The English language is often regarded as the world’s lingua franca (a language used among people who do not share a common first language to communicate) across the globe. Having a good command of English and a strong English foundation helps children to grow in their ability to communicate and converse with people. Learning English doesn’t have to be confined to the classroom. There are so many different ways to practise using it, expose yourself to it, and learn more about it. Showing your child new possibilities in learning the English language can help to pique their interest in learning and developing their mastering of English. Here are some ways that you can introduce new practices to improve your child’s command in English.
Have a Vocabulary Log
Encourage your child to carry a vocabulary log with him or her all the time. Every time your child reads something on the news, in books, or in magazines, he or she may come across a word or a phrase that they might not be familiar with. Your child can pen it down in the vocabulary log or notebook. Parents can encourage their child to find out what the word or phrase means, have them write down the necessary explanations and an example of how it should be used in a sentence. This not only helps your child to understand the meaning of the word/phrase, it also helps them to understand how to apply them. Furthermore, having a vocabulary log that your child can constantly refer to also encourages him or her to look through the words noted down. This helps children to grow familiar with words or phrases that they were initially unfamiliar with.
If your child is an avid reader, encourage him or her to track down words or expressions that are new to them, or words that they would like to adopt and use in their own writing.
Actively Reading from Different Mediums
Exposing your child to different mediums of reading can also help with increasing their exposure to English. Every medium utilises the English language differently to achieve different purposes, intended for different audiences. Helping your child to understand how language is used in different contexts can help them to communicate effectively for different purposes. For example, writing a news article is very different from writing a diary. A piece of news might require the writer to convey information in a formal tone to show credibility, while a diary allows the writer to employ a more informal voice. Reading Anne Frank’s diary is very different from reading a formal announcement about the pandemic on the news. Exposing your child to various forms of writing exposes them to different ways of using the English language for different purposes.
Some possible reading materials that you can expose your child to include newspapers, social commentaries, and classic novels. You can also find out the genre of books that your child likes and visit the library together to encourage a habit of borrowing books and reading them. If they are books that your child is innately interested in, it is also easier to inculcate in them a practice of reading frequently.
Stimulating Their Minds with Games
What are some games that can help to pique your child’s interest in learning English? Creating games that you can play with your child, while training them to improve their mastery of the English language is an effective way to engage with your child in a fun way. An example of a word game that you can play with your child involves taking turns to come up with word associations to a given topic or subject. The player that is able to come up with the most words associated with the subject, within a limited time wins. This helps to stimulate the minds of your children in an effective way. Furthermore, you can also encourage family bonding activities that make use of games like Boggle or Scrabble. Playing these games can also train your child to think quickly and nimbly on their feet while encouraging them to improve their vocabulary to increase their chances of winning.
Writing is a skill that needs time and energy devoted to perfecting it. There are many ways that you can motivate your child to write often. One way is to encourage your child to write a diary and write an entry in the diary everyday. This helps your child to reflect upon the day. It trains him or her to express their thoughts out on paper. If your child loves storytelling and is interested in writing stories, you can also encourage them to write their own stories and read them together with your child. Poetry writing is another alternative if your child enjoys reading them.
If your child is more interested in current affairs, have him or her write social commentaries with evidence to back them up. This involves lots of research and critical thinking, which helps your child to think deeper into important matters that are happening around the world. With constant writing practices, your child would definitely grow more confident of his or her writing abilities.
The English language is best learned when communicated regularly. Whenever there is an opportunity, find some time to communicate with your child and encourage him or her to express what they are thinking or feeling. Additionally, if your child loves to look at paintings or pictures, encourage them to describe to you what they see in these pictures, and challenge them to use descriptive words, adjectives, or phrases to convey how they feel about them. When it comes to mastering a language, practising to speak the language is key.
Encouraging your child to have a vocabulary log, actively read from different mediums, play word games that can exercise their language skills, and constant communication are some of the ways that you can improve your child’s mastery in the English language. With constant exposure to the English language, your child will grow comfortable in using it. As they grow older, they will only continue to develop their language skills and use them well in different contexts. If you are interested in academic courses for your child, check out EduPivot’s classes here. If you are interested in your child’s development, check out EduPivot’s comprehensive child development courses here.