What's the best way to learn English for kids?
What are the most effective ways to learn English for kids?
Learning English can be a difficult thing to do even as an adult. We may feel shy or afraid of making mistakes. We find it hard to remember new information.
This is why many people believe it is best to learn a new language when we are kids. Kids can retain more information at a faster pace; they find it easier to acquire a language in a more natural way, and they have the confidence to practice using the language.
As parents, we want our kids to learn in the most effective way possible. There are lots of fantastic ways parents can help their kid, so; let’s take a look at some of the best ways to learn English for kids.
1 - Practice what you preach
It is always a good idea to lead by example, and the same can be said for learning English. Your kid will find it much easier to learn English if you can speak English, or are learning English too.
They will see that you are trying as well, and they may feel happier to make the effort. If you are an accomplished English speaker, then you will be able to help them and correct them when needed.
It’s all about having a positive attitude and not being afraid to make mistakes!
2 - Implement it into your daily routine
It’s hard to become good at anything if we don’t dedicate some time towards it each day. It’s important to put aside a little time each day for learning English. It could be as little as 5 minutes for young learners, or up to 30 or 40 minutes for older kids.
It can be in very short chunks throughout the day. You can implement the English for kids into their day in lots of ways. When you go shopping, you can ask your child to name the different fruit and vegetables that they can see; you could talk about the weather, or how they are feeling today.
You could also ask your kid to tell you about the clothes that people are wearing, or even what household objects or toys they can see around the home!
It’s an easy yet fun way to use English for kids!
3 - Play through English
This is a fun way to learn English for kids. You could do role-plays with them as their favourite Disney character or superhero, a teacher and a student, a policeman and a bad guy, or a doctor and a patient; as long as they try to communicate in English!
You could play board games using English such as I-Spy or even Simon says. Doing other fun activities such as making art or crafts, or even creating birthday cards can be done through English.
Kids can practice using vocabulary and sentences such as “Where is the paint? I want yellow and pink for my card! Can I have the scissors please?!” etc.
Another fun and effective game to practice English for kids is to describe a picture to your child and see if they can draw it based on your descriptions. This is fantastic because you can use objects, people, weather, colours or prepositions, etc.
4 - Dance and Sing
Kids love singing, and even better than singing is dancing and singing together! Using a resource such a YouTube is a fantastic way to help them learn new words and associate words with meanings. They can see fun, bright videos that keep their attention while they learn.
There are so many great songs for learning vocabulary such as Old McDonald (Animals), 5 little Monkeys (Numbers), or I can sing a rainbow (Colours). There are also fun songs and videos available for older kids too that can help them with vocabulary and grammar in a fun and engaging way.
Listening to these songs, again and again, will help children to learn the words and dance moves in no time!
5 - Practice with a native speaker
Practicing with a native speaker is a sure way of improving your kid’s English. With a native speaker, they will hear different accents and learn to pronounce words in a different way. A native speaker can help kids to speak with more fluency rather than accuracy.
Having a native speaker teach your kid a few times a week will make a big difference to their English level. They can learn how to use certain expressions and words, and a native speaker will be able to correct them very precisely.
Kids will also have the opportunity to learn about different cultures, holidays and festivals from around the world with a native English Teacher!
6 - Listen to English radio / Watch English TV and movies
When you are taking a trip in the car, you could tune into an English radio station so that your kids can listen to English music! It’s also good to show them cartoons or movies in English. They can learn many expressions and words from this. ‘Peppa Pig’ or ‘Ben and Holly’s little kingdom’ are great examples for younger kids.
‘Dexter’s Laboratory’, ‘Recess’ or ‘The Wild Thornberry’s’ are great for older kids! They can hear how certain phrases are expressed, and with watching cartoons or movies, they can see facial expression and body language too.
So, don’t be surprised if you hear your 3-year-old exclaim “I love jumping in muddy puddles” in an English accent because they have watched Peppa Pig!
7 - Interact with other English-learning children
This is a fantastic and fun way to encourage your kid to speak in English. If you have friends whose kids are also learning English, or who can fluently speak English; you could encourage them to spend time with your kid. Play-dates are a great way to implement the use of English for kids.
You could have an afternoon of song and dance, crafts, games, or role-plays to make it really fun for them – all in English!
8 - Read bedtime stories
There are lots of amazing storybooks and fairy tales in English that kids love to hear. Most kids love to hear the same story each night for weeks on end! It’s perfectly OK to repeat stories for kids.
This is also a great way for them to recognize words and anticipate where the story will go. Repetition is always key when learning anything new, but especially with learning a new language.
Audiobooks are also a good way to help your kid drift off to sleep while listening to a relaxing story in English.
9 - Use Picture books
Books don’t always need to be stories! If you can encourage your kid to sit with you while you read the story with them, that is even better than them just listening!
Seeing pictures and hearing the story can help them to relate the pictures with meaning and also help them relate the story to their own lives.
You could have them point out certain things in the book.
For example, if you are reading “The three little pigs”, you could ask them to count the pigs, ask them what kind of house each little pig lives in, what they think the little pigs like to eat, or what they think will happen next in the story?” etc.
There are also lots of pictures books telling stories of cartoon characters or movie characters; so, if your kid is a fan of Ben 10 or even Pokemon, you could encourage them to follow the storybook with you and talk about what they see or what they think is going to happen. It keeps the story captivating and involves your kid.
10 - Make phonics fun
Making the sounds of each letter of the alphabet correctly is vital if your kid is going to be able to read correctly and pronounce all of their words in the right way.
There are lots of ways to implement phonics into their day without it being boring. There are many curriculum’s developed to make learning fun and engaging.
A great curriculum is the ‘Jolly Phonics’ program. It includes the main book and an activity workbook that can be purchased online, and there are lots of catchy songs and chants to help kids learn the phonics as easily as possible. These songs and chants are available on YouTube.
There is even a Jolly phonics app available!
Another way to help your kid with phonics is to watch the famous children’s show, ‘Sesame Street’. It contains a ‘phonics’ segment where a particular letter is focused on. See if you can find some episodes online for your kid to watch!
11 - Use the Internet
There are hundreds of fantastic online websites that are designed to help kids learn English in a way that encourages them to learn without it feeling like they are studying.
The bright colours, sounds, fun characters and reward systems make them seem like a game. There are also various levels (Pre-K to G) so that kids of all levels of English can be catered for.
A great example is ABCYA! This amazing website is completely in English, but it allows kids to practice various skills such as reading, writing, maths, and strategy.
Another great website is Starfall. Starfall has fun activities and games suitable for Kindergarten right up to grades.
These are definitely websites to check out!
12 - Mistakes are OK
Rome wasn’t built in a day! And in order to become amazing at something, you need to make mistakes so that you can learn from them.
Don’t be over-critical when your kid makes a mistake. Encourage them and practice with them until they get it right! Learning needs to be fun and engaging, and kids will already be learning so much at school that it’s best not to overload them when they get home too.
Perseverance is important and helping your kid to become effective learners when they are young, will teach them invaluable life skills of being able to work hard, have patience and persist in order to reach a goal.
It will also help them to understand that it is normal to make mistakes along the path to reaching a goal; everybody does!
Are you already doing some of these tips?
I hope these tips were helpful and you feel that you could start using them to help your kid become a better English speaker.
Remember, consistency and patience are paramount, and it is so important to keep the learning process fun and engaging so that your kid will get the most out of it.
Kids grow and improve at different speeds. No two children will learn in the same way, so you may find that you need to experiment a little when finding the most suitable learning methods for your kid.
But with your encouragement and support, your kid can be a successful English speaker.
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