Accent & Pronunciation Teaching Resources
The resources on this list are my personal recommendations of products and services that I love, trust, and use every day in my accent training business. I currently use these resources or have researched and tested them before adding them to this list.
To save you time and prevent overwhelm, this list only contains my best recommendations to help you get your business started ASAP and with as little stress as possible.
A few of these links are affiliate links, which means I may get a commission if you purchase using these links, but I ONLY recommend resources that I have used in business and that have gotten me great results.
The Tools You Need To Get Started
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.
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.
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 And the accent that is encouraged as the goal accent is really out of date.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.
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
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: https://amzn.to/3bhbNF5
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/
Materials for Sessions and Homework:
Over 275 training and practice videos that cover rhythm, intonation, and every sound of American English.
With The Accent Channel Student Libraries, your students create their own online account, then log into the libraries where they can practice with the videos 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.
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 English accents and dialects. Each sample has a full transcription, background information about the speaker, and notes from accent and dialect professionals. 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.
This is a free collection of animations, videos, and audio samples that describe the essential features of the consonants and vowels of English.
Another free resource with animations, videos, and audio exercises to practice all the sounds of English.
This website is similar to the 2 previous resources but 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.
Teacher Training Courses
The only online program of its kind with a complete plan for learning to teach accents and pronunciation and building your own accent training business.
You'll learn to do an Accent Assessment, develop and implement programs, and market your services to attract and enroll your own students.
There is also a full course devoted completely to marketing your services and setting up a predictable selling system for consistent enrollments and sales.
Everything you need to start teaching, finding students, and building a new stream of revenue.
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.
I have not taken this training so I can't personally recommend it, but I included it here because I feel that you should know about it as an option. I have spoken to many Speech-Pathologists that I trust, who say it is a great program with very practical homework assignments.
Bluehost makes it incredibly easy to purchase your domain name (example: theaccentchannel.com) and set up a wordpress website with blog. You can easily have your website up and running in under an hour. I built my entire website and online courses on Kajabi, but I needed an extra blog to offer free lessons for my students, so I used Bluehost. The hardest part was deciding on which template to use.
Hosting is very inexpensive and customer support is great.
Email Service Provider:
If you plan to offer online courses now or in the future (which I highly recommend) you'll want to consider Kajabi as your all-in-one solution. I use Kajabi as my email service provider but it is only worth the cost if online courses are a part of your business. Keep reading to learn more about Kajabi.
Payment processor/PayPal account:
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.
Video conferencing platform to meet with your students:
I love Zoom for a lot of reasons: it’s secure, it’s easy to use, and you only need the free plan to start.
As a result of COVID, I think we are all familiar with Zoom, but just wanted to point out a few of the features that I use and love.
You can actually schedule a session in your student’s time zone and Zoom will add the meeting to your calendar in YOUR time zone. When you work with people all over the world, adjusting for time zones is a big deal and it can cause a lot of confusion so this seems like a simple feature but it has been a life saver for me. You can send the meeting link to your student ahead of time, so there are no excuses for messing up the time or missing a session due to scheduling confusion.
There is a waiting room feature that allows you to admit your student when you are ready to begin, so you are in total control of starting and ending the session. There is a screen share option to share materials, a chat option for re-writing things phonetically, and a “touch up my appearance” option to tone down those dark circles and wrinkles. Yes, I’m serious and yes, it really works!
On top of all of this, Zoom lets you easily record each session and share it with your student later, which is a huge value-add to your sessions. The fact that you send a recording of the entire session is a big plus to most students so if you do this, and I suggest that you do, be sure to make it clear that you offer this extra service in any marketing materials or descriptions of your sessions. Not everyone allows private sessions to be recorded, but I say…why not? It’s a huge perk that makes your sessions more valuable, it’s almost no extra work for you, and it’s great for your students to be able to review previous lessons between sessions.
As I said earlier, Zoom is free to use for one-on-one meetings. When you start adding more people to the meeting they limit the time to 45 minutes so if you decide to do groups, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan, but for private, one-on-one sessions, the free plan is all you need. It’s a really great option.
Yes. I wear a headset for all my sessions. Not super-fashionable, I know, but it is so much easier to hear my students, they hear me better, and if my 6-year-old daughter is running away from her nannies (my mom and dad) or screaming and yelling across the hall from my home office, my students can't hear her and I can keep the session going. I quickly learned that ending a session early due to a crying baby and losing money because of it was not a great way to run a business...so I got a headset and I use this one:
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.
Webcam for sessions and video lessons:
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.
Online Scheduling Software:
You want to make it as easy as possible for students to schedule. Again, you have options but I think the most user friendly option is Calendly.
Miranda (It’s a time zone adjustment app)
Although Zoom and Acuity will let you adjust for time zones, if a student is in a city where you don’t know the exact time zone, things get tricky. That's when I head over to 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 for treating your students like celebrities.
This 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
All-In-One Solution/What I Use
I have been using Kajabi for 5 years and honestly, I don't know how I would run my accent training business without it. With Kajabi, I am 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.
Now, Kajabi is a bit expensive if you are just starting out. But in my experience, it is worth every penny. It truly is an all-in-one platform for your online business.
I do everything through Kajabi: my website, my blog, my email service provider, my payment processor, my store, my shopping cart, my marketing, my online courses…I don’t pay for any other services at this point. And the customer support that they offer is truly stellar.
But keep in mind, that much of my business is focused on online courses, and that is where I feel that Kajabi really shines. So before you give it a try, I do recommend that you sit down and think about your long and short term goals for your business. If you just plan to see students for private sessions, then Kajabi may not be worth the money for you.
However, if you have any desire to create any type of online course or workshop, or to create an online library of video lessons for your students, Kajabi is definitely the way to go.
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.
Client Management Platforms:
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 have spent some time researching and they look like great options. Both have free trials so would be worth it check them out.
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.