One of the responsibilities of being a parent is to help our children keep on top of their schooling. As your child learns English, there will be many ways you can input into their education. By using a variety of means, you can become your child’s informal English tutor and help them to grow in their English skills.
Spelling Practice and Phonics
As your child learns new words, take the opportunity to get them off to a good start with their spelling. When you are in the shopping mall with your young child, look at the names of the stores and spell them aloud, then sound them out. Do this often and in a way that makes it feel like a game to them. Children become excited what we are excited about, so have fun and enjoy yourself and the enthusiasm will spread.
If you notice that your child has misspelled a word, don’t make them feel bad about it, but do find an opportunity to later bring it up in a seemingly unrelated incident where you appear to notice the word coincidentally, giving you the opportunity to spell the word aloud to them. If you are already spelling many words aloud, this extra step will not appear contrived.
One of the absolute most important things you can do to help your child with their English skills is to read aloud to them. From the time your child is in the womb, you can help them develop a love of reading. Make reading a regular part of bedtime, and read books with complex use of language.
Don’t shy away from books that seem too sophisticated, even classic books with lots of big words. Encourage your child to ask questions about any words they do not recognize, and give them a definition with enthusiasm for each new word they inquire about. This will strengthen their vocabulary quickly.
Using Enriched Vocabulary
Use large words in your everyday conversation as well. Don’t feel that you have to use baby talk all the time, even to your little ones. If you use more complex words in your ordinary conversation, your children will acquire a long vocabulary list in the most natural way.
Have days where you ban certain words in your home. On the list of banned words, include any mundane and overused words, encouraging your children to find more interesting words to take their place. For example, the words “good”, “like”, “hungry” and others like them could be put on the list. The word “hungry” could be replaced with anything more descriptive, such as “famished”, “ravenous” or “voracious.” You will find all ages learning new words rapidly this way, including yourself.
Keep English Supplies Around
Let your home be one where your children can find the answers to their questions. Keep suitable study materials for all children, no matter what grade they may be in. Be sure to include a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. Encourage your children to use them, and let them see you using them as well.
Helping your child study English does not have to be a complicated task. With just these few suggestions, your child will grow their skills in this area with very little of your time or extra effort. Help your child become an English enthusiast for life.