Chatterbox #168 – Interview with Paula MP

Join Andrew as he talks to Paula, the new author of a book written specifically for adult ESL learners! Come take it easy and learn all about Paula, a Brazilian immigrant to the United States who has achieved her American dream.


Fun fact

In 2014, according to the Migration Policy Institute, about 79% of households in the United States spoke only English. The other 21% also spoke languages from all corners of the world, including Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Korean, Arabic, German, and Russian!

Expressions included in the learning materials

  • The American dream
  • To put yourself out there
  • To put your heart (and soul) into something
  • DIY
  • To take it easy

For a complete transcription, click:

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Sample transcript

Andrew: Today we are very happy to have Paula Massadas Pereira here with us on Culips. Today we’ll talk with Paula about her book, How I Learned English: The Story of a Brave Mexican Girl.
Paula, hello. Welcome to the Culips podcast.
Paula: Hello, Andrew. How are you?
Andrew: I’m very good. How are you?
Paula: I’m fine. I’m very happy to be interviewed by you today.
Andrew: Awesome, thanks. Well, we’ll get right to the interview and my first questions is, could you please tell us about your book, your new book? What is the story about?
Paula: Sure. Well, the book is about a Mexican girl who moves to the United States searching for a better life. It describes the challenges that she faces not only to learn English, but also to adjust to a new culture, new housing, new friends, new school, and so many other things that immigrants usually go through when they go to another country.
Andrew: OK, very interesting. So who is the target audience? Is this a book for everybody? Is it a book for kids, teenagers?
Paula: Well, it’s funny because the book was written with the adult ESL students in mind, but I was surprised when I realized that other schools are interested in reading my book as well. There are several parents who also want to read the book with their children, because the book talks about issues related to immigration. So it looks like the parents also want to educate their children with issue related to immigration in general.
Andrew: Hmm, yeah, that would make sense. I guess if you were an immigrant and you had children, you would want to teach them about that immigrant experience. Maybe it’s something that the children couldn’t relate to, but is very important in the parents’ life.
Paula: That’s right.
Andrew: Hmm, cool. So, the reason why I wanted to get you on the Culips podcast is because this book is specifically written for English-language learners. How can people use this to learn English?
Paula: Well, I believe that the book was written with very basic English structure. That was the idea when I wrote it. I didn’t want to overwhelm the reader with words that they did not understand, so I was very cautious with that. And there are reading comprehension questions at the end of the book that gets the readers engaged with what happened with the main character of the book—her name is Claudia Sanchez—and they also think about their own journeys as immigrants. So that’s a very interesting aspect of the book. There are vocabulary questions at the end, so it kind of forces the readers to investigate words that they don’t know, so they can expand their vocabulary more.
Andrew: Very nice. Yeah, I like this way of studying with a book, right. It’s not just read the book and close it and move on but when there’s comprehension questions and some vocabulary activities, you can really make the most out of your reading experience.
Paula: That is true, and in many schools, students are writing essays about their own lives or sometimes they’re doing presentations about their own journeys in front of the entire class. And that’s a way to get the students to read a book and also practice their writing skills and their speaking skills at the same time.

english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips English Learning Podcast