How to teach English to children whose mother tongue is not English

Knowing English is an advantage beyond compare,since it is a universal language and those who do not know the language or have limited knowledge strive to attain fluency. Ask any parent in a non-native English family about the importance of speaking English language and you’ll immediately sense the importance they attach to being proficient in it. When it comes to children, parents are all the more concerned and ready to teach English and do whatever it takes to make their little one acquire proficiency in it.

If you are in a similar situation and endeavouring to teach English to your child which may be a second or even a third language for you, read on:

Make it Spontaneous and Engaging

Learning, especially for children, becomes effective when it seems fun and not a task or responsibility. Same goes for learning English as well for them. Since English is not the first language for you too as a parent, you’ll also enjoy discovering the language, and become more fluent in the process. Include games, fun activities, word games and competitions related to English language in your everyday routine while making it seem natural. Popular games like:

Dumb Charades with words

Simon says

Treasure hunt



Object naming, fruit/ animal naming and many more.

You can also include some interesting board games that involve use of words, sentences and interaction in English. Repetition of words, little competitions and even giving away of prizes make the process of learning even more encouraging and fun. And all this is accelerated if you create the right environment and vibes that make English feel interesting, appealing and important.

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The Element of Story Never Fails…

Don’t we love stories in various forms like films, shows, novels, drama, et al.? Kids love them all the more; they never tire of stories. They have a very vivid and creative visual imagination, which should be used to its advantage while teaching the language. Books with illustrations, comics and story books make it easy for children to understand concepts, new words and messages, which they can start using gradually.Reading to your little one or getting your older ones to read books in English is a great and one of the best ways to teach English. Audio books are popular these days for ones who don’t like to read a book themselves.

Speak English with your Kid

If your child is small, start using words for common activities and objects in English as early as you can. that doesn’t mean you do not use your mother tongue at all; you ought to use both the languages. Talk about daily activities and very common things in English such as eating food, playing games, brushing teeth and expressing their needs. Teach them to frame questions also and use polite words like please, thank you, sorry, etc. Even though your child may be a bit confused initially, it will disappear gradually. In fact, your child will be able to differentiate between both the languages smoothly and also start switching between both effortlessly before it’s too long.

Make Use of Technology to teach English

These days, the focus is on using audio-visual aids, apps, videos and more like never before. Naturally, since it has been proven that using it, including through technology, makes the process of learning virtually everything, even about language, easier. There are innumerable sites and links online that can help you out with it. Your child will also enjoy the process of learning through technology and find it much more effective, faster and enriching. Teaching poems, rhymes, conversations and storytelling with the help of technology is highly recommended. It will make things simpler while teaching for you also.

Use English with Native Speakers

You must be having English-speaking people as a part of your circle. Request them to help you out by guiding you and correcting errors which you may be making, and get them to interact with your child also in English.  The more your family is exposed to the language, the better the chances of acquiring it . Keep learning new words together, build some sentences in English and practise whenever you can. It will be a fascinating voyage of discovery for you as well and not just your child, and soon, you’ll notice that you are also developing fluency in it.

Watch Shows, Movies and News in English     

It will definitely help if you step out of your comfort zone a bit even while entertaining yourself. Do start watching shows, films, etc. in English closely with your kids. You can make use of subtitles also for getting better grasp, and may be explain new things to your child who may not understand through subtitles.

What will help you attain your goal, of making your child fluent in English is when you being a part of the learning process. Join your little one in learning English, just like you do while playing. It will also create a closer bond between you and your child and give opportunities to learn new things besides learning English. Good luck!

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 Reading aloud to kids-7 powerful benefits

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