3 Tips to Improve Your Child’s English!
The years spent in middle primary are among the most enjoyable for any child. It’s where they’re old enough to appreciate the experiences and independence formal education allows, and yet still young enough that the stress of major examinations like the PSLE are far enough away.
It is, however, not too early to start thinking about boosting your child’s English language abilities, and we have a few fun and novel ways to do just that!
Do it as a family
Cultivating a diverse and rich vocabulary is fundamentally important to your child’s language ability. School aside, we should never underestimate our input and influence as parents to our children’s motivation to increase the size of their vocabulary.
Despite how daunting a task it may seem, there is a natural and easy way to build-in vocabulary development in your home and daily routine through speaking, reading and even play.
Have stimulating conversations around new or unfamiliar topics with your child that encourages him or her to converse with words outside of what he normally uses. For example, a trip to the zoo or even the park could spark conversations about wildlife or ecology, where you can introduce words and phrases related to conservation efforts, biodiversity, or the environment.
It doesn’t even have to be an exciting topic of conversation sometimes. Even describing your day while your child was away at school, or whipping out old photos of family holidays of previous years and other shared experiences from the past can be an opportunity to introduce new words and sentences into your child’s vocabulary. It’s really all about talking about what you see and what you have gone through and looking out for new words.
After you’ve done that though, don’t forget to casually drop that new word or words in when you’re speaking with your child. This helps your child not only understand the different ways in which the new word can be used, but also gets them to remember and be confident in using it.
Read, read and then read some more
This will come as old news, but we cannot stress enough the importance of reading when it comes to levelling up your child’s proficiency in a language. Reading not only helps your child grasp and master the nuances of grammar and syntax, it also helps your child develop his or her own writing style.
His or her world opens up which each new story devoured, and perspectives are widened as they are exposed to the different ways in which a story can develop, peak and conclude. This helps them in writing their own compositions for school and their exams, and coming up with unique plotlines that stand out from their peers.
Let technology work in your favour
All T.V. doesn’t have to be bad T.V., especially if you carefully select what your child watches. This requires a bit of homework, but it would benefit if you take the extra effort of choosing television shows or YouTube programmes that align with values that are important to your family. Encourage your child to pay attention to new words, or pick up idioms and phrases to then use in their speech. Don’t forget to praise them when they do!
Songs too, are a great way to learn. In fact, learning through music has the added advantage of making new words stick. Remind your child to pay attention to the lyrics – Google is your best friend here! Gone were the days where we had to buy CDs for a copy of the lyrics in order to find out exactly what it was that our favourite band or singer was crooning. A few taps on your phone now will accomplish all that in a zap. Reading the lyrics to a song helps your child visualise what he or she is listening to, and also helps them to spell better (oh so important!).