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September 20, 2013


Can English students discover their inner Tom Hanks?

skyperead.jpgEnglish students around the world are being offered the chance to take part in read-throughs of Hollywood movies.

SkypeRead will bring students together in a Skype group call to read through a movie script. Each session will involve five students, and a professional language coach will act as moderator. A pilot programme for the project is scheduled to start in October.

Read-throughs are one of the key stages in the production of movies, TV shows and theatre plays. The actors sit down around a table — together with directors, writers and other members of the production team — and read through the script. Many actors compare read-throughs (which are also called 'table reads') to the first day at school: slightly terrifying, but very exciting.

"The SkypeRead vision is for people to have fun, improve their English, and discover their inner Tom Hanks," said Graham Jones of Ten Sentences, a consultancy that is developing the idea.

"For the pilot programme, we're going to be doing read-throughs of 'Toy Story', which is a brilliant movie with a brilliant script. We'd really love to hear from any students who would like to take part!

"We'd also really like to hear professional opinions and suggestions from our ELT colleagues. One of the most thought-provoking comments we've had so far was from a teacher here in Japan, who said, 'Woah, a read-through of an ENTIRE movie? You're asking people to climb Mount Everest!' We knew what he meant, of course, and we did have to go away and think carefully about this.

"In the end, we concluded that we quite liked the Everest metaphor! SkypeRead is supposed to be fun, but it's supposed to be a challenge, too. Our big hope is that everyone will feel a real — and lasting — sense of achievement when we reach the words 'The End'."

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