Cultivating Good English Skills in Children
The Importance of English
Language is undeniably an essential part of our everyday lives. Being able to read and write good English goes a long way in improving a child’s education and employment prospects later on in life, especially if you are looking at overseas opportunities. Many universities and employment opportunities in other English-speaking countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, will require proven English proficiency via a verified test.
Even if one does not want to venture abroad, being able to communicate fluently in English sets the great apart from the good in Singapore. It is the extra touch to a resume, personal essay, online profile, and even daily communication with friends. Additionally, a pass in O-levels English is required to pursue tertiary education in junior colleges or polytechnics.
English is best taught from young. The earlier a child is exposed to the language, the more likely they will develop proficiency easily and appreciate it. They will also be ahead of their peers as early as kindergarten age, where most children start picking up books for the first time.
Furthermore, students in Primary One may be pulled out of class if their reading skills are not up to standard yet. By ensuring that your child is able to read beyond school standards, they will not have to miss valuable class time for other subjects to catch up on their language skills.
Ways to Expose Children to English
Although our children are exposed to the English language from K2 English through Primary school, the material taught in class is not enough to prepare them for the PSLE English examinations, which can be very demanding. Parents and caregivers will have to take the extra step in introducing children to English material to cultivate a better grasp of the language. Fortunately, this can be done in a few simple ways.
Introduce Fiction Books
To encourage reading in young children, it helps to make books readily available at home and on the go. Instead of picking up that iPad or video game, children can spend their free time reading stories. Starting them early with easy picture books can also help to spark their interest in progressing to more advanced reading materials when they are older. Additionally, avid reading is often the precursor to writing, increasing the chances that the child will grow to love literature and begin to write some of their own as well.
Our teachers can recommend a list of books suitable for your child at his/her age and ability level. Reading never fails to broaden one’s mind and expose children to new vocabulary words every single time. Some of our favorites for lower primary-school-age children include classics by Ronald Dahl, Charles Dickens, and Lewis Carroll. Upper primary school children can look at creative works written by popular Asian authors to understand fiction from an Asian context such as those written by Minfong Ho and fiction with dynamic historical contexts such as Friedrich.
Read the News
Another great way to encourage children to hone their language skills is to get them to read the news regularly, be it online articles, magazines, or the newspaper. On top of getting children to add more complex sentences and vocabulary to their repertoire, reading the news also helps them to be up to date with recent world events.
Reading through news articles together with your child can be a great way to impart knowledge and bond with them. After reading each news story, follow up with questions that prompt comprehension and reflection, such as “What do you think was done well?” or “What do you think could have been done better?”. This inspires the child to consider the event in-depth and put their thoughts into words, which is an excellent start for their writing skills.
Over here at Global Education Hub, we make it a point to expose your children early on to current affairs by introducing them to different cultures, famous people, and landmark events through news articles from established sources in our comprehension and cloze passages. It is our pride and joy to see our students speak confidently of their general knowledge and opinion on current events alongside improving their English.
At the Secondary School and Junior College levels, there is a strong emphasis on expository essays and business writing. By giving your child a head start from a young age, they will be able to benefit from life as they can incorporate their strong vocabulary prowess into their written scripts and be able to handle the toughest English language comprehension and summary papers with relative ease as compared to their peers.
Speech & Drama, Encourage Them to Narrate and Vocalise
Make it a point to catch up with the little one every day or so. Ask them about the events that are going on in their lives and prompt them to narrate notable incidents in detail. The earlier children begin to master the art of narration and storytelling, the easier it will be for them to pick up creative writing – especially composition and essay writing, which is a key component of the PSLE English examinations.
Moreover, bringing them to watch English plays and musicals and sending them to Speech & Drama enrichment classes like those offered at our centre can bring out the storytellers in them. Not only will they be fascinated by the English language from a young age, but they will also soon be able to write their own stories and tales in fluent English.
Encouraging children to keep a diary or journal of their daily lives is also an excellent K2 English method to get them to hone their writing skills. Other than promoting regular writing, it also gets children to define their own sense of self-expression and serves as an outlet for any troubles they may face. Keep in mind that children value their privacy – promise not to read their entries unless they explicitly allow it!
Sign Them Up for English Enrichment Classes
Not everyone has the time or the means to read with their children every day. For parents who are busy or simply want their children to blossom in the best hands possible, sending the little ones for English enrichment classes at a trusted centre is an option that provides children with a solid foundation for any level, from K2 to PSLE English.
In addition to ensuring that a child receives optimal coaching, sending them for group enrichment classes has its unique benefits. It provides children with an avenue to develop their interpersonal skills while interacting with their peers in class. They can also hone their public speaking skills through classroom discussions and peer-to-peer activities.