As children grow up, learning English as a second or foreign language becomes a big advantage for their future. It will give them access to opportunities that otherwise would not be available. However, learning English for children ages 6 to 8 is not the same as learning at other ages.
Knowing the different cognitive stages will help parents direct all efforts to find the best topics and materials to make English for Kids easier.
But, what kind of learning English activities for elementary education should your child use?
There’s no one correct answer for this question! On the contrary, there are several options that you can mix and match to build a suitable learning plan for your little one, like songs in English made to help with pronunciation or games and activities in English that make learning fun.
According to a case study carried out by Dr. Eleanore Hargreaves, Reader in Learning and Pedagogy at the UCL Institute of Education in London, UK, children prefer to learn using interesting resources such as visual and audio stimuli.
This result supports the notion that introducing English to a child in primary school should be done through ludic activities that spark a child’s natural curiosity and imagination.
Additionally, Dr. Hargreaves found that children who used technology as a learning aid where able to extend their skills and get more proficient at English, including a considerable improvement in their reading, listening, and writing abilities.
With this information at hand, you can start choosing the best activities for your child to learn English. The trick is to choose the ones that adapt to your child’s age and cognitive level.
If your child is learning English during the elementary education period, it’s advisable to keep track of the milestones should be accomplished at this period’s different stages. These milestones will help you choose content that your child finds engaging and that can also help improve their English skills.
Children at this age have a distinctive set of milestones to achieve in language learning. It’s at this moment that they’re likely to make the change from preschool to primary school and they will likely be more eager to learn. At this age, your child should:
- Be more prone to asking the meaning of unknown words in English
- Recognize rhyming words and the last sound of words
- Be better at naming and recognizing numbers in English
- Use some basic irregular verbs in English in past tense
- Identify the third person in English when talking in the simple present
- Recognize the letters and their sounds in English
- Look at some English words and recognize their meaning
- Understand simple concepts to talk about time in English like yesterday, today, or tomorrow.
- Improve their use of adjectives in English
Even though the difference with 6-year-old children might seem small, the cognitive milestones at this age vary. It’s at this time that they start to put into practice all the knowledge that they’ve previously learned. At this age, your child will most likely be able to:
- Use the pronouns in English more efficiently than before
- Learn about the use of synonyms in English and efficiently use some of them
- Learn new words in this language through practice and fix the already learned words
- Recognize and use simple time concepts such as the days of the week
- Have a better understanding and use of day-to-day expressions such as saying their name or greeting
- Ask and answer simple yes or no questions in English , and even some wh- questions as well
- Be more proficient at spelling
- Understand what’s being said to them, since their listening skills should be better
- Identify the verb “to be” and use it both in affirmative and in negative sentences
At this age, there’s not a huge difference in a child’s vocabulary compared to the previous years, however, by now your child should be able to:
- Use more complex sentences with a more difficult grammatical structure
- Use correctly the majority of English pronouns
- Have a better understanding of grade-level books and audiobooks in English
- Be proficient at creating rhymes with words in English
- Have more fluency reading age-appropriate texts in this language
- Create clearer and more understandable texts in English, especially those where they have to share their personal opinions
- Understand that some words in English can have more than one meaning (bat as in the animal and bat as in the baseball equipment)
- Use correct pronunciation when speaking in English
- Identify the different parts of a sentence
During primary school children are able to learn and practice complex content while learning English. If you’re looking for activities for your little one, it's best to choose those that can be challenging but doable and, more importantly, to choose activities that are fun and motivating.
You can dare your child to a word search game in English, this will be a good way to improve their reading skills and even their pronunciation. Also, you can play making up new words based on words your child already knows and get a chance to practice word structure.
Using songs in English and audiobooks you can go over grammar concepts such as prepositions or even the use of different verbs in English. Additionally, this is a great chance to listen to different words and improve pronunciation.
Finally, at these ages, the use of technology and English learning apps for kids can be a fun way for your child to practice English. Make sure to mix this type of activity with games and with books that can spark your child’s imagination, all of this will turn English learning into an immersive and creative experience.