VOA Learning English reporters recently embarked on a road trip along Route 66, known as the “Main Street of America,” where they met residents, business owners, tourists, and even ran into VOA fans. Voice of America’s Caty Weaver, Adam Brock, and Ashley Thompson provided a series of interviews, reports, and photos from various states, while interacting with and updating VOA Learning English fans throughout the two-week long trip.
During the journey, the crew made VOA Learning English fans feel like they were on the trip, too. With the hashtag #Route66VOA, the team provided constant on-the-road updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WeChat. A contest on Instagram was also held, asking fans a trivia question related to each state they passed through. The first three fans to answer correctly received a postcard. On Facebook, short Route 66 videos were provided that featured locals explaining regional idioms and expressions. The engaging and educational videos broke Learning English records for video views on Facebook, with several topping 30,000 views.
There was no doubt that VOA Learning English fans were tuning in throughout the trip. Viewers from around the world repeatedly expressed their appreciation and excitement. Hamid Shabaan from Afghanistan wrote, “Dear lovely Ashley and Caty, as I have seen your trip is looking so great I wish I could walk down with you.” Alex from Mexico, who received a Route 66 postcard, thanked the team saying, “VOA, you are the best way to improve my English skills. Thanks VOA.” Syed Abbas from Pakistan: “Caty is my best. She is working hard to learn us English.”
The crew received a warm welcome during a visit to a Navajo reservation elementary school. School staff posted a special “Welcome Voice of America Visitors” note on the school’s outdoor message board. (Left to Right: Reporters Ashley Thompson, Adam Brock, Caty Weaver)
At the Grand Canyon, a couple from Korea recognized "English in a Minute" host Ashley Thompson and asked if they could take a photo with her. The couple said they use the show every week to learn American English expressions. They practiced some of the American English idioms they learned from recent episodes with the #Route66VOA crew.
The trip may have come to a close, but the stories and memories will continue for viewers around the world. In the months to come, the Route 66 team will release state-by-state video reports and other feature stories, as well as a series of “Learn English Along Route 66” videos for their YouTube page. The team also plans to release a 20-minute documentary early next year, as part of Route 66’s 90th Anniversary.
For all of the Route 66 stories, take a look here.