martes, 24 de abril de 2018

How to make learning English fun for children

Hoy, en nuestra habitación de invitados, tenemos a Katie, bloguera y profesora de inglés en  Break Into English, una plataforma de clases en inglés via Skype, en la que ofrecen clases tanto para adultos como para niños. 

En este post han querido compartir con nosotros varias formas de conseguir que aprender inglés sea algo divertido para los peques de la casa. 

¡Os dejo con ella! 

Making English fun can be challenging. In many countries the main method of learning English in schools and academies is still through the outdated method of memorising textbooks resulting in students who can recite many grammar points but cannot actually hold a conversation in English. When reinforcing English at home you need to make sure that your children see learning as something fun rather than a boring chore. Read on to find out some great activities that you can do as a family at home or out and about to practice English (we promise none of them involve a textbook of any sort!).

Set all your technological devices to English.

In this day and age children know how to use most pieces of technology from a very young age. We see this with English classes online for kids via Skype with pupils as young as four years old feeling quite comfortable in this virtual learning environment.
I’m sure you will have seen it on the street at some point - a child in a pram playing on a smartphone and knowing exactly what to press and which movements to use! Most children also love TV and music. So why not turn these every day activities into a language learning method? Download some child friendly apps that reinforce language learning. We love: Gus on the Go for younger children and Duolingo for older ones and adults. Gus on the Go teaches children new vocabulary whilst unlocking new stages of the game and Duolingo involves a variety of speaking, listening, translation and multiple choice activities.
You could also set your TV audio to English or Original Version or watch TV shows online to learn English. Our favourites are Peppa Pig for children up to around five years old - a TV show that tells the tales of a family of pigs and their animal friends! There are also books available which are great for younger children. Spongebob Squarepants for older children is another option we like for youngsters up to around eleven years old. This programme is about a town under the sea filled with talking sea creatures. Kids will love the silliness of this show and are sure to pick up some slang words too! The show is entertaining for adults too which makes it a great activity to do as a family.

Read books in English and do some follow up activities 

Children love spending quality time with their parents in between busy schedules. A great way to spend this precious time with your kids and help them learn English is to read books with them. After the reading session you could also do an activity together based on the story - a craft, a trip or a game for example.
We love the book ‘Animal Boogie’ by Debbie Harter. The story is about finding hidden animals in the jungle and seeing them appear and dance! The book has also been turned into a song, you can find the link here. After reading the book and singing the song why not complete an activity as a family? In keeping with the animal theme you could make some animal masks? You can either draw your own or get some free printables from online - there are so many! Then, when you read the story you can have your child choose the correct mask when an animal appears in the book - this will reinforce the animal vocabulary through repetition. Another book we recommend to learn animal names is ‘Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?’ by Bill Martin Jr. And a great one to practice food vocabulary is ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle.
Watch a film in the cinema in Original Version.
Just like watching TV, children also love going to the cinema! If you suggest going to the cinema on a Saturday afternoon, you’re not likely to get turned down. This creates an exciting atmosphere for learning instead of a boring one. Go to an original version showing of one of the latest films. Children pick up a lot through context and will be able to follow the storyline even if they don’t understand absolutely everything that is being said. The mere fact of hearing native English on a regular basis will train their ear to decipher the sounds of the language and also help them to naturally pronounce the words correctly when they eventually learn them.

If there isn’t an original version screening near you then you can always have a movie night at home. You can find movies in English online easily and make sure to create a fun environment - get together as a family, provide snacks - children will love it!

This article was written by Katie Gyurkovits, a native English teacher specialized in teaching children and a blogger and administrator for Break Into English, an online English academy.

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