource with animations, videos, and audio exercises to practice all the sounds of English.
This website that includes many different accents and dialects of English. There is a useful map feature to navigate through the different accents.
Paul Meier’s monthly podcast, In A Manner Of Speaking, is incredible.
There is a new podcast monthly, so it’s not an overwhelming amount of information, but so much of it is SO USEFUL. Although the topics focus more on dialects than accent modification, there are lots of great lessons to be learned about listening and correcting, code switching, how accents develop and the psychological factors behind the way we speak.
I listen each month and always find tidbits to use in my sessions. I also get great ideas for my free lessons for my blog and my YouTube channel.
WEBSITE/BLOG/EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER
Deciding on technology and software for my website, blog, and email marketing was REALLY overwhelming for me when I started my business. So many choices, such a learning curve (unless you pay someone else to do it), and no free time to implement it all!
But with some good advice from paid experts, and a bit of trial and error, I’ve found some really great options that are a good fit for us as solopreneurs with small coaching businesses.
Below are my best recommendations based on my experiences and the experiences of the teachers in my program. The decision that you make should be based on where you are in your business and also what products/services you plan to offer in the future.
Best for SEO: Bluehost + MailChimp or ConvertKit
With Bluehost, you'll get your web domain (the web address) and then Bluehost links with WordPress which will be your website and blog. The cost is minimal…around $20.00 for the year, but with this option, you'll still need an email service provider.
For that, I recommend MailChimp or ConvertKit. Both are free to start but you will probably need to upgrade to a paid plan as your business/email list grows because these services will require that you switch to a paid plan once your email list reaches a certain number of subscribers.
Best If You Are Just Getting Started: Wix
If you are just starting your business, totally overwhelmed, want to get everything up and running as quickly as possible, then I would recommend Wix. Wix is a wonderful option for those who are NOT particularly tech savvy.
You can get your domain through Wix and design your website in minutes. It's more expensive overall, but everything you need is included or easily integrated. The setup is simple, and you’ll have everything in one place. Wix uses a drag and drop design process for your website pages with very nice-looking templates, so even if you are not a visual person, they make it very easy.
Best If You Offer (or plan to offer) Online Courses or Digital Products (which you should!): Kajabi
I have been using Kajabi for 8+ years and honestly, I don't know how I would run my accent training business without it. I'm able to handle all the tech aspects of my business myself, without having to hire a web developer, a programmer, or other tech professionals to help.
I love and use Kajabi for everything in my business, and it is very user friendly, all-in-one, drag and drop design, email marketing, landing pages, opt-in forms and pages, podcasting, a coaching portal to use with your students, checkout pages, the ability to accept credit cards or PayPal, a private community (similar to a Facebook group) and more! Everything is already there, all integrated and ready to go! Everything you need to run and grow an online teaching business for one price.
However, Kajabi is more expensive because it also includes the ability to create and sell online courses. If you don't plan to offer online courses, it won't be worth the extra expense, and you should stick with one of the above options. If you think you will want to offer some kind of digital product in the future, you will save yourself time and effort by getting everything into Kajabi now.
Having (and paying for) a Kajabi account is also motivating, because it makes the process of creating and selling an online course/digital product so simple. It’s very easy to set up your course and start making money immediately. But again, if online courses/digital products are NOT a part of your plan, it's not worth the extra cost.
So many possibilities and so simple to use even for someone like me with absolutely no tech or software background. I just love it.
If you want to try it out for yourself, use this link to get a free 30-day trial.
If you are unsure if Kajabi is a good fit for your business, I'm happy to discuss. Just send me an email. It is definitely a big investment, so I can offer my opinion if you want some feedback on your specific goals for your business.
NOTE: If you start with Wix or Bluehost, it's very easy to transition over to Kajabi later, and their support team will help you, so this is not a life altering decision. You can easily change your mind as your business grows.
WAYS TO ACCEPT PAYMENT
You need to get paid!! I recommend Stripe to accept payments by credit card but there are many other options. PayPal is also a secure, simple option. Keep in mind that PayPal and all credit card processors do take a small percentage of each transaction, so keep this in mind when deciding on what to charge for your sessions.
I use Zoom and I love it for a lot of reasons: it’s secure, it’s easy to use, and you only need the free plan to start.
Both of these options have video messaging features so would be a great way for students to upload videos for your feedback between sessions, if that's something you want to do.
You can also share all practice materials without having to email which would save so much time. You can use them to schedule but also to get e-signatures on any intake forms or agreements AND it looks like you can use them to create mini-courses with videos lessons so would be a way to create a low dollar entry offer.
I have not used either myself but they've been recommended by teachers in my program and I have spent some time researching and they look like great options. Both have free trials so would be worth it to check them out.
Many Speech Pathologists use and love a platform called Simple Practice. I have no experience with it myself, but trust the opinions I have heard so may be worth checking out:
FUN THINGS TO IMPROVE YOUR SESSIONS
With Loom you can record your screen and instantly get a link to share with anyone. I use it to communicate with my students between sessions. Faster and more effective than sending an email or writing a recap.
Yes. I wear a headset for all my sessions. Not super-fashionable, I know, but it is so much easier to hear my students and for them to hear me. Also great for eliminating any background noise (like crying babies!) if you work from home.
Logitech h390 Headset With Noise Cancelling Microphone
It's not the most attractive option. There are headsets that won't mess up your hair. They go around the back of your head and not over your entire ear but this model is COMFORTABLE for all-day wear. And the sound clarity is great.
I use the Blue Snowball microphone + Garage Band on my Mac to record all the audio for my online lessons, as well as the audio files that I create for my students to practice. Great quality sound.
Blue Snowball USB Microphone (Brushed Aluminum)
The Logitech c920 webcam is inexpensive and has such a great picture! I use it for sessions and to record video lessons. Even on days when I have had no sleep and look terrible, somehow, this camera makes me look good. My only complaint is that the focus is a bit slow, so if you are moving around a lot (or if you move your hands a lot when you speak like I tend to do) the picture goes fuzzy and then takes a moment to clear. But speech sessions and video lessons don't require much movement so this works perfectly.
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam
You want to make it as easy as possible for students to schedule. You have MANY options but I think the most user friendly option is Calendly.
You can integrate with your calendar (I use Google) so the appointments show up automatically. Students schedule their appointments themselves in their own time zone and the appointment shows up on your calendar in your time zone. This seems like a small thing but I cannot tell you how much time and confusion this one feature has saved me!!! You can easily block off times/days that you are unavailable.
I also love that Calendly gives you option to collect payment at the time of scheduling, which I highly recommend (especially if you see students online) because it reduces the number of no-shows and missed appointments. This feature is only available with the paid version but in my opinion, it's well worth the money.
MIRANDA (It’s a free time zone adjustment app)
If you don't use a scheduling software, then you definitely need Miranda!
Miranda allows you to search for time zones based on the city name. And it includes smaller cities too (I haven’t found one yet that it didn’t know.) The app easily converts your time zone to your student's time zone.
Miranda is only available on smartphones so you can find it in the app store.
And while we are on the subject of time zones, here is a hot tip: You should ALWAYS be in charge of doing the time zone adjustment when scheduling, not your student.
Don’t let it be their responsibility. Don't let schedule confusion ruin the relationship between you and your students. Always do scheduling in the student's time zone. That way, there is no confusion. And if you do mess up, there is no awkward blaming. You take the blame. It’s your fault. Yes, you'll lose a session and the session payment, but you'll keep your student and your good reputation.
AI WRITING SOFTWARE
Holy Cow! Jasper is blowing my mind!!!
Free to use at first, but need to upgrade to a paid plan after 10,000 words.
It's like Chat GPT but much more user friendly. I started using it to improve the SEO for some of my blog posts, but then started playing around with it for everything from lesson outlines to social media posts to Facebook Ads and it is incredible. And I'm a great writer!!!! But this software just makes all my writing even better and gives me ideas that I would never have dreamed of.
HOWEVER...do NOT rely solely on Jasper's (or an AI writer) words and facts. At least not at this time. AI writers are only going to get better and better, but right now, they make a ton of mistakes, the facts aren't always correct, and the writing style is awkward. You must take what Jasper generates and then MAKE IT YOUR OWN!!!!
But it is a huge time-saver and has definitely helped with my teaching and my marketing. You MUST give this a try.
Speakpipe is a great way to communicate with your students between sessions. You can easily create a link to add the SpeakPipe Voice Recorder to a page on your website.
Students can leave voice messages and you are notified by email when they do. You can listen to the message and respond without any extra downloads or other recording equipment.
I have also used SpeakPipe as way to offer an Accent Assessment on my website without having to meet in realtime. Potential students read a script, record and send through SpeakPipe. I listen and respond with my findings. This is a great way to attract potential students.
Recordings are limited to 5 minutes or 10 minutes max, depending on which plan you choose. 5 minutes is a little short but 10 minutes is definitely enough.
Check it out at https://www.speakpipe.com
I don't worry much about design, but sometimes, I need good ideas for color palettes for my social media images, web pages, and the layout of my online courses.
Paletton is very easy to use and will help you find palettes that you like. I often use it to find complementary colors that will make a button or other important info stand out on a web page.
When you have to speak all day long, this tea is a lifesaver. It is so soothing when your throat is irritated and loosens up any mucus (sorry, but mucus can be an issue when you speak all day!) so your voice sounds strong and clear.
I usually have at least 2 cups a day when I am teaching. And somehow it is naturally sweet so you don’t need to add sugar. You have to try it to believe it.