7 ways to improve your kid’s English
- November 13, 2016
- Posted by: Zi Ying Lee
- Category: Message
The bilingual brain is not only cognitively stronger, it is healthier, more complex and actively engaged. Scans of a bilingual person’s brain shows a higher density of grey area. Research suggests that bilingualism keeps us mentally fit and the critical age gap, before the age 5, is the best time period for someone to pick up a second language. New research in neuro-biology indicates that being fluent in two languages, particularly from early childhood, enhances a person’s ability to concentrate and might even protect against dementia.
1) Be the example you want for your child
Children learn from the examples they have. The easiest way to teach your child something is to be the role model you want for them. Learning a second language is an ongoing process, something you can share with your child. Spend time together with your child looking up words in the dictionary to help them understand new words. You could also encourage them to translate words they know from their mother tongue into English.
2) With a song, a dance or a cartoon
There are endless programs in English these days and you don’t even need Astro/satellite television to find one suitable for your kid. Watch programs in English together and help your child improve his/her listening skills. There are even cartoons that focus on encouraging the child to interact with it using English. Dora the Explorer is one stellar example. However, concerned parents can replace this activity by listening to English songs with their children. You can easily teach your child simple nursery rhymes. Many children have improved their English through classic children songs like Incy Wincy Spider which comes complete with engaging gestures. They are guaranteed to entertain even the fussiest of children.
3) Build a reading habit
One of the best ways to master a language is through reading. Why not set aside an hour a day to read to your kids? Even 30 minutes before bedtime can make a difference. Did you know it takes roughly 21 days to create a habit? Reading together will help your child develop the reading habit. Soon, he/she will be able to read independently. You can include science facts that will interest your child, introducing them in bite-sized facts and little pieces of information. Remember, you are reading with your child, not a college student. The activity should always be fun for your child!
4) Play in English
Children have a short span of attention. This makes it near impossible for most of them to concentrate for even fifteen minutes. If your child enjoys playing games, why not try playing language games with them in English? There are many simple games that you can play together. You can even make a game out of spelling.
5) Nurture hobbies in English
Does your child enjoy arts and crafts. This is another opportunity for your child to learn/practise his/her English. On the internet, you can look up instructions for almost any craft imaginable in English. Get your child to read it with you. Keep a dictionary nearby handy to make sure your child understands the instructions correctly. Safety first!
6) Write them a short note
Speak, communicate and encourage the use of the language. A little effort goes a long way with time. To help young learners practise writing, you can borrow the classic idea of writing notes and short letters to each other. Drop junior a note in their lunch packs on alternate days of the week and get them to reply.
7) Review and take note of your child’s lessons
Take an interest in your child’s education. Be aware of what they are taught in school. Encourage your child to be an active learner. Simply ask your kids, “What did you learn in school today?” or “Tell me about your day in school”, requesting them to answer in English will also help young learners to analyse and review their lessons.
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