Sore throat listening challenge

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

LEVEL(s): Could easily be adapted for all levels/you adjust the level of difficulty/choose appropriate texts

LANGUAGE: Anything you have (recently) taught/talked about

I have based this particular lesson on Easter and Easter traditions

AIMS: To encourage the students to ask for clarification and guess the words omitted from the text

MATERIALS: A short text you have found or written

Time: +/- 1h 20 min

1. Brainstorming/Why we listen?

Have students work in small groups and make a list of some reasons why we listen:

  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.

+/-5 min

2. Asking for clarification

Tell the students that in order to become a good listener you have to pay attention to the other person very carefully. However, we sometimes have to ask people to repeat something because they mumble, speak too quickly, have a difficult English accent, sore throat or simply, there is a lot of background noise and you can´t hear them clearly.

How to ask someone to repeat something in English? Have the students work in small groups and think of different ways of asking for clarification in English:

Could you say that again, please?

I beg your pardon?


Come again?

Say again?


What was that?

I didn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat that, please?

Have the students decide which ones are formal/informal.

+/- 10 min

You can also show the students this really funny video on the various ways of asking people to repeat what they said:

3. Sore throat listening challenge

(Inspired by Goodith White, Listening, Resource Books for Teachers, OUP)

Tell the students that they are going to hear a story about the Easter Bunny ( you can choose any story here!) but unfortunately you have a sore throat and they might not be able to hear some words. When this happens, they have to either ask you to repeat or try to guess the word: Was the missing word  ________ ?

If you choose to use the following story, make sure your students know what the homophones are! 😀

When you read the story to the class, you are going to obscure some of the words (the words in bold) by coughing or mumbling:

A man was driving along the highway when he saw the Easter rabbit hopping across the middle of the road.  He swerved to avoid hitting the rabbit, but unfortunately the Easter bunny jumped in front of the car and was struck by his car.

The basket of eggs and candy the rabbit was carrying, went flying all over the place. The driver, being a sensitive man, as well as an animal lover, pulled over to  the side of the road, and got out to see what had become of the rabbit carrying the basket. Much to his dismay, the colorful rabbit was dead. The driver felt so awful, he began to cry.

A woman driving down the highway saw the man crying on the side of the road and pulled over. She stepped out of her car and asked the man what was wrong. ‘I feel terrible’, he explained, ‘I accidentally hit the Easter rabbit and killed it.  Children will be so disappointed. What should I do?’

The woman told the man not to worry. She knew what to do. She went to her car trunk, and pulled out a spray can. She walked over to the dead, limp rabbit, and sprayed the contents of the can onto the furry animal. Miraculously the Easter rabbit came to life, jumped up, picked up the spilled eggs and candy, waved its paw at the two humans and hopped down the road. 50 yards away the Easter rabbit stopped turned around, waved and hopped down the road. 50 yards further on, he turned again, waved and hopped another 50 yards, again he waved.

The man was astonished. He couldn’t figure out what substance could be in the woman’s spray can. He ran over to the woman and asked, ‘What is in your spray can? What did you spray on the Easter rabbit?’

The woman turned the can around so that the man could read the label. It said:

‘Hair spray. Restores life to dead hair. Adds permanent wave.’

+/- 15 min

Story link:

4. Follow-up

Have the students choose a short text (from a coursebook, a reader or an online magazine) and do the same activity in pairs! I have suggested the following short texts to my students about some of the Easter traditions in the UK:


+/- 30 min

Happy Creating!




5 thoughts on “Sore throat listening challenge

Add yours

  1. Great idea. Thank you very much for sharing it. I teach YL and I am sure I can adapt the lesson plan to their needs and knowledge. Best wishes from Greece. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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