Most parents understand that the ability to speak English fluently will be critical for the success of their child in the future, especially if they wish to study and work in an English speaking country.
Also, most parents understand that leaning English speaking is much more difficult than learning to read or write in English. Is it possible to teach your children to speak English fluently like a native?
The good news is that you actually can help your child improve English speaking. If you start at a young age, there is a very good chance that you can help them become extremely fluent in English, even to the level of a native English speaker. Children absorb languages like sponges, a lot faster than adults. With the right approach and environment, you can help your children learn English speaking the same way they speak their first language.
Here are some fun ways you can help your child learn English speaking.
- Practice English speaking with a native teacher
The only way to be truly fluent in English is through continuous practice. If you practice with a native speaker, you will learn with more accuracy in things like pronunciation and accent.
Find a native English teacher to work with your child 2-3 times a week. Make this a time where your child only does conversational practice, not learn grammar. There are a lot of free resources available to learn grammar – use the Native English teacher more for Conversational practice.
Listen to English audio books
Immersing your child in “English” is the best way to get them to learn English. Listening is an extremely important part of language immersion.
This includes activities like listening to broadcasts, such as the BBC, or allowing your child listen to audio books read in English. If your child has a long commute to school, use that time to listen to an audio book.
Always use audio books that are slightly above his/her level which. This will allow you to improve your English skills at a faster rate.
Less Grammar rules!
Research shows that learning too much grammar is not a good way to learn English speaking. The reason is studying grammar rules all the time will make your brain process grammar rules when you speak and as a result will make to scared of making mistakes.
Think of how your child learned his/her native language? They did not learn grammar rules first. The same rule is valid of learning to speak English. Expose them to videos, audio books, native speakers, storybooks etc and they will speak perfect English without even knowing any grammar rules! Plus, learning grammar will bore your child and make them hate learning English.
Make English the medium to learn other subjects
Think of how your child would learn English if they lived in an English speaking country. They will learn to speak English fluently without formally taking any English classes.
You can create a similar learning environment within your household too. If you are teaching your child a history lesson, use English. If you are having a conversation about a holiday happening in another country use English.
The more activities you can talk about in English with your child, the faster they will be to learn English.
Invite friends for an “English Day” at home
The only way to improve English speaking is by speaking English like learning to ride a bike or learning to swim. You can’t learn by just memorising theory. You have to practice.
Invite your child’s friends over for an “English Day”. The rule is that you can only speak in English. You can add some fun rules – for each word spoken in any other language other than English, you have a fine!
Encourage the group to just speak English, from whatever limited words they know. This will teach children how to think in English. In other words, this activity will encourage children to process ideas in English, and avoid any mental translation.