English is one of the most spoken language in the world and nearly every where we travel, it has become an international language spoken and understood by all countries. Singapore, being a multi-racial society, saw the importance of education delivered in English while retaining our mother tongue so that we do not lose our roots but are still able to understand each other and keeping pace with the rest of the world. With the spurt of globalization, English soon became the language of businesses around the world. My mother was Chinese educated and she too, felt the need to master English. It was an uphill struggle since she learnt it in later years of her life. But her perseverance was worth it, for it was simply more convenient to converse in English with her foreign colleagues. So how can we help our child improve their English language in the early stages of their lives?

Cultivate an interest in reading

I am an avid reader since young and found it beneficial as I developed my vocabulary and grammar from reading a myriad of books. Over time, they became an influence to my writing style. Cultivate a reading habit for your child from a young age, can aid them in improving their English language. Start by reading storybooks to them and when they can read on their own, encourage them to read to you so that they can learn how to pronounce the words correctly and it will boost their confidence in speaking English.

Learning new words

By introducing new words to them, it can help broaden their vocabulary capacity. But how can we introduce new words while keeping it interesting for them at the same time? One method I’ve learnt is to play word games with them to help them to learn and improve while having fun. For example, you can start by playing easy scrabble with them. When you form a new word that they do not understand, assist them on how to use the dictionary. Once they know the meaning, get them to form sentences using the new word they have learnt. This method checks their understanding as well as cementing the memory of that word in their mind bank.

Media

With the development of media, it could also be used to help improve their grasp of the English language. Watching educational programs and relevant movies can help your children learn the different usages of the English language. By advancing to newspapers, it allows your child to learn how to properly phrase sentences. It will be helpful when they are writing essays at school as they know how to express themselves on paper.

Thinking and speaking in English

Ask them to express their thoughts in English. When they think in English in their minds, it will allow them to play the phrasing of their sentences before they speak. This will permit them to have the time to search through their vocabulary mind bank for the suitable word to use. Encourage them to speak more English. When they comfortably use English more often, it will be more fluent and also help gain more confidence to speak English in public.

Correcting their English

Correct your child if he/she uses a word or phrase wrongly. If you are afraid that by doing so will shaken their confidence on speaking English, then you’re wrong. Allowing the mistake to pass will only prevent them from learning and improving. When used wrongly in public and corrected by others, the child may feel embarrassed and discomfort. This could hinder their confidence in speaking English. By teaching them the correct way to use the word or phrases, it will improve their standard of English and thus boost their confidence to speak up in public.

So, the above are my 5 basic tips on how to help your child to improve their English. I personally feel that English is an important language as it eradicates language barriers when we travel. The ability to speak and write English fluently will definitely come in handy when you are seeking help anywhere in the world!