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Holiday Wordle- Speaking Practice

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

Happy New Year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to do some fun practice that I hope will help keep up your holiday mood.

Check out this link for a word cloud (or ‘Wordle’) made of winter and holiday-related terms.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, word clouds take some sort of input—either a list of words (like from survey responses) or a text—and show the most common words. The larger the print, the more often the word appeared. We’ll do some other activities with word clouds in upcoming posts, but for now, let’s stick to a simple (and hopefully entertaining) speaking activity.  Since this word cloud was created as a classroom activity, there are some strange words in it (people’s names, for instance). You can ignore those or, if you’re feeling creative, try to work them into your responses, too.

After taking a good look at the word cloud, read through the questions below. Give yourself 15-20 seconds to think before responding to each question. How many words from the cloud can you incorporate into your answer and still have it make sense? Leave a comment below with your “high score.”

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

1. Tell me about some of your family’s holiday/winter traditions.

2. What holiday tradition has never made sense to you?

3. How do you stay warm on a cold day?

4. What is the best thing about winter?

5. Think of your favorite season or time of year. What about that season do you wish you could have all year round?

As with other speaking activities, you can record your response at and send it to me as a comment so I can review your answer. Remember—you don’t have to publish your answer on the blog in order to get feedback, as long as you leave me an e-mail address.


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4 Responses to Holiday Wordle- Speaking Practice

  1. Max January 5, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Hi Kate,

    I have recorded my responses but not through vocaroo. Please let me know if I can email the same to you.

    • Kate Hardin
      Kate Hardin January 6, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      You sure can!

  2. Anshuka August 20, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    Hi Kate,
    How many reasons or different points are expected in an independent speaking task of 45 seconds?

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas August 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      Hi Anshuka,

      Good question! Most students have enough time to give two reasons—we recommend trying for that. It’s possible to give a great response with 1 or 3, but those are often either too slow or with not enough explanation and detail.

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