Parents all know that English is a vital skill to have in order to succeed in school. Students use English not only in English class, but in writing for science, social studies, journalism classes and more! English knowledge can improve students grades in all classes. Here at AGA we have come up with some tips for your students to get the most out of their English lessons at school and at their enrichment academy.
Have Your Kids Read! (and Read Aloud)
This would be one of the best suggestions for getting the most out of English lessons. Start your kids out at an early age with reading, so they are familiar with sounds and words when they get into school. Choose books that are fun and tailored to their interests.
Do they like cooking? Read a cookbook together and make the recipe. Do they love animals and scenery? Read a travel book and talk about the pictures! It doesn’t matter what they are reading, but try to read at least one book with them each day.
Reading not only helps students recognize and learn grammar patterns, different ways of writing to audiences, and allows them to learn new words and sounds, but reading things about their interests makes it seems less like work and more fun.
For smaller children, picture books, books with lots of color or interactive books can help keep their attention. Once the English lesson rolls around, students will already be used to recognizing letters, words, tenses, and different sounds. An extra tip would be to make sure students, especially younger students, are reading aloud. This way they can make sure that they are working through words and sounds they don’t know, and building up fluency and speed. Also, make sure your kids have a safe reading environment.
Let Them Be Creative and Have Fun!
English lessons don’t need to be boring. English class is where students get to invent their own stories and use their imaginations! If students have to use vocabulary to write sentences, they can make those sentences funny and silly or write things about family and friends.
Try to let kids be creative and come up with unusual situations or ways to use the vocabulary. When writing stories, have them write about favorite places and people, and think outside the box to come up with unusual and interesting situations. Students can entertain themselves as well as the reader while they write! At home, show kids pictures with no words and let them make up a fun story. Ask questions and encourage them to think outside the norm.
It’s not a good idea to have students sit in the back of class in silence. Participate! Kids should engage in the lesson, listen and talk to their peers. It will be much more fun if they interact, give answers and ask questions. Class will go by faster and kids will get more out of the lesson by being alert and talking to their teacher and fellow students.
Participating in class also might allow them to make new friends, and therefore look forward to coming to class to be with friends! Students can share their opinions and thoughts in English class because there is more room for independent thought than in a math class.
Make Sure They Do Their Homework!
This one might not be as fun, but doing homework is necessary to really drive the concepts home, to get extra practice, and to find issues with things they don’t quite understand. The more students practice, the easier class will be to follow. Also, come test time, they won’t need to be nervous or cram the night before because they will have been studying all along.
Homework is also important to pinpoint concepts that are a little more difficult so students can ask for their teacher’s or parent’s help before they fall too far behind. Getting students to do homework can be challenging, but it’s vital to success.
Encourage Them to Ask Questions!
Again, asking questions will help in class, and better to ask questions right away before the concept gets too confusing. Chances are if your student is confused about something, a classmate probably is, too. Encourage students to tell their teacher if they are confused or need things clarified. Shy students can ask questions at the end of the class after their peers have left if they really don’t want to do it during class.
If doing all of these things seems overwhelming, choose a couple tips to focus on that your student might struggle with. For example, a shy student might need more encouragement participating or asking questions. Also, students that have fallen behind in reading may become shyer to participate, so focusing on reading can help with participation, too! Using these tips will really help your students get the most out of their English lessons in school and at after-school programs.
Do you have any tips that you have tried with your child that have worked for them? Or are there things you tried that haven’t worked, and you’re looking for a way to tweak your approach? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Elisa Travalio, Teacher and Editor at A Grade Ahead