How to Improve Kids' English

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Good English skills are essential to success later in life, so teachers and parents alike should focus on improving kids' English. Of course, this comes in many forms--children need writing, reading and grammar skills, for example. Pushing too hard can discourage children from doing well in English, so you need to find ways to spark their interest, making English enjoyable.

1 Model correct grammar in your speaking

Model correct grammar in your speaking. Young children in particular are learning the rules of grammar, and some of those rules are quite difficult. For example, a child may refer to his "foots" rather than "feet." In cases like this, you can correct him gently by asking a question, using the word "feet" correctly. You should also use proper grammar in your everyday speech.

2 Encourage writing

Encourage writing. Ask students to keep a journal, and give them class time to write in it on a daily basis. To help them, you can give ideas of what they can write in the journal, by giving story starters or asking simple questions. Tell the students that their journal writing will not be graded or corrected, so that they feel free to write whatever they want.

3 Read books together

Read books together. Reading books will improve kids' English by building vocabulary and showing the story structure. When you read books together, you model good reading behavior and proper intonations, and you encourage the student who wouldn't normally read a book on her own to read. You can also test for reading comprehension, encouraging students to pay attention to the story.

4 Interest your students

Focus on topics that interest your students. Not all students love reading, but if a book is on a favorite topic, it becomes more interesting. Guide students toward a book that matches his interest, such as books about cars, dinosaurs or rocks.

5 Teach children

Teach children how to revise their papers. As children write about a topic, collect those papers and make notes about how to make it better. You can correct grammar or spelling mistakes and ask students to clarify certain points. Students should then re-write the paper in its corrected form. Not only does this help them learn grammar and writing structure, but it also teaches students to review their work.

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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