The most practical and effective way for adults to learn a language is to use it in your daily life and work. In contrast, it’s easier for kids to learn at an early age in an immersive and dynamic learning environment. I have always loved the idea of helping families to learn English, those families that do not speak English as their native language. But whilst I cannot do this, here are some tips put together for you to try to teach your kids English.
Apply English in everyday life
The key is to use a suitable approach to guide them based on their strengths and interests. We listed three of our favorite approaches below:
- Daily greetings: Although these phrases are not difficult for kids to speak, saying them helps build their confidence speaking English. Plus, it builds a habit of frequently speaking English.
- English Corner: Parents may set up an area as the English Learning Space with different learning games or toys for the kids. You can also decorate the space with posters, picture books, and displays of English-speaking countries’ cultures, like flags and pictures of featured landscapes, providing them an immersive environment where they will feel comfortable speaking English.
- Family birthdays and festival celebrations are an enjoyable way to enrich your child’s English learning.
Systematic phonics is a fundamental skill in every child’s English-learning journey. It’s a critical English skill which enables kids to read, spell, and understand words, paving the way for a lifelong passion of reading.
You may start with the alphabets and flashcards from daily environments, like fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, furniture, home appliances, cookware and so on. It is also fun to reinforce phonics skills through relaxing play.
Nightly bedtime stories
Bedtime storytelling is a popular approach to teach kids English and prepare them for sleep. Keep in mind storytelling should not entirely replace reading; experts recommend a balance of storytelling and reading work to develop language and story comprehension.
In addition to fairy tales, non-fiction storybooks and stories in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) can help cultivate a diverse set of interests.
Most importantly, storytelling can influence children profoundly and shape a habit of reading that can grow into a lifelong passion.
Encourage your kids to tell a Story
When we tell stories to others, it is usually from our perspective. In contrast, telling other people’s stories will allow us to see things differently.
When children tell other people’s stories, it allows them to experience different cultures and traditions and see another world laterally besides learning more English words.
Also, understanding things from different perspectives encourages curiosity and imagination, further motivating them to read more stories. Retelling stories is one of the most practical ways for kids to gain English speaking and reading skills, practise concentration, and develop lateral thinking skills.
Keep English fun and practical
All kids love playing games! Games are an effective way to teach kids English through imaginative play. Also, it’s essential to let the learning be more practical to daily life, which will encourage them to practise English more often and keep learning new things. It’s easy to initially capture your child’s attention, but it’s challenging to keep them concentrated for the whole time. Therefore, keeping English fun and easy is the key.
A few children’s games you can play include:
- Numbers Counting and Matching.
- Guessing Fruit or Animal Names.
- Letter Matching.
- Word Marathon.
- Object Matching.
Project-based learning is a dynamic teaching and learning method in which students acquire knowledge and skills through a specific project or an engaging experience for a period of time. It provides kids with a real-world situation to learn from, find solutions to, and challenge themselves with innovative ideas.
For example, it’s an engaging way to encourage kids to complete a weekly project, like puzzle-solving in STEM areas. There are new vocabularies and readings kids need to figure out before the project starts.
Through this project, kids not only can gain English skills but also problem-solving skills required in future education.
When learning a language, vertical learning is crucial as it’s the foundation of learning everything in that language. Meanwhile, horizontal learning is essential as it broadens your child’s vision while increasing their vocabulary. Speaking practice and reading are great ways to build your child’s vocabulary and enhance their writing skills.