9 Useful Ways To Improve Child’s English Speaking Skill!
Yes, it’s absolutely true! It’s absolutely true that a parent’s entire life revolves around their children’s well-being. I am one hundred per cent sure that every parent out there will support me and agree, we are always concerned (or maybe obsessed?) about raising our children in the best possible manner. We want them to go to the best of the school, enjoy all the comforts of life. We want them to be happy, healthy and wise. And when it comes to English speaking Skill similar emotions take over.
Language has always played an important role in the evolution of human race. From visual representations etched on the caves to more complex modern structures, our language has evolved with us. Throughout history language has influenced and been an intricate part of the local culture. Since antiquity, various languages have gained prominence based on the expansion of kingdoms, scientific development, industrialization. But in recent times if there is any language that has gained global prominence as a link language then it is English. Good command over English speaking skill not only directly affects the academic performance of our children in school but it also prepares them for greater success in later life. Be it studying in a foreign university, working in a Multi-National Company (MNC) or starting their own entrepreneurial journey, English is the obvious choice of language to communicate their ideas.
Naturally, as a parent we don’t wish to leave any stone unturned and help our children to ACE their English speaking skill.
But then again knowing English and teaching English are two entirely different matters. Also let’s face it not every parent has the time or technique to teach the language effectively. Working as an English communication coach for almost 15 years now, I have mentored hundreds of young learners (aged 6 to 17 years) and counselled parents on how they can help their children improve English language skills effectively. In this comprehensive blog I’ll personally walk you through several techniques that you as a parent can implement confidently to enhance your child’s English skills.
Now one important thing to note here is that when we want our children to be proficient in English (or for that matter in any other language) what we essentially mean is that the child needs to be proficient in all the four sub skills of the language, namely; Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (also referred to as LSRW Skills) along with deeper knowledge of Grammar and Vocabulary to navigate any situation.
Covering all these LSRW language skills, English grammar and vocabulary in one blog would be a difficult task, right?
Hence to help you ease into your role, like mentioned in the title of this blog (9 Proven Methods to Help your Child ACE their English speaking Communication Skills) we will focus primarily on equipping the parents and help them to improve the English speaking communication skill of their children. All the parents here would agree that to know how proficient a child’s English language skill is then assessing the child’s current skill level would be the logical choice. Why it’s obvious you ask? Well to speak fluently and confidently a child must demonstrate their mastery of English through forming grammatically correct sentences, pronouncing the words with clear diction, be coherent and logical, use appropriate vocabulary, maintain a steady rhythm (rate of speech) which is neither fast nor slow (the list goes on…) and if the child makes any mistake, then it would be highlighted at once.
Now that we have established the importance of our topic it’s time to jump right into it and see how as a parent you can help to improve your child’s English speaking skill.
How to improve your Child’s English Speaking Skill?
- Practice English with your child
- Enroll them in English communication course
- Play language games with your children
- Set clear learning goals
- Listen to English podcast together
- Sing along English songs
- Specific Vocabulary for English speaking Skill in Particular Situations
- Focus on phrases and themes rather than individual words
- Try to understand and solve the problem your child might be facing
Let’s understand these points in detail with relevant examples and some actionable suggestions.
1. Practice English Speaking with Your Child
One of the major hurdles that a child may face in learning English is if he or she feels that they are alone in this entire journey. A lot of the times children feel comfortable in interacting with each other in their native language. This can pose a big challenge to a learner who wishes to practice English skills as their friends might just not be interested in helping them out. This can easily create a feeling of alienation in the child, making the child think that his/her peer group will not include them in their fun activities. Hence, it’s absolutely important for the parents to at least get involved with their child’s English learning journey and help them by being their partner.
This will give confidence to the child to practice the communication skill, not feel alone in the process of language learning and get the necessary safe space to improve English speaking skills.
2. Enroll Them in English Speaking Skill Course
This might come across as a counter intuitive way at first. You may question, ‘How am I (as a parent) helping my children here by enrolling them in English communication course?’. But try to remember one important aspect I highlighted earlier, and this point will then sound like a nice plan.
“But then again knowing English and teaching English are two entirely different matter. Also let’s face it not every parent can be a language expert.”
For a lot of the parents out there it’s possible that most of what they know about English communication or English-speaking skills to be more precise is from their work experience. They might be able to work around the professional requirements of the language, but teaching is an entirely different ball game. In some cases, it may be that the parents are not comfortable with the language or might not be as proficient themselves.
Should we leave our children’s future hanging in the balance then?
Absolutely no! In such situations it would be wise to take help and enroll your child in a structured curriculum to give them the required language immersion. While taking any course into consideration keep few things in mind like available batch timing, batch size, class mode (online/offline) as you may not be available to drop and pick up your child regularly to and from the class (plus travelling costs will be extra burden on your pocket too). Does the English course offer a good mix of other skills like listening, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary?
If you are a parent who is looking for a comprehensive English course to help your child ACE their English communication skills then look no further. The ACE Clan offers live online English classes (child can learn from the safety and comfort of their home) and the classes are conducted by highly experienced and qualified faculty with international certifications of TESOL, Cambridge University’s TKT certification and with work experience in various international organizations like The British Council, Macmillan India and national projects run by the Delhi Government. Our classes also come with a ‘10-day Money Back guarantee’ to help you and your child get the ACE experience!
Register here for free and we’ll arrange for a callback at a time suitable for you.
3. Play Language Games With Your Children
It’s not a big secret that kids love playing games. You give them a to-do list they’ll barely move an inch but turn it into a game and, VOILA! There is no stopping them. They’ll continue to seek the thrill and would run after you to play again. The game elements of learning might encourage them to share the activity with their friends and learn more. Isn’t that great? As the saying goes ‘Practice makes a man perfect’.
In today’s time and age there is no point in making lessons a boring chore for our kids. If they can learn while having fun, then why hesitate?
You might be thinking right now ‘Yes, this is a great idea but how do I find these interesting games?’
Worry not, I heard you. I have personally curated a list of 5 games that you can play with your child and make language learning fun for them. Watch this short video to understand more about how you can use games to improve your child’s English-speaking skills.
4. Set Clear Learning Goals
How often have you walked out of your home without a clue about what is your purpose? Let’s pause for a second and think about it. I am sure that you’ll realize that 99 per cent of the time we have a goal in mind. Whether you are leaving to get some work done, to take care of a family obligation or to chill and relax with your friends. We always have an idea about what is our goal. Naturally, learning a language is not that different too. Furthermore, without a clear goal all the efforts and results would be random coincidences. After a while you and your child will feel lost and confused. There would be no measurable progress.
Therefore, identifying a clear target is important. It will bring the required discipline, focus and motivation. One of the easy ways to do this is through SMART goal setting method. Here the word SMART is an acronym and can be understood as follows.
5. Listen To English Podcast Together
Listening to the language regularly is going to benefit your child in the long run. Over time it will improve their vocabulary retention. Podcasts are in trend these days. You may find some topics that interest you both. Tuning in to English news/entertainment channels would have the same positive impact. Regular exposure to the language would make the child familiar with different aspects like pronunciation, sentence structures, phrases, etc.
Here’s a curated list of 7 podcasts down below. These podcasts have not only been carefully selected but will also engage your child with meaningful content.
List of Recommended Podcasts with Link:
- Brains On! Science podcast for kids (Google)
- What if World – Stories for Kids (Google)
- But Why: A podcast for curious kids (Google)
- The Past & The Curious: A history podcast for kids and families (Google)
- Wow in The World (Google)
- Story Pirates (Google)
- The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian: Science Fiction for Kids (Google)
It is also important to note here that Listening activity can be further divided into two categories. Active listening and Passive listening. What that means for you is that make sure your child gets exposure to both the types. After an Active Listening Session your child should be able to talk about the topic, retain some information and answer basic questions of who, what, why.
Whereas after a Passive Listening Session they’ll have a vague idea about the topic they were listening to. They might not be able to summarize it or answer most questions, but it does feed the language structure into their subconscious mind. Passive listening might look like a futile exercise in the beginning but it’s going to benefit your child in the long run.
6. Sing Along English Songs
Yes, you’ve read the title right! Just think about it for a second and ask yourself this question, does learning really needs to be boring? I mean just put yourself in your child’s shoes. Would you like to learn by memorizing all the rules of grammar, mug it up and do repetitive tasks? The answer would be a loud ‘NO!’. Adding some fun elements to your child’s English learning activities will help them stay consistent. Especially on those days when they’ll feel that they have studied a lot and need a break.
Firstly, listening to songs and singing them along can be a nice way to destress for both of you. It will help you share quality time with each other. Secondly, you’ll strengthen your bond and make them practice the target language without any brunt. Last but not the least, choose from their favourite rhymes or an artist that they feel connected to. You can have plenty of options this way.
How about a fun activity to help you get started with?
Party Night Fever – Sing Along Activity to Improve English Speaking Skill
1: Ask your child to share some of their favourite songs.
2: Add a bunch of your favourite songs to the list.
3: Create a final playlist combining some of the suggested songs (or include all the songs… hehehe…)
4: Turn on the volume and have a blast! Sing together, dance together and make sure to have loads of fun.
7. Specific Vocabulary for English Speaking Skill in Particular Situations
Imagine this, some of your colleagues have come over to your home. You welcome them inside and introduce your family. What questions will they ask when they meet your child? Most of the times they’ll go with basic questions about name, class, school, hobbies, etc. Do you notice any pattern here? Under most social circumstances, the interaction between an adult and a child happens on restricted topics.
It makes complete sense to help your child be confident to face these social challenges by preparing them. Later on, give positive feedback on how well they answered the questions. Similarly teach them how to express their feelings better. How to say thank you to someone and if needed how to apologize to someone. These are valuable life skills that will prepare your child to tackle various life situations.
Here’s an Infographic for Airport Vocabulary
8. Focus on Phrases and Themes
This advice is the next logical step for my previous suggestion. Often, I have seen Parents and Learners struggle with learning English. The reason being that they try to learn each word in isolation. This method is no longer encouraged. The correct way to learn English is to focus on learning phrase combinations. Learn words that often go together in the sentence and understand its meaning with context.
This is also the right time to focus on collocations in English. Such type of words or phrases that have been used over time and have become a part of standard English language are known as Colloquial phrases.
For example, if someone is earning well, we can say
“He’s making money.”
But in this sentence, we can’t replace the word ‘making’ with its synonym ‘building’.
“He’s building money.”
This sentence is completely absurd since it makes no clear sense.
The phrase ‘making money’ or ‘to make money’ is a colloquial phrase. Such type of words and phrases can make you sound more like a native speaker and enhance your child’s casual conversation skills.
Here’s an interesting challenge for you. Complete the following worksheet and share your answers with us through e-mail to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Steps to complete English collocations worksheet:
- Complete the worksheet (word file or hand-written)
- Send as an e-mail to ‘email@example.com’
- Mark the Subject as ‘Collocation Worksheet – Make & Do’
Shortlisted entries would receive exciting Scholarship offer for the ACE Clan’s comprehensive online programme LilStar English or YoungStar English (Grade 1 to 9). An after-school programme to help learners further improve their communication skills, gain 21st Century Skills and develop a well-rounded personality.
9. Understand and Solve The Problem
“Anyone who fails to recognize problems leaves the door open for tragedies to rush in.”Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light
As a parent, we must acknowledge the problems our children might face while they work on their English speaking skill. Being aware of such problems would help in preventing negative outcomes. It is always recommended that we provide our children a chance to face difficult situations. This helps them adopt a growth mindset but feeling alone during times of stress can deter them from facing difficulties. For optimum growth of our children, we must give them a sense of relief that my parents/guardians will guide me to navigate these problems. In addition to that without the safety of the family the child may feel lost and get demotivated to give their best.
In conclusion, upskilling English speaking skill can be a fun journey for your child. They should not feel pressured. Instead of taking the rote learning route, mix it up with various activities. Make the language acquisition process experimental for them. In addition, this will encourage them to explore the aspect of the language. They’ll make mistakes, observe the outcome and move forward with knowledge. Gone are the days where true indication of someone’s learning was how difficult their task is. These days the theory of learning through playing is what we should practice as parents and educators.