KA VOICECAST for Friday, August 15th 2014

Listen to KA Voicecast HERE!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

To access this Voicecast and all KA Wordcasts in iTunes, click on the iTunes logo on the website homepage.  This will take you to the iTunes Store Preview.  To subscribe to the bi-monthly Voicecasts, click View in iTunes.    You will be given the option to subscribe here. KA Voicecast will air new episodes each month on the 1st and the 15th. Once you are a subscriber, new episodes will be automatically downloaded to your preferred device.

Please send all requests, comments, or suggestions by either accessing the FEEDBACK bar or by email to comments@kavoicecast.com

LIKE us on FACEBOOK for an even easier way to communicate with us directly.




KA News

KA Top Picks! with Olwen Bartlett  How to Train Your Dragon 2

Story Time—How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale by Cressida Cowell

Listening Comprehension Practice


KA NEWS for Friday, August 15th (2014)

In the fall of 2015, KAIS International School and Kikokushijo Academy will be opening new facilities in Toritsu Daigaku offering a daytime international school for students grade 1-8 that will be called KAIS Elementary and Middle School (KAIS EMS). As the new building will not be available until 2015, KAIS will on a limited basis offer its grades 3-6 program at Kikokushijo Academy’s facilities in Jiyugaoka, beginning September of 2014. The facilities are adequate, with a fine library, functional classrooms, and an overall warm atmosphere. The program will be high-quality and individualized,  utilizing a combination of traditional, proven teaching methods, including Kikokushijo Academy’s highly successful English program, as well as progressive and holistic educational practices focused on encouraging creativity, curiosity, self-confidence, and a general positive outlook on life. Small group homework tutoring for all subjects, including Japanese language, will be a key feature of the school, as will dynamic theme-based modules that synthesize literature, history, music, art, and other disciplines.

KA’s famed essay-writing course for students in grade 4 of elementary school and above is now available as a correspondence course for students who live abroad or outside of the Kanto area. This is a serious, results-oriented program for students who wish to pass essay exams for junior high, senior high, university or the EIKEN, TOEFL, or SAT exams. Distance Learning students will write and revise weekly essays, complete grammar assignments, and build vocabulary to raise the register and effectiveness of their writing. Each student will correspond with a Personal Writing Tutor, who will guide the student through the course by email.

Students wishing to participate in the Distance Learning course must have:

• Access to the internet

• A computer with Microsoft Word and Adobe Reader

• A strong desire to improve their writing.

For more information about this exciting new program, please contact Kikokushijo Academy or follow the link.

The KA Kids International Preschool in Tama Plaza is accepting applications for children aged 3-6 for the 2014/2015 academic year. Children who sign up for the KAIP program will be introduced to the fast-paced, advanced reading and writing program with teachers trained in the Read Write Inc. Phonics method, currently exclusive to Kikokushijo Academy. For general information and answers to frequently asked questions, please follow the link to the KA Kids International Preschool Page.

Please note that all KA schools will be closed for one week from Monday, August 25 through Monday, September 1st.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, September 2.

The new season of KA Wordcast, which begins on September 2, will focus on improving your listening and comprehension skills.  KA Wordcast:  Listen Up!  should help those of you preparing for entrance and other exams with challenging listening passages, questions, and key vocabulary words.  Listen Up! will air every Tuesday.   Beginning in September, KA Wordcast:  Idioms and Phrasal Verbs will air twice a month only on the 5th and 20th of each month.  Lesson 25, scheduled to air on September 5, will cover various phrasal verbs and expressions based on the word RUN, so be sure to tune in! 




With Olwen Bartlett

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The films How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2 are based on the books of the same name by Cressida Cowell.

The first film follows the trials of a young Viking named Hiccup, the son of the chief Viking in the village of Berk.  Berk is a harsh environment in which to grow up, where rough and ready Vikings battle daily with ferocious dragons.  Hiccup is a curious and imaginative boy who struggles to find his place, always trying to impress his father Stoick, but somehow ending up disappointing him.  Hiccup works as a blacksmiths’ apprentice, spending his free time studying dragons.  In a bid to finally impress his father, he determines to hunt down the most dangerous and elusive dragon of all, the Night Fury.  He is partly successful, but instead of killing the dragon, he merely wounds it leaving it incapable of flying.  Trying to put the wounded animal out of its misery and claim the glory of having slain a Night Fury, Hiccup looks into its eyes and is unable to kill it.  Instead, he brings it food and nurses it back to health.  Using his skills from his training as a blacksmith, he fashions a prosthetic wing and slowly teaches the Night Fury, now named Toothless, how to fly again.  In doing so, he forges a special friendship between himself and Toothless.

Hiccup discovers that dragons are not the ferocious animals he and his fellow Viking believed them to be, but how can he persuade everyone else that dragons can be their friends?  Hiccup joins the other young Vikings training to be dragon slayers, but instead of harming the dragons, Hiccup uses his new found knowledge, to soothe and tame each dragon he encounters.  But what happens when the rest of the Vikings discover Hiccup’s secret?  Can they adapt to a world where dragons are no longer the fearsome creatures they have spent their lives trying to slay?   Well, if you haven’t already seen How to Train a Dragon then I’ll try not to spoil it for you, but I can say that the newest film How to Train Your Dragon 2 picks up where the first film ends.  You don’t have to have seen the first film to enjoy the second, as the story works just as well on its own, but I was glad to have seen the first film before watching How to Train Your Dragon 2.

So what happens in How to Train Your Dragon 2?  The film is set five years after the end of the previous film and life is good in the Viking village of Berk.  People and dragons are living together harmoniously and Hiccup, now a young man of 20, is engaged to fellow Viking Astrid.  Hiccup’s father Stoick, the chief of the village, is keen to hand over his title to his son but Hiccup is not quite sure he is cut out to be Chief.  Whilst out exploring, Hiccup comes across an ice fort and some dragon hunters led by Eret, who attempts to capture Toothless.  Hiccup discovers that Eret is working for the mysterious Drago who is determined to capture all of the island’s dragons and declare war on Berk.  Sharing his discovery with his father, Hiccup is convinced that he can negotiate with Drago to prevent the onset of war.  Stoick, having encountered Drago many years earlier, prepares for war believing there is no reasoning with him.

On his journey to find Drago, Hiccup first encounters the Dragon Rider who rescues and cares for captured dragons living with them under the protection of the gigantic Alpha Dragon.  It turns out that the dragon rider is no stranger to Hiccup after all.  Drago has his own Alpha Dragon and as there can only be one, a battle ensues between the two beasts.  Of course I can’t tell you what happens next because I am sure you would rather find out for yourselves by reading the book or watching the films.

The first How to Train Your Dragon film opened in cinemas in the UK in 2010, and the sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 opened at the cinemas in the UK in early summer 2014.  Both films are rated PG and are suitable for primary-school aged children, with parental guidance for younger viewers.



How to Train Your Dragon and its sequels are all based on books written by British Author Cressida Cowell.    As a child, she grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland, where she spent her summers.  The house was lit by candle-light, and there was no telephone or television, so she spent a lot of time drawing and writing stories.  There are currently thirteen titles in her How to Train a Dragon series, and she has written a number of other books and stories as well.

For today’s story time story, I have selected a passage from the 5th book in the Dragon series, titled How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale.

Listening comprehension questions today will be based on factual content—which means that all the answers will be clearly stated in the story.  Question format will be multiple choice and true or false.    If you need to listen to the passage a second or third time, it is available as a separate track on the KA Voicecast website.




How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale

By Cressida Cowell

Listen to the PASSAGE ONLY track HERE!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third never forgot the day he met an Exterminator Dragon for the very first time.

How could he?

It was one of the most terrifying experiences of his short, adventurous life.

There he was, sitting in the middle of a circle of fire which was getting smaller and smaller, with no way out, and prowling through the flames, getting closer and closer, were these sinister leopard-like shapes, the slinking silhouettes of Exterminator Dragons sharpening their talons and getting ready to leap—

Hang on a second.

I had better start at the beginning.

It all took place during a heatwave in August, which was surprising, for Augusts in the Viking territories were normally rather cool, wet affairs.  But it had been growing hotter and hotter over the course of the summer, and as the temperatures rose, Hiccup’s grandfather Old Wrinkly had been babbling on about how the unexpected warmth was a terrible Omen of Doom, and a new kind of Terror-Dragon had awoken in the West, and would descend upon them all with Fire and Destruction…

But unfortunately nobody really took Old Wrinkly seriously, because he wasn’t very good at looking into the future.

On this particular day, the sun was beating down relentlessly on the usually soggy Isle of Berk as if it had lost its way, and thought it was Africa.

There was not a cloud (let alone an Exterminator Dragon) in the sky.

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, only son of Chief Stoick the Vast, was on the Holligan Pirate Training Program on the Isle of Berk.

His teacher, Gobber the Belch, had decided that on this particularly still, stuffy summer’s day, when all you really wanted to do was to find a nice tree and lie gasping underneath it, downing lots of drinking-horns of nice cool water, it would in fact, be an EXCELLENT idea to hold a Herding-Reindeer-on-Dragonback lesson.  Hiccup did not agree with Gobber the Belch.

But Gobber the Belch had not asked Hiccup’s opinion on the matter.

And Gobber the Belch was a six-and-a-half-foot-axe-wielding lunatic who was not the kind of teacher you argued with.

So there they all were, all twelve pupils on the Program, standing in a hot, bedraggled, wilting line, halfway up Huge Hill, swatting off the midges that were gathering in great clouds in the still and steamy air.

There was Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, rather surprisingly the Hero of this story, for he was extremely ordinary-looking, with bright-red hair that shot straight up in the air whatever you did to it, and no obvious Heroic qualities.

There was Hiccup’s best friend Fishlegs, the only boy on the Pirate Training Program who was even worse at being a Viking than Hiccup was.  He had asthma, eczema, short-sight, flat-feet, knock-knees, and allergy to reptiles, heather, and animal fur, and he couldn’t swim.  He bore a strong resemblance to a runner-bean wearing glasses.

There was Snotface Snotlout.  A delightful boy—if you happen to like unpleasant teenagers with skull tattoos who bully anything that moves and is smaller than them.

There was Tuffnut Junior.  A pleasure to meet—if you happen to like meeting pimply young plug-uglies who pick their noses, and sleep with an axe under their pillows.

And Dogsbreath the Duhbrain, the largest, sweatiest, and smelliest of the lot of them, had all the grace and charm of a pig in a helmet.

There they all were, this horrid collection of spotty Viking pre-teens, and Gobber was shouting at them, in his usual cheery fashion.


Listening Comprehension Questions

1.  In which month does the story take place?


a)    June

b)   December

c)    August

d)   March


2. True or False.  Our main character’s full name is Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Fourth.


a)    True

b)   False


3. True or False.  Summers in the Viking territories are usually cool and wet. 


a)    True

b)   False


4. Nobody took Hiccup’s grandfather Old Wrinkly very seriously because…


a)    he was too old.

b)   he was a known liar.

c)    he wasn’t very good at looking into the future.

d)   he only babbled.


5. What is the name of the island in which this story takes place?


a)    Isle of Man

b)   Isle of Berserk

c)    Isle of Holligan.

d)   Isle of Berk


6. Gobber the Belch is the name of Hiccup’s…


a)    Teacher

b)   Father

c)    Best friend

d)   Mortal enemy.


7. How many pupils are there in the Holligan Pirate Training Program?


a)    Six.

b)   Five.

c)    Twelve.

d)   Forty.


8. What three things is Hiccup’s best friend Fishlegs allergic to?


a)    Cat hair, milk, and eggs.

b)   Reptiles, heather, and animal fur.

c)    Pollen, strawberries, and dirt.

d)   Dragons, feathers, and animal poop.


9.  True or False. Hiccup has bright red hair.


a)    True

b)   False


10. Which of Hiccup’s classmates is the largest, sweatiest, and smelliest of the lot?


a)    Fishlegs

b)   Snotface Snotlout

c)    Tuffnut Junior

d)   Dogsbreath the Duhbrain


PDF Download KA VOICECAST for Friday, August 15 2014


ANSWERS to Listening Comprehension Questions:
1)   c    2)   b False:  Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third    3)   a True    4)   c    5)   d    6)   a     7)   c    8)   b     9)   a True    10) d