By Katie Smyth, Pre-school Teacher, British Council in Singapore

23 April 2020 - 14:21

Young learner studying online at home

Here are tips to help your child learn English at home:

  • Keep to their ‘normal’ routine - so where possible use the same period as their usual class to/practice phonics/writing/reading. This will also make it easier for them to return to class as it will not be another change in routine.
  • Go to a specific ‘classroom/learning’ space in your house, away from distractions. Using the same place/room every time so children associate this with learning/home school. (This may be the place they usually complete their homework or a space away from television, toys and siblings.)
  • If you don’t normally speak English at home, please do for the ‘lesson’ time. They/You will find this strange to begin with as they know you speak more than English however don’t give up! If you stay consistent and continue to speak to them in English during this time, they will eventually follow.
  • Swap roles - they are the teacher and can tell you what they usually do in class. (This can engage even the shyest of students as they are in a safe place to be in charge.)
  • Limit time to no more than 60 minutes a week. Or 2x 30 minutes. Children aged 5 to 6 years old can only concentrate on a task for 6-10 minutes at a time so have 2-3 different activities in mind.
  • This can be a video (Alphablocks) or song (Super Simple) followed by a worksheet then an online game (Starfall) for example.
  • Reading practice - at bedtime or a specific time every day - make it a routine. If you are less confident about reading to your child, use Twinkl read-a-longs to ensure your child has a clear language model.
  • Short bursts of activities are best, not the same thing for 20+ minutes as the children will get fatigued with it and may become resistant to watch/play/complete in future.
  • Place spelling lists up on the fridge (students can make 'a spelling poster' themselves as part of their practice) and set aside a specific time each week to practice. Note down any difficult words and repeat them the following week. We are not aiming for 100% every time - more a gradual improvement alongside developing their awareness of individual sounds.

Learn more on English courses and camps for kids and teens