How do you help your child improve his command of English, so he will do better in school? Dr Henry Toi, dean, Content and Curriculum at Little Green House, offers these tips.
Children mimic what adults do. Language is learnt naturally through acquisition. If your child is placed in an environment with good spoken and written English, she will pick it up right. So, speak in grammatically correct sentences. They need not be long and complex. They just have to be right.
We repeat key English words especially to a child, thinking he does not understand other words in the same sentence. Children are more capable then we think. It is during this period that their brain develops the fastest, and starts to connect with the world around them.
Talk to her about things around her. Encourage her to express her opinions without imposing yours. Avoid “talking down” to her or limiting conversations to only giving instructions.
Good books are a gateway to good writing. Exposing your child to different genres of books encourages her to learn different vocabulary, sentence structures, and writing styles.
Vehicle licence plates, shop and road signs, posters, and food labels are some good examples start a conversation. It also helps highlight the relevance of the written word in her life.
We can find good English spoken in audio stories, or even children’s programmes on TV.
If she is too young to write, you may transcribe her thoughts for him. Create mini storybooks. Write notes on Post-it notes for Daddy. Suggest starting a journal when the family is on a holiday. All this allows the child to understand how thoughts can be verbalised and then penned.
Over-correcting will only discourage your kid from trying. It may even impede her from speaking or writing. Instead of telling her it is wrong to say something, try to rephrase what she said without changing much of the meaning: “Darling, do you mean to say that you are tired and would like to rest?”